My husband, Mike, and I have been married 32 years, together for 34. That’s a lot of time spent learning, growing, sharing, fighting, making up, and experiencing life together. Obviously it hasn’t been 32 years of sheer bliss. There’ve been rocky patches, mountaintop experiences, and lots (and lots) of normal everyday stuff.
We have two really great kids – a daughter, 27, and a son, 25. Our son has been in a serious relationship with a delightful young woman for the past year. We’ve thoroughly enjoyed getting to know her, and watching their relationship bloom. And as a mom, I’ve loved seeing how my son has grown – he’s a considerate young man who worries when she’s having a bad day, comes up with creative ways to make her smile, and is now looking at the future with new eyes.
So what does new love look like?
- finding THE ONE who makes your world a wonderful place
- telling everyone about THE ONE who makes your world a wonderful place
- constantly discovering amazing things about THE ONE (and ignoring the not-so-amazing things)
- learning it’s fun to put THE ONE’s needs ahead of your own because they’re so amazing
- looking for ways to make THE ONE happy
- experiencing great joy when reuniting with THE ONE, even after just a few hours
- knowing there’s nothing that can come between you and THE ONE, and that together you can scale the tallest summit, navigate any turbulence, solve every problem
Our daughter has been married over three years, together for 5. They put a lot of energy and focus on their relationship early on – read and discussed relationship books together, listened to relationship “experts” together, had endless discussions about their future, their hopes and dreams, and how many pets they wanted. In the past year they bought a house, a puppy, and had a baby (now 4 months old). This past week they’ve experienced their first homeowner’s crisis – a wet basement (due to our torrential June rains).
So what does love of a handful of years look like?
- learning the painful lessons of acceptance (starting with discovering you married a regular person with issues…just like you)
- establishing a sense of family (first of two, now of three) and creating new traditions
- discovering amazing qualities about the other (and about yourself) that emerge through life’s daily ordinariness
- learning how to fight, negotiate, and eventually find ways for everyone to “win”
- learning to put someone else’s needs ahead of your own – first because you’re supposed to, then because you WANT to
- experiencing life together and discovering that even the down times can positively impact the relationship
- realizing that the marriage won’t stay at the honeymoon stage forever, and learning to accept that that’s okay, even normal
- merging his and her friends, and making “our” friends
Mike and I have over three decades together. That’s hard to believe because I’m only 40. ;) Usually, it seems like just the blink of an eye. How amazing to look back over all that we’ve experienced, the highs and lows, the joys and frustrations, and realize we did it TOGETHER. So what does “old” love look like?
- accepting, even embracing, each other’s differences
- understanding that most of life is stuff that’s just not worth fussing about
- communicating across the room without saying a word
- lots of inside jokes
- laughing over things that were SO not funny in the early stage
- accepting that there are some things that won’t change. Ever.
- celebrating the big and small stuff together, and realizing it all matters (not just the “big” stuff)
So where are you in the continuum of life and love?
What are some things that characterize your relationship?
Andrea Cox says
Stacy, thank you for sharing your views on love, old, new, and in between. It’s encouraging to me this afternoon. I spent the morning praying and listening about my future (and yes, that included who the man is I will one day marry). I don’t know much of anything about him yet, as I haven’t met him, but God’s shown me over the years a few traits I’d appreciate in him. Compassion, understanding, patience, and definitely love. But the most important thing I’ve discovered is that the relationship he has with God is where it all starts. If that relationship isn’t the strongest thing in his life (and mine), then finding each other is pointless. We’d only make each other miserable. So, for now and always, I’m pouring my heart into my own relationship with God. Because it will make a difference in every aspect of my life… especially when I find THE ONE.
Stacy Monson says
Andrea, that is so wise in so many ways! Praying about the man, and then recognizing the most important aspect of what your relationship will be. I’m praying for him and you too!
Andrea Cox says
I appreciate your prayers so much!