Love After 42 Years
I'm so excited to share today's post with y'all! Today's post comes from my wonderful mom, sharing wisdom and marriage advice after being married for 42 years. She and my dad married at the young age of 18 (right out of high school!), so she has so many great ideas to share with you! Enjoy!
It’s hard to believe that my husband and I will celebrate our 42nd wedding anniversary in December. It seems like such a short time ago we were planning our wedding and dreaming of all the things we would do together. Our love has carried through countless situations – some happy, and some sad. But most importantly, we’ve weathered the good times and the bad together.
I look in the mirror and am sometimes surprised at my reflection. Years have passed and I have changed. But in my heart and mind, I am still that crazy-in-love-18-year-old-girl who married the ‘man of my dreams’!
After almost 42 years, I’ve learned a few things about love and relationships. Some of these things are not new for many couples, but they are certainly worth repeating.
Love is so beautiful. The passion and love you feel with a first kiss is indescribable. But intimacy comes in so many unexpected ways as your love grows - the profound love you experience with the brush of your spouse’s hand, a quick kiss on the cheek that causes a tingle, or just a familiar loving glance. Over the years, our love has grown. The roots are deep and solid and we have a comfort in knowing that we love each other unconditionally. But being 'comfortable' does not mean we take each other for granted. The love we experience today is so much richer, deeper, and wider than it was years ago. It reaches into the depths of our souls and we are truly ‘one’. Being able to experience love on so many levels is truly a gift that has kept us together and always will. And when you love someone so intensely who loves you back the same way - it's truly a gift!
My husband and I were both raised in Christian homes. At the young age of 18, we were totally in love and we didn’t give a lot of thought to our faith, or even talk about how it would impact our future. But over the years, our spiritual growth has led us to unfathomable heights of joy and happiness. Bible study that was once a private time for each of us, has become a time of sharing and discussing our beliefs together. It has strengthened our faith and our marriage. It has allowed us to glimpse inside each others soul in a way that nothing else can do. Sharing our faith and beliefs openly has helped us weather storms in life, and see more joy and happiness than we ever thought possible.
Nothing compares to being parents. Three years after we were married, our first daughter was born and soon we welcomed a second sweet baby girl. Being parents is the most exciting, fulfilling, rewarding experience you can imagine. Oh, sure there are some difficult times. And we were there together to handle those too. We love being parents and now grandparents. We adore our daughters and their children. Raising our children together brought us closer than we ever were before. Seeing my husband as a loving father made me love him even more. And when our nest became empty, we created a new life and kept moving ahead together. If not for our love and the fact that we like being together, it would have been much more difficult to find ourselves empty-nesters. Of course, being BFF's ('best friends forever') is also a bonus.
No one makes me laugh like my husband. He knows exactly how to do it. A phrase, a word, a memory, a face, or a funny story has tears streaming down my face. At night when we get in bed, he’ll often come up with the most ridiculously funny story and we laugh for what seems like eternity. We often laugh and others aren’t quite sure why – but it’s those little things you know about each other after 42 years that make the simplest comments become hilarious. And yes, he makes me laugh at the most inopportune times!
My husband and I share feelings of gratitude for so much. We are so grateful for two beautiful daughters who are gifts from heaven. We are grateful for the families they have established, and we are grateful for the career opportunities, personal relationships, and wonderful life we live. We are grateful for the faith we share, the dreams we share, and the happiness we experience daily. We often share our thoughts on gratitude and remind each other how blessed we are. It sounds like a simple thing, but it is so powerful in our lives. Hearing your spouse verbalize all the things he is grateful for is a reminder of how two lives intertwined are such a gift. And expressing gratitude is one more way to express love.
You can imagine that 42 years have not passed without a single disagreement (or two)! But what’s so special about being married to someone you truly love is that you are able to forgive and even forget. Whether I’m the one asking forgiveness, or the one forgiving him for something he’s done or said, it’s all about being open, honest, and forgiving. Even after 42 years together, it’s still important to say “I’m sorry” when I do something to upset him and he does the same. We take nothing for granted and are always willing to forgive – or ask forgiveness. While most people obsess over things other people do to hurt them in life, it’s different with the person you love the most. Forgiveness is a gift we give each other - AND ourselves.
You would think that after 42 years, acts of kindness would be few. But in our lives, it’s quite the opposite. My husband is the kindest person I know. He still opens my car door, carries the grocery bags, or holds my hand to steady me walking in the snow. He awakens me each morning with a cup of coffee by my bedside, helps with all household chores, unexpectedly fills my car with gas, and considers me before making any plans of his own. When he traveled with his job, I wrote notes and tucked them in his suit pockets and briefcase where he would find them. I prefer a heavier blanket on the bed than he does, so I make our bed with a light cover and spread an extra blanket only on my side each night. It’s these little acts of kindness that continuously bind us together and make our love stronger.
There are no words to describe the depths of my husband’s heart when it comes to giving. He wants to help so many people. His generosity and caring for other people are one of the things that make me love him more every day. As we have gotten older, giving has become a tremendous part of our lives together. Our experience of giving to others has strengthened our marriage and made us happier than we would be otherwise. It’s through giving that we get so much! Giving comes in the form of money, acts of kindness, help with a problem, and even a word of encouragement. It's a natural extension of who we are as individuals and as a couple.
Yes, 42 years sounds like a long time to newlyweds, but it seems like the blink of an eye to us. Every day together still gets better and better. And to all of those who said “it wouldn’t last” when we married at the young age of 18, keep watching! The best is yet to come.