Two are better than one. – Ecclesiastes 4:9 ESV
It’s been three weeks since Dean retired. After decades of being home alone all day, suddenly I have him around 24/7.
I’m loving every minute of it. We’re settling into a nice routine. The biggest adjustment has been wearing my hearing aids all day instead of just in the evenings – a huge change for me. I like my world quiet.
But seeing the exasperated look on his face when I asked “what?” every time he said something made me realize if I want to have a long, healthy marriage in these retirement years, I’d better up my game.
DH is an easy man to get along with. He’s patient, kind, sometimes forgetful, sometimes too practical (“red neck” might be a better term), and almost always puts me first. The closest we ever come to fighting is when I try to pry out of him where he wants to eat out.
His answer is always, “Wherever (or whatever) you want. If you’re happy, I’m happy.”
Okay, I can settle for that.
On his wedding day, my oldest son texted me these words: “I finally have what I saw growing up in you and Dad.”
I never realized we were being an example to our kids. I was just trying to survive.
But we’ve more than survived marriage. We’ve thrived.
In 45 years, I’ve learned a few things that have contributed to the difference between “survive” and “thrive.”
First, I’ve learned the importance of communication. Of listening to what he says and what he doesn’t say. Of listening with not just my four ears, but my heart. I’ve learned the wisdom of Proverbs 18:13 and James 1:19, but it’s still hard not to jump in with my two cents or finish his sentences.
I’ve learned to talk things over with him and include him in the decision-making, especially with finances. I value his input and don’t feel as though I’m carrying the burden all by myself.
It took me a long time, but I’ve learned to control my anger. I used to be a rage monster. But God lovingly worked on and in me.
I’ve learned the importance of forgiveness, both giving it and asking for it. Offenses can be intentional, unintentional, and perceived. I’ve learned to get over it. Dwelling on things, stewing, simmering eventually leads to the pot of bitterness boiling over. Once again, prayer is the key.
Which brings me to probably the most important lesson of all: the value of prayer. Daily, consistent, persistent, spontaneous prayer. I pray for Dean every day. I pray for our relationship, circumstances, situations, and issues we’re dealing with. I pray for myself – that I would be the wife he needs, the helper suitable for him.
I like the way the Amplified version expands on the word “helper” in Genesis 2:18. A helper is one who balances the other, a counterpart who is suitable for and completes the other person, who brings out his good qualities.
And finally, I’ve learned what love is all about. It’s keeping the romance alive. It’s not taking him for granted. It’s noticing and showing appreciation for the little things. It’s taking time for and with each other, doing something fun together.
And it’s wearing my hearing aids when he’s around . . . funny, but now I rather like my world a bit noisier.
Lord, help me to be the person my spouse needs. Help me truly to be the other half of a whole You have ordained. Amen.
© 2018 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.