Monday, October 5, 2015

Aging in Marriage

This might seem like an odd topic for me (especially given how young I am)...  :)  However, I've always been intrigued with couples that have been married for decades and wondered, how do they do it.  How do they keep each other so happy and content that they stay through thick and thin.  I want that and I believe I have that now.  It took me many, many years to get there, but I do truly believe I have it now.
On the flip side of that, I've also seen couples that have been married a long time (decades even) who are just merely making it through each day.  Maybe they stay out of convenience or it's just easier to stay married than divorce, or they think they are too old and don't want to start over.  All reasons I am sure that are good and valid, but are they happy?
Isn't that one of the reasons we get married in the first place?  If you stop and think about how it was with your partner before you were married and how happy you felt just being with them and how you longed to be with them when you weren't.  I bet you laughed at the slightest jokes each other said, you went out of your way to make them feel special or that you were thinking of them.  I would imagine you would sit and just have conversations and enjoyed it.
It's actually pretty sad that when I see older couples (some not so old) who have just lost the ability or desire to just have good decent conversations together and laugh together. 
Have you ever thought about how you speak to your spouse rather it be in response to something they say or just trying to make a point?  I would imagine when you were dating or newly married you spoke with a kind tone.  You were most likely going out of your way to make sure you didn't hurt their feelings or at least didn't hurt their ego.  Do you still make an effort to do that today?  If not, I would encourage you to start.
Did you know that the divorce rate trends in people 50+ has more than doubled between 1990 and 2008 (an old report, but staggering) according to the Collins Attorney website.  In addition, according to the Collins Attorney website, if these trends continue by the year 2030, more than 800,000 people in the 50+ age group will experience divorce.  While this article didn't give specific reasons for divorce rates increasing in old generations, I believe some of the things I stated above drive a lot of that.
I'm so fortunate.  I feel like I found Tebo at the right time in life and I continue to find him funny, endearing, caring, considerate, and we have good conversation.  We try to always speak to each other in a kind tone of voice and truly care about each other.  We don't keep score and if there is something I know he likes around the house, I do all I can to ensure that is done. 
I do not consider myself a doormat (I've been one of those before and I'm not one now), but I also know how hard my husband works for all of us so my goal is to always make life at home as enjoyable as I possibly can.  I want home to be the place he can go and feel peace and comfort.  My daddy was/is a wise man (just ask him, he will be happy to tell you).  He told me when I was very young to always be dressed and do something to myself before my husband gets home from work (if I were home all day) and make sure the house is clean.  I work basically the same hours as Tebo does and while his job is far more stressful than mine, we are typically gone about the same amount of hours a day.  I still try to make sure when he gets home the house is clean and he has as little to worry about at home once he ends his day at the office.  If I am home all day for one reason or another, I make sure I am dressed and the house is clean and dinner is ready when he walks in the door.  He doesn't have to tell me he appreciates it, he shows me in the way he treats me and the little things he does for me on a daily basis. 
We never keep score.  It's none of this, I took the trash out last so it's your turn, etc.  It's never either of our turns.  It's us together. 
Don't get me wrong, we are not perfect by any means.  We make mistakes and there are times (although very few) that we will get frustrated with each other, but we don't make it a huge deal and we talk it out and move on.
This is what I never want to have happen to us.  I don't want to be married 20, 30, or 50 years one day and realize we don't speak a kind word to each other (or at all), or don't care about the other's happiness, or worse yet, just merely exist in the same house without communication and companionship.  I want Tebo to always feel like I am his biggest fan and he still matters to me.  I never want him to feel alone in our own home with me right there.  There are those out there according to many books and articles I've read that feel like they are just roommates with their spouse.  That is so sad and the day our spouse isn't with us any longer, I certainly don't want to stop and think, wow, I missed a lot of opportunities to just sit with him and talk and laugh. 
Regardless how long you have been married, never take for granted the love you had for each other when you decided to get married.  Find it again.  Start laughing together and enjoying each other's company again.  You won't be disappointed.
To my husband, I love you and I thank you for giving me the kind of marriage I've always longed for.  I just hope and pray I make you feel half as important and loved as you make me feel each day.

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