Matthew and I will soon celebrate twenty-four years of wedded bliss. I could ask, Where did the time go?, but I know where it went. All of it. Fifteen houses, four kids, three states, nine ministry positions, and more than a few gray hairs later, and we are still going strong.
How can that be? Some people would look at us and say that we are lucky to have the marriage we have. I would beg to differ. We do not have the marriage we have because we are lucky. We have the marriage we have because we work hard at it.
Marriage takes a lot of work. It takes two individuals, who are vastly different creatures, learning how to walk this life out together without killing each other in the process. Those who do that, have a great deal to show for it. Those who don’t, spend their lives pondering what went wrong from their 8×8 prison cell.
One of my favorite Ruth Graham quotes is this. They asked her did she ever think about divorce and she said, “No, I’ve never thought of divorce in all these 35 years of marriage, but,’ she said, ‘I did think of murder a few times.”
I’ve learned some things in twenty-four years of being married. I’ve learned that Matthew and I see the world in very different ways. He sees the world through man eyes, and I see it through woman eyes. It is incredible how clearly you can see the world when the two eyes are working together. The view is incredible.
When we first got married, I just figured all the gushy, mushy feelings would stay with us forever. When I was a newlywed, I wanted to be with Matthew all day, every day. I wanted to hold his hand, kiss his mouth, and walk every step he did. I soon learned that was not to be my life. It’s just not practical. After a while, eventually you have to stop ogling each other, and go to work.
But there is something to say for couples who manage to keep the fires burning for years and years. If you have ever tried to keep an actual fire burning, you know that it takes some tending to. Those fires will burn out if left alone, and starting a fire back that has gone cold is much harder than keeping a fire burning that is already lit. The same is true of marriage.
I am happy to say that the fire in my marriage is still burning. It’s not like it was in the beginning. In the beginning it was like a bonfire burning bright for all to see. Now, our fire is more like a campfire. It’s still warm, comforting, and it still sends up sparks from time to time, but its more of a steady glow than a raging bonfire.
Are you finding that the fire is growing dim in your own marriage? Maybe it’s time to stoke it a bit. When was the last time you took a trip, just the two of you? No kids, no jobs, just the two of you? How about a night out on the town? Get dressed up and go eat at a restaurant you can’t afford. Hold hands. Sit on the same side of the table.
When was the last time you looked at your spouse and thought, “Now that’s sexy?”
Let’s face it, we all eventually succumb to time, gravity, and the middle aged spread, albeit, some more than others, but sexy can still be there, if you look for it. Most of us said when we were younger that we wanted someone to grow old with, only now that we are actually growing old with someone, it’s not all we thought it would be. We’re older now, and sometimes old doesn’t look as good as we thought it would when we started this journey. Growing older is a reality, though, but it doesn’t have to be a killjoy in the marriage department.
You find sexy in the most unusual places when you are my age. For example, not too many weeks ago, I watched my husband in full on worship at church. Hand raised, singing his heart out to his Savior. BAM! Now, ladies, that was S E X Y! I’m not sure why that struck me as sexy, but in that moment, it did.
Maybe it’s time to throw another log on the fire of your marriage. Maybe you’ve stopped looking for sexy in your mate because you’re not twenty something anymore. Pish posh. Look for it. You’ll find it in the oddest places. And when you find it… do something about it. Good marriages aren’t accidental… and they aren’t the luck of the draw either. It takes effort and we have to pay attention. Where are you seeing sexy in your mate?