I just spent four days with a girlfriend who is married to a very wealthy man. He gave her a $35,000 ruby ring as an engagement present. He gave her a $25,000 emerald necklace for Mother's Day. He gave her $250,000 to redec-orate their enormous home on five acres of land. Her bathroom cost $120,000 to build. Even her dog eats from a silverplated dish engraved with his name. Her husband has taken her all over the world—Tahiti for sun, Paris for clothes, London for the theater, Australia for adventure. There is nowhere she cannot go, nothing she cannot buy, nothing she cannot have — except for one thing: He does not love her the way she wants to be loved. We sat in her study late last night, my friend and I, talking as only women who have known each other since they were just girls can talk. We talked about our bodies, changing with each passing year, hers now rounded with the new life she was carrying inside. We talked about what we used to believe in and our search for new meaning. And we talked about our men—her wealthy, successful financier, my hardworking, struggling artist. "Are you happy?" I asked her. She sat quietly for a moment, toying with the three-carat diamond wedding ring on her finger. Then, slowly, almost in a whisper, she began to explain. She appreciated all of her wealth, but she would trade it in a minute for a certain quality of love she didn't feel with her husband. She loved him intellectually more than she felt her love for him. She did not respect many of his values in life, and this turned her off to him sexually. Although he was fully committed to her, and took care of her, he did not give her the experience of being loved from moment to moment—the affection, the tenderness, the words lovers use, the listening, the sensitivity, the nurturing, the respect, the willingness to participate with her in creating the relationship each day. As I listened to my friend, I came to realize more than ever before that the love of my true companion makes me rich beyond anything material a man could ever give to me. This was not the first time I have deeply felt this, but once again, it was a reminder of my great good fortune. And I thought about the drawerful of cards and love notes written by him, and the three latest delightful additions in my purse. I thought about him touching me, grasping my hand protectively as we cross the street, stroking my hair as I lie in his lap, grabbing me and gobbling up my neck, kissing me all over my face when I correctly guess his charades. I thought about the adventures our minds go on together, exploring ideas and concepts, understanding our past, glimpsing our future. I thought about our trust, and our respect, and our hunger for life and learning. And in that moment, I saw that my friend envied me and my relationship. She, who sat in her luxurious home, wrapped in jewels and splendor, envied our vitality, our playfulness, our passion, our commitment—yes, our commitment. For in that moment, I saw that what we have that is greater than anything else between us is commitment: to loving one another fully, completely, as deeply as we know how for as long as we can. It is not a commitment that has been declared to others, or perhaps, even out loud between ourselves. It is not symbolized by a diamond or even a simple band of gold. It is not defined by time, or even the space in which we live apart or together. Rather, it is a living commitment, reaffirmed each time we reach out to one another in pure joy, each time we tell the truth, each time one of us is there to support or comfort the other, each time we share a newly uncovered insight or emotion. It is a commitment continually revealed in each new level of trust, each new layer of vulnerability, each new depth of love. It is a commitment continually rediscovered as each day we each rediscover who we are and how much love our hearts are capable of giving. It is a commitment that is a true marriage of spirit— whose ceremony of union is found in each and every moment we love one another, whose anniversary is found in each and every day in which love grows. Today, when I arrived home, I found a large check waiting for me, money I hadn't expected. And I laughed at the meaningless numbers all lined up in a row. For last night, after talking with my friend, I learned the difference between having money and truly being wealthy. And I knew that I was already the richest woman in the world.