Husbands take a lot of prayer, well for that matter so do wives. This is a picture of Jeff and I on our 26th wedding anniversary. We had to attend a fund-raiser that night and Jessi and Jason came with us. Afterwards we all went to dinner. That was about all we did for our big celebration this year. I have realized that these years are difficult on a marriage. They are burdensome financially and are harder to pull out alone than when the kids were all small. I would have never thought that would be the case. I always just figured by the time we got all the way to our 26th wedding anniversary we would have no problem stepping out into wonderful celebrations.
At this point Jeff and I are both trying to find our new rhythm together as a couple. It sure looks clumsy! At times it looks like we are failing to get to a good place. We have not been just a couple for a long time. And now as we are coming back we are both older and we have a longer list of concerns. There is also some wear and tear of being together for so long. And of course there is menopause and “MANo-pause” that we both must deal with. We both react a little differently to the kids leaving the nest. We both have different thoughts on just about everything (haha! I have no idea why it would be any other way). And we both have to push ourselves to accept one another’s thoughts as different and not as wrong. I remind myself all the time there are many different ways of seeing a situation and solving a concern and none of those ways are actually wrong they are just different.
Finding a new rhythm as a couple is a process and does not come overnight. Everyone tells you when you are young to make sure you don’t stop dating each other because in the end it will just be the two of you. So you keep that in the back of your mind as you are going out once a week when the kids are young. And then your kids become teenagers and young adults and you have sporting events, drama events, concerts, etc. You then you gain the stress of financially raising kids and sending them to college so you each do what you can to make ends meet. You easily start to lose yourself as a couple. And by the time everyone leaves you realize you just may have to start all over again after all.
Starting over as a couple is almost like going back to the first year of marriage where you are starting with all new rules and regulations for relationship but this time you each have established what works for YOU. “This is not working for me,” or “How on earth are we going to make this work?” becomes the new norm as a couple finding themselves. Discovering what it is that makes both of you inspired and engaged in life becomes a new quest both individually and together. Deciding to keep trying is a resolution. Never buy in on the myth that just because you have been together a long time means that it should be easier. Relationships are never meant to be easy they always require work and forgiveness.
For Jeff and I we decided to engage ourselves into the marriage ministry at our church. We needed the accountability of facilitating a class. We needed to gain new insight, new ways of solving problems between the two of us. We never facilitate like we know what we are talking about rather we always confess we need direction just like everyone else. But each series teaches us new strategies to apply and new insights. Engaging in different classes together as a couple gives us something to do together. I think that is also the difficult part. When you are raising the kid’s “divide and conquer” becomes your survival technique. Many times you are not doing things together and actually as long as you have the kids around that works and may be necessary. But as you work to discover your new footing try to find new ways to get to know one another again. Look for ways where both of you can be engaged and where the two of you are working side by side. And then pray a lot for each other. Because this is a difficult stage of life! Remind yourself that this is a DIFFICULT stage of life, well to be honest all stages of life are difficult in their own way….