After all, while there is much about marriage that is the same after so many years, there is also so much that is different. For instance, I have never been married to a person my wife’s age before. (I didn’t mention her age.) Nor has she ever been married to a person my age. We no longer have children at home. That makes a difference as well. While there is much sameness after this many years, there are also many changes as well.
A few things I’ve learned about marriage:
1. Forgiveness is critical. After all, two imperfect human beings are attempting to share life together. I can look back and recall so much that I wish I could do over. At times, my behavior reflected self-centeredness, insensitivity, and immaturity. Being married has reminded me of how desperately I need not only my spouse’s forgiveness but God’s forgiveness.
2. There is much to be said for just simply learning to pay attention to one’s spouse. Isn’t that true of so much of life? For example, I have found that there is much to be enjoyed by just paying attention to the birds as they eat from our feeders in the morning. I can see them just outside our kitchen window.
Simply paying attention to Charlotte goes a long way. Perhaps this is so obvious that you are almost yawning at this point. Sorry, but it took me a long time to really understand the significance of this. Why is this challenging for so many of us? Because many other things clamor for our attention. Yet, I have found this to be important and so very satisfying — to her and to me as well.
3. We can never supply for one another that which only God can provide. Far too often, two empty people will put tremendous pressure on one another to give something they just don’t have to give. A couple may put tremendous pressure on their marriage and on one another by demanding that the other make him or her "happy." So often the unhappiness or lack of joy goes much deeper than an unfulfilling marriage. I believe there is a wholeness that only God can supply and no other human being ever can. Understanding this can take pressure off a marriage and free both people up to love, forgive, and enjoy one another.
I would enjoy hearing what you have learned either in your own marriage or from observing others.