In marriage, there will always be aging and change. Just because we get married and settled down does not mean that the world quits revolving around the sun. Seasons come and seasons go. All the while we live out our day-to-day schedule of events and before you know it, days turn into weeks, weeks into months, and months into years. The friend that you promised that you would be in touch with soon, hasn’t heard from you in three years—it happens. But what about marriage; how do things change and how should we react?
Sometimes, the change can be a slow and steady sort of change, as in the way that you come to love your wife more than you did when you first met. Or, perhaps—like when your full head of hair decided to stop growing. By the way, just to set your mind at ease, the Scriptures say it’s perfectly OK: “If a man’s hair falls out from his head, he is bald; [but] he is clean” (Lev 13:40). I happen to like that one.
On the other hand, change can come quickly and suddenly. A disease, an illness, a job loss, a death—those are the tough times—you always remember them. As well, change may seem like it happened overnight. One day you wake up and years have passed by and you and your wife forgot to enjoy life together. Your work and her busy schedule, both of you carting the kids to practices, plays, and parties, and somehow they took the place of your long walks, picnics, and dates. And so now you find yourself “aging and changed.” How do you react?
Passion & Spontaneity. First, aging is inevitable, none of us truly thought that we would stop getting older, did we? Maybe you’re thinking, “But what about the passion and fire of the sexual intimacy that we had, or the spontaneity of picking up and going on a vacation, a date, or seeing some random concert or event? That never happens any more.” For some, the fire and passion stays, the spontaneity too, and that is a blessing from God! Be thankful. While for others, those things are in the distant past, but they can still change for us in a healthy way. Intimacy for guys tends to mean sex, that’s how we’re made, but for women it means holding hands, cuddling, and being together. Men seem to always be on the back end of the learning curve; meaning, intimacy isn’t always about sex—while it is a gift from God, to explore, know, and be one with our wives, just because those years seem to be slowing down, does not mean that change is bad.
Togetherness. One of my greatest joys is thinking that when I get older, I pray, that I grow older with my wife. I sometimes vision us sitting on a porch swing enjoying a sunrise, sunset, or a cup of coffee, just swinging and holding hands. But perhaps that’s because we do that now. I’ll admit, I look at elder married couples within the church and grin, it gives me a glow. I love their togetherness, the way that they finish each other’s sentences, the way they look at one another. Age is only on the outside. The soul still remembers her from when you met; the time you stuttered over your words to say hello, shared an ice cream on the first date and spilled it on her new blouse, the anniversary roses that you bought at the last minute at a gas station and how she beamed when she knew that they were from you, or the time when you had a picnic and laughed so hard that milk came out your nose. Those will be the good times, but fresh in your mind as if it were yesterday.
Change is good, especially when you know more about your wife than you did when you met. Even though she argues over your not putting your socks away or you still get annoyed at how she squeezes her toothpaste from the middle—when those sunset years come along, you’ll long to see those socks on the floor or the tube of squished toothpaste. Aging and change are good. Embrace the change and the age—make new memories every day.
Matthew Fretwell is married, has three daughters, loves Jesus, being a dad, people, and coffee. Besides being an author (Denied Desires; Identity Theft, Sanctificagious, 30:1 Manhood), he’s Pastor of a comeback, church planting church (Oak Hall Baptist) in Sandston, Virginia, and is the founder of Job 31 Ministries. Matt’s an advocate board member of Living Bread Ministries, a global comprehensive Church Planting organization. He also writes for Church Planter Magazine. Twitter: @w84harpazo or Facebook