Growing Old Together

Marriage. The very word can make a person smile, cringe, or cry. Marriage has brought some of us to our knees. Whether out of loneliness as we desire it, or because we have been heart broken at the loss of it, or as we plead for strength to endure it. And perhaps there are some -hopefully not too few- who are humbled to their knees out of gratitude that they still have it.

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Our younger, ignorant, but very much in love conversations went something like this:
Him: “I want to grow old with you. I bet you’d be cute with gray hair.”
Me: “I probably won’t go gray. But I’ll dye it white when I turn 50!”
Him: “What if I grow a wart on my face? Will you still love me?”
Me: “Well, I suppose I’d have to. But do I have to look at it?”
Him: “Yes. And kiss it.”
Me: “No way! Get it removed dude!”
We laughed and held each other. I secretly hoped he’d never grow a wart.

A few years passed. We had a baby boy. Time went on and…he grew a wart. Not on his nose (phew!) but on his hand. It was so random! Where do these things come from? And isn’t he too young for warts? A dear friend that we went to church with told us about the ultimate cure for warts: duck tape! It did the trick.

I share this silly little experience because my epiphany was that life just isn’t what we think it is going to be. Over the years I have come to understand and find humour in the saying “Well that didn’t go as planned!”

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Many years before I found my husband I was engaged to someone else. I remember that after our breakup I had told a friend that I felt like I was going through a divorce and he took the children we were supposed to have away from me. Now as I think about my own words I say; How ridiculous! What a stupid thing to say! DIVORCE?!?! What a heavy word for a relationship that was incomparable to MARRIAGE! Surely any idiot would know that MARRIAGE is more than a few hours of dating a week and a few phone calls (or nowadays texts). The heartache I felt back then was real, but it would be like a shallow pond in comparison to the deep oceanic devastation I would feel if I were to ever lose my husband.

As a Christian, I believe that marriage is ordained of God. It is a covenant bound promise between two people with God. Spouses SHARE everything. That old boyfriend and I shared NOTHING. My husband and I share, create, build and care for this home, we had our children, we share each other’s milestones and those of our children, we even share our sicknesses (thanks for the germy kisses babe!) Together we share the RESPONSIBILITY to nurture our relationship with each other and our children. We share all kinds of experiences TOGETHER. We are there for the big things, the little things and the inbetween things. We also share hundreds of stories, and as we continue to grow old together the stories keep coming.

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A pretty typical random ‘boring’ memory like this one:

{Sometime in 2016}

Our 3 kids will be accompanying us on our date. So really it’s a family outing but I refuse to say that and I firmly told the husband to make sure to call this a date despite our entourage. Like a typical day, some things came up and he went to do some stuff while I got myself and everyone else ready. Soon, I hear him come in through the back door and our two sons, age 5&7, both bombard him with:

“Daddy! We are going on a date with you and Mommy!”
“Yay! A date because we love you!”

To which I hear my husband reply to them,
“Don’t tell mommy but I got her a present, shhh! It’s a secret!”
“What is it?!”
“A secret!”
Of course I pretend I didn’t hear a thing, but can’t stop smiling and my heart dug itself a little deeper in love.

We pull into the parking lot and in our usual routine unload the kids. There’s something to be said when you have been with someone for so long that you don’t feel the need to vocalize each other’s tasks or voice what you’re doing and what you expect them to do next (because I was young, opinionated, and temperamental). Nah, that happens in the first few years. The expectations, the negotiations, even the arguments. Right now, we are in a comfortable war free zone… as he shouts from the other side of the van, “Don’t forget your Mary Poppins bag!” I forgot it ONCE. So clearly I’ll need a reminder for the rest of my life. “Did YOU lock the car?” He’s never NOT locked the car but he might one day so it’s best to prevent it now. He rolls his eyes at my comment and I pull up my chin a bit higher. Hmph! 😉 {we joke about these things}

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And then there’s aging together.  We have been married almost 9 years. We met as teenagers, fell in love as adults and here we are. I am convinced we are entering the category of being officially an “old” couple. Old(er) couples probably stand in the cleaner aisle for a good half hour discussing what is the best way to disinfect the house without poisoning the kids or risking long term health damage. Or perhaps we can use vanilla freshener for the car but a different one for the bathroom so when we are in the car we don’t think about the bathroom? Oh and have you seen the commercial for that new bleach toilet cleaner? Sounds effective, smells  good but is probably deadly since we have little kids and yes they have either touched or tasted the toilet water at least once. Yes I agree that these conversations are gold.

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I am often impressed by the wives of couples who have been together for DECADES. They really know their husbands! From knowing which belt loop they always use, to knowing which tie they prefer with what suit, they can recite their husband’s, and his parents’, medical history, they know what drs they need to see next and sometimes make doctor/dentist and other appointments together, and they even know what to put on their husband’s plate at a potluck dinner! But there is more. It is knowing their body language, reading the look on their face, or sometimes even now as I walk into a room I can just sense something is wrong and he’s about to tell me why. I recently read a quote somewhere about how a mature love is the best kind of love. It is deep and takes time. Years worth of time.

Growing old together is very emotional. We all change. We grow up (some of us anyways!) and hopefully we get wiser. That wisdom comes from experience. We hope that our spouse will continually love us as we change over the years. Sometimes we make foolish mistakes. As a spouse we need to understand, and I mean truly take to heart, how imperfect we all are. We all do stupid things, say hurtful things and we all need to forgive and be forgiven for something. All of us. Except me, I’m pretty close to being perfect and I’m pretty much always right- hahaha! Just kidding! I have my own faults, ugh, I don’t like admitting them but part of my growing up process has been just that.

So here we are. Nine years later. Nine years of being “us”. Nine years deep in love. Nine years worth of stories told and stories buried. Nine years of our hearts dancing around each other. Actually more than nine. Our love story started a decade before we married. All of my heart believes he and I were always meant to find each other. Be together, stay together and grow old together. Through everything this life or people throw at us. We hold onto each other. The more we do, the stronger we are. Nine years going on forever.

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One thought on “Growing Old Together

  1. Love it! I said it before and I’ll say it again…you are a fabulous writer. You have the ability to capture vision in your words that allow people to ‘see’ the things you describe. Love reading your notebook.

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