Updated: Sep 25, 2022
We have now come full circle in the “Growing Old Together” series by revisiting the picture below. We wondered what this couple went through in their marriage journey to make it to this point. Still together, still close and still in love.
We now realize that some of the keys to their success were compromise, patience, forgiveness, and respect. They made plans and decisions together. They kept their marriage a priority while raising a family. They looked to be better individuals which made them better partners. They treated one another as equals willing to sacrifice for the other. Together they took risks and shared in the successes. They allowed shared faith to shape their marriage and give them inner strength and peace along the way. They didn’t stop dating each other and kept life eventful. And they embraced aging as they encouraged one another through that transition.
Retired, they now walk the beach as they look to live out the remaining years they have. The “Golden Years” represents on average, the remaining 20 years of life. What that may look like for a couple can vary widely.
Could it be that the man in our picture is sharing a few comforting words to his wife that things will be ok after having just learned that he has terminal cancer? Or, maybe they are talking about how it may be time to downsize and move into a senior community. Possibly they are discussing their next step in their changing financial situation. Or it could be that they are just simply enjoying one more beautiful day together.
We plan, we prepare, and we put in place what we can as we enter into these “golden years”, but one thing we have learned in life by this stage, anything can happen.
If we haven’t done so by now, then it is during the initial golden years that we need to have some hard conversations with our spouse. The “what if” discussions. What if one of us becomes disabled? What if we have to move? What if one of us has an illness the other spouse cannot care for? What if our finances are not enough to maintain our present lifestyle? These are some of the “what if” questions senior couples need to have answers for should they ever be faced with any of them.
The last twenty plus years will still contain life changes a couple will have to confront. However, each passing year is a celebration! If you make it to this point, you’ve made it past many other couples who, like you, started their journey together but did not survive. Those marriages ended long ago, primarily due to divorce. Not many make it this far. As you celebrate your 30th, 50th, or 60th anniversary and all those in-between, you realize how remarkable it is. Real love got you to this point. The vows you made in the beginning still ring true:
“..to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish until we are parted by death, as God is my witness, I give you my promise.”
You both made a choice. To be there for one another. In good times and bad. In lean times and in times of plenty. Through personal challenges and marriage obstacles, you both remained committed.
Health may diminish. Fixed incomes may apply restrictions on how you live at this point. But life remains full and complete while you both have each other.
The day will come when you give your last kiss, hold hands one last time or say your final good night to each other. When that happens, you will have kept, to the very end, your word, that promise you made so many decades ago.
But not today!
Until next time, we wish you LOVE, JOY & PEACE!
Brad & Yvonne