A colleague of mine was recently visiting some friends at an assisted living complex here in Colorado Springs. Sitting with men and women in the twilight of their lives, he asked them about their respective marriages. Many were now widowed but others were still married, some for fifty and sixty years.
What had marriage taught them about love and life?
What advice would they give to couples just starting out?
If they had to do it all over again, what would they do differently?
The passage of time affords us perspective. What was so important to us years ago might now seem trivial.
Like the gentleman who shared that he missed his son’s Little League championship game in order to close a big deal. His wife sat alone in the stands, desperate to share with him the golden moment of their only son’s childhood. Each time the boy looked up into the bleachers hoping to see his dad, she had to simply shrug.
“I spent the money I made on that deal on a car that was eventually totaled,” he said. “It was a stupid decision. I wish I could go back and sit with my wife to watch that game.”
Matt was a neurosurgeon. He and his wife have been married for 63 years. “I had a lot of opportunities to stray while I was a hot shot doctor,” he said, his voice, now halting and in a whisper. “But I took my vows seriously. I couldn’t do it to Helen.”
When asked his secret to a long and happy marriage, he said, “Stay busy. That way you won’t have any time to fight.”
What about you? What has marriage taught you? For good or bad? I’m working on a book on marriage and would welcome your perspective. Your words and wisdom may even wind up in the book. I appreciate your help!