What new things have you learned about marriage from the old couples in your life? When I say “old” people, I say it with great affection and respect, thinking of people Jeff and I have described with words like “mentors, friends, and examples.” A recent evening with 2 older couples left us with a fresh infusion of encouragement and inspiration to live the “miracle of two becoming one” well. Couples who walk out life together for fifty or more years are becoming a rarity. Many older husbands and wives know the secrets of love that lasts.
“Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained in a righteous life” (Prov. 16:31). The 4 friends we spent the evening with have lived the hardships of a righteous life. Their family scrapbooks would include challenges like: “deployments, losses, illnesses, job transitions, heart aches, higher education, faith changes, health changes, moves, disappointments.” I want to know the secrets of the wise.
5 Fresh Marriage Tips From 4 Old People
- Be real. One wife has taken the dive and let her gray shine through; the other still laughs about a bottle of her favorite color. Hair color doesn’t matter as much as being real in relationship with each other. The longer they’ve been married, the more freedom they enjoy to be real and to be comfortable in their “joint skin.”
- Be together. One older couple just returned from extended time of teaching in Lithuania. They lived in a girls dorm, and conditions weren’t easy, but the couple didn’t want to be separated. They went together, and the experience kept them close. They’ve never stopped sharing life and bonding in each season of life.
- Be productive. These “older” people care for “even older” people, and they reach out intentionally to their grandchildren. They still remodel their homes and take opportunities to influence younger couples. The morning of our visit, the two men went for a hike with my mid-life husband and some friends. They haven’t “retired” from life; they continue to be fruitful.
- Be playful. We have to stay on our toes with our sharp friends born in the middle of the 20th century. Each pair teases and spars with each other; to be with them is to see that life can still be joyful after five decades together. As one wife declared, “Come on old man. I’ve got to get you home. You’re gonna fall asleep in ten minutes,” the hubby giggled and hid a cookie in his coat. The two danced out the door arm in arm.
- Be caring. When one couple found themselves in Lithuania for months with just a hot plate for a kitchen, the wife rose to the challenge and learned to make the best of it, because she knew it would help her husband. When the other couple prepared to say goodnight and go out into the cold, the husband held his wife’s coat and helped her bundle up. Neither served because their spouse was helpless, but because love serves and doesn’t stop after ten years or twenty or forty or even fifty.
Young marriages benefit from the wisdom of “married gray hairs.” “The glory of young men is their strength, but the splendor of old men is their gray hair” (Prov. 20:29).
I want “splendor” in our marriage, and I want it for a long time. How about you?
Be real. Be together. Be productive . Be playful. Be caring.
A resource I recommend to you this week: 10 Ways to Bless Your Husband When He is Having a Stressful Week