How did you meet, and how did you know this relationship was special? My husband Freddie and I met when he was my patient and I was his dental hygienist. He allowed me to remove the sutures after his wisdom teeth removal even though I told him I’d only done it once before. Then we argued over who really was God; I declared Eric Clapton, he chose David Bowie. He had Madonna tickets, the first tour she did, and he asked me to go and I said yes… I told him he needed to take me to dinner first, so if I didn’t like him or visa versa, we wouldn’t be stuck together for two shows. I was served shrimp with huge heads and am very squeamish, so I pushed my plate to him and asked him if he would cut them. Without a word, he did and passed the plate back to me and continued eating. THAT was the moment I fell in love with him.

What passions do you share, and how do they help keep your connection vibrant? Our greatest passion is travel! Other than that first dinner date, we never really dated. We would travel for the weekend, heading out with a map, some snacks and our music. After 2 months we were engaged and living together and 5 months after that, we were married, all in less than a year. Now, 26 years later, we’ve been traveling each year for 2 weeks through Europe and just got back from Italy.

How do you feel that you benefit from being in a profoundly connected love relationship? Besides spending my life with my best friend, the benefit of this relationship is that I come from a rather dysfunctional family that loves with conditions and will toss you out like yesterday’s newspaper. With him, not only am I able to love freely and fearlessly, but I know that I am loved back just as much. And, for as quirky as I am, he has no problems with that and accepts me 100% for who and what I am. Any criticism given is done only to help the other work out issues, and never taken personally.

What advice can you offer other couples to help them keep their connection strong? There are two pieces of advice I give other couples. A) A wedding is just a day, but a marriage is a lifetime. B) Marriage isn’t 50/50, it’s 100/100. When you go to work, do you only give half of yourself? I’ve had over 30 surgeries and he nursed me through every one of them and never showed any annoyance or impatience, but compassion, care and genuine concern for my well-being.

What advice can you offer people who desire a relationship like yours? Learn to look IN people, not just AT them. Looks fade, bodies grow old, but having someone you can talk to, cry to or laugh with is the greatest gift of all. When we are with other people or couples, they are always surprised at how well we get along and can see we not only love each other, but we LIKE each other, too.

Mali Apple & Joe DunnThank you for sharing your soulmate experience with us—we are inspired by your example of what a truly soulful connection is all about! ~Mali & Joe, authors of The Soulmate Experience, 52 Prescriptions for Happiness, and the upcoming book The Soulmate Lover, and creators of Mantras for Making Love