I know it is hard to image:) but my teenage son and I were driving to the mall last night to eat Sbarro Pizza at the food court (his request) and we heard a COUNTRY song about ” marrying your high school sweetheart.” And my son said, “Mom, does that really happen …and if it does do they stay together?”
Well, it took me a minute to respond because I actually know some people who married their highschool sweetheart and they are now in their forties and they are still together…but is that rare?
I don’t recall my exact words, but I think my answer went something like this
I think it might be more common in small towns… Do they stay together? If they don’t, it is probably sadly for the same reasons that a lot of people don’t stay together. Even when people marry because they really truly deeply love each other, somewhere between being an idealistic child and being a wise old person, some people go through a really stupid time. (* Of course not all people marry for love…but that was not the question, so that was not part of the answer). The term “mid-life crisis” it is real for some…around their forties some people start realizing that they aren’t as handsome (or beautiful) as they once were…that they aren’t as successful as they had hoped and planned to be…that they hadn’t been as many places or done as many things as they thought they would have done…they start thinking about all of the things that they might have missed. They want to prove to themselves that they are still desirable or capable. Sadly, some people buy into the lie that “you only live once” or “live for the moment”…or “the grass is greener…”.
I told my son that the hard reality is that a person who is in a relationship…and really loves their husband or wife… simply cannot afford to mess up. Because if the “mid-life crisis” makes the person do selfish things then it is a Herculean task to get beyond the hurt and disappointment and to ever be able to trust completely again. We can forgive…but it is, without brain surgery or a traumatic injury or illness, impossible to forget. Once trust is broken, it is broken.
I am thinking about this because there are people my age ( mid-life) that are dissatisfied…albeit some for very good reason…because they have a “hound dog or a ho” for a spouse…or because they are abused in some way (men can be abuse too).
But DO you love your spouse…or did you once upon a time? REALLY TRULY love? Have you stayed faithful because of social pressures that whisper (or shout) in your ear, “YOU BETTER NOT!!!…or you will go to HELL!” Do you have “wandering eyes”…looking at what you don’t have…what somebody else has…what you wish you had? Or are you perfectly content…looking at one person… the only person in the entire world even in a room of a thousand? Do you tell that voice that says…”go for it! you only live once! what is one night that nobody will know about gonna hurt? just see if the grass is greener…” Do you tell that voice “Yes, ok.” or do you tell that voice “NO!” or “no.” Do you say “no” because you are afraid of HELL or public ridicule or getting caught? Or do you tell that voice “No way!!!” because You LOVE your spouse? And you know in your heart and soul that no amount of temptation from any source would successfully tempt because you know that you are perfectly matched and equally yoked?
Is that unusual? To have that kind of Agape love with a spouse? I don’t know. Probably. But it is not only marrying the right person, but also being the right partner too. Are we externally motivated by society or our fears not to hurt our loved ones…or is it because internally we are so deeply in love? It matters and makes all the difference whether or not we can make it through the long-haul…past the stupid years and to the years or maturity.
In the musical “Fiddler on the Roof”, marriages are arranged and the father wants his daughter to marry well…but the daughter wants to marry for love…the girls sing a song about the old, abusive man that they might get matched with…and at the end of the song where they are pretending to tell the “Matchmaker” what they want, they say, “See that he’s gentle. remember, you were also a bride. It’s not that I’m sentimental…it’s just that I’m terrified! Matchmaker, matchmaker, plan me no plans.I’m in no rush. Maybe I’ve learned playing with matches a girl can get burned. So, bring me no ring. Groom me no groom. find me no find. Catch me no catch. Unless he’s a matchless match.”
Isn’t that a fantastic song? Wouldn’t it be great if we all could find a matchless match?…all the pain and heartache we would save ourselves if we knew before we said “I do” that our love would be true?
Juxtapose the young idealism of the girls and what they expect from their match to the song that their father sings to his wife, their mother. He has been angry that his daughter wants to marry for love and against tradition…but it makes him start questioning his own marriage.
husband:”…on our wedding day I was scared”
wife: “I was shy” (h): “I was nervous” (w): “So was I”
(h) : “But my father and my mother said we’d learn to love each other and now I’m asking, Golde, Do you love me?”
(w): “I’m your wife”
(h): “I know…but do you love me?”
(w): “Do I love him? For twenty-five years I’ve lived with him, fought him, starved with him/ twenty-five years my bed is his. If that’s not love, what is?
(h): “Then you love me?”
(w): “I suppose I do”
(h): “And I suppose I love you too”…
(both) “it doesn’t chang a thing. But even so, after twenty-five years it is nice to know.”
If THAT is the feelings of a relationship that after twenty-five years of marriage, is it any wonder that many marriages don’t last? Where is the passion? The only thing that this marriage has is commitment and inertia. Commitment is a start, and is honorable. But consider the difference:
Showing up, doing what is expected…Like the person who goes to church on Sunday and Wednesday night and teaches sunday school…etc.
or: LOVING DEEPLY…seeking…learning….growing…talking…listening…FEELING…knowing…that is a RELATIONSHIP. That is what God wants us to have with HIM and with our partner.
There is a difference. It may be the difference between being in a loving embrace when we are 90…or being alone. Let’s not be alone. The wonderful thing is…that we don’t have to be. We don’t have to find the right “person”, He is already there. I hope that you will feel the arms of PEOPLE that you love and the strength of God’s arms around you each and every day. There is no need to go through the stupid years. Choose well.
Find love…and keep it.