The other day I was caught off guard by something I saw on my husband. I stared at the back of his head for quite some time.
“What are you doing?” He asked self-consciously. “Are you looking at my hair?”
I smiled and my eyes grew wide as I, indeed, was caught off guard again by this white hair we discovered together a few months ago.
He looked at me like, well what do you expect?
We laughed and I kind of made a big deal about it, which led us into the crazy, weird reality of how we’re aging together. It feels like yesterday we were 23 and 26, pledging our lives to one another on a wintry December day among all our friends and family. This year, I turn 32 and he’ll be 35.
“I was noticing the other day how my hands are changing too,” he added.
I glanced down at them and he was right. His hands were more mature. I always loved the strength I saw and felt from them.
I looked down at mine and reflected on all that we’d experienced together – the exchanging of our wedding rings, hanging up picture frames in our first apartment, writing down goals for the new year, driving across country to live in a new state, writing and editing seminary papers, preparing meals in the kitchen, signing the paperwork to our first home, holding each of our children for the first time, changing dirty diapers, unclogging drains, remodeling rooms, and so much more.
And how could I forget the times we wiped away each other’s tears after a fight as we confessed our foolish pride and selfishness. The times we threw our hands in the air speaking careless words. The times we held one another acknowledging our faults, asking forgiveness, reconciling, and rolling back to the middle of the bed.
My hands were changing with his.
And my heart welled with gratitude that we’ve traveled this almost-9-year journey hands locked together through thick and thin.
More importantly, the grace of God has held us.
Truly, there is something so beautiful and profound about time and aging in the marriage relationship. Watching elderly couples holding hands or sitting with each other—barely saying a word—always stirs something deep in my soul giving me the desire to go the distance with my husband.
The truth is that when you’re first married you’re not thinking deeply about the reality of the words “until death do us part” or “in sickness and in health.” Yet after the months and years pass in the blink of an eye you understand how both those promises are there for a reason. Trials and tribulation are sure to come as the spring rain.
As you age together, you experience your health failing you at times and you need your spouse’s care. Out of nowhere you start to see or hear status updates of friends and loved ones sharing about a cancer diagnosis or tragic accident. A few weeks ago, my heart ached for a college friend who lost a two-year battle to colon cancer, leaving behind her husband and two small children. She’s now in the hands of Jesus.
Time in your marriage relationship is fragile. Life is. And you don’t have control over what happens to you. Only God does. He’s the one who knows how much time you have left. But what you do have control over is whether or not to embrace the time you’ve been given especially as you see evidence of your physical bodies growing older.
The great hope in aging together is that even though outward changes are happening—some more pleasant than others—new depths of your faith, character, and sanctification are surfacing. I love the wisdom in 2 Corinthians 4:16 that says:
So we do not give up. Though our physical body is becoming older and weaker our spirit inside us is made new every day.”
I’m convinced that the inward transformation of being more conformed to the image of Christ is perhaps the most beautiful of all.
More white hairs popping out of nowhere, lines, wrinkles, and creases on our skin are sure to come sooner than later. In October, I’ll be able to joke with my husband that he’s halfway to 40. I anticipate a few tears and a whole lot of laughs.
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