Many years ago, I watched a TV Programme that featured an old couple. The wife was in her early 80s while the old husband appeared to be in his late 80’s.
It was a guest interview programme. Each time the old man spoke, he referred to the wife as “this girl” Then the presenter paused and asked “which girl?”
“Of course this girl” said the old man laughing hysterically. The old woman smiled sheepishly, apparently, she enjoyed the compliments.
That TV programme left an indelible mark in my psyche till date. The old couple enjoyed marriage till old age. That’s very rare.
Most people endure marriage till old age and barely manage to continue for three major reasons:
- It’s all over any way, why change spouse now.
- We remain for the sake of our children and investments.
- The world must not hear this!
- The consequences will be grave…Let’s manage on.
- We have spoken against this, how we defend it!
By implication, such couples remain together in body and not in the soul, marking time and waiting for either to die and be relieved from the burden called marriage. This is sad!
At old age, couples who have not laid the foundation for love at later stage of their lives end up with one or more of these:
- Wife begins to escape from the husband under the pretext of visiting and staying with the children.
- Husband resort to a second wife to spite his wife and children who in most cases stand with their mother.
- Both become strangers in the house discussing only when common issues like children and properties come up.
- Visitors are now welcome with eagerness and expectation. Discussions with visitors are unusually long.
- Both look forward to social functions, family meetings etc. These are alternatives to the boring and cold life at home.
The best time to enjoy marriage is in old age! This is because:
- Routine of life is gradually winding down, thus daily engagements and activities are phasing out!
- Children have become independent and are becoming more and more removed from parents.
- Life aspirations and ambitions are almost accomplished and both are left with few visions to pursue.
- Health is longer what it used to be. Strength fails and there is need for each other more than ever before.
- As age increases, the chances of loosing friends and associates also increases leaving hurts and pains.
To enjoy love at old age, you must have laid the foundations during the early stages of marriage.
- Understand and respect the stages of authority and control in your family if you must enjoy peace in your old age. Many find it difficult to adapt.
- THE FIRST FIFTEEN YEARS: At this stage of your marriage, you’re completely in charge of the home and family. Your children are young and your wife is most likely completely dependent on you for livelihood and sustenance.
- FIFTEEN TO TWENTY FIVE YEARS: Your wife gradually takes over at this stage. Your children are grown up and now in their teenage and early twenties. At that age, they are not likely to swallow everything hook line and sinker like the first stage. Your wife too becomes less dependent; the fruits of her many years of working and investments are bringing in some reliefs, so reliance on you is not like before.
- TWENTY FIVE TO THIRTY YEARS: A brief period when power is shared by your wife and children. At this stage, children are beginning to be free and less dependent. They are getting married and receiving from you probably your last investment on them. Because of the many years of their closeness to the mother, they tend at this stage to “conspire” with her “against” you. Many decisions are taken without your input.
- THIRTY YEARS AND ABOVE: At this stage, your children are completely independent of you and in charge! They need less and less of you and rarely consult you in making life decisions. In fact, they require you to consult them before making some decisions!!! Many a times you may want to do certain things and your children may even ask you politely not to. They are now in charge. The tide has changed!
- Have the end in view and work towards it. Visualize what or how you want your marriage to look like at the end of your life. If you this, you will consciously work towards the end and prepare your marriage for such a time.
- Work on your differences over the years. Although opposites attracts. To maintain a lifelong relationship requires synergy of ideas and opinions about life. You may have started with different views and approach towards issues, it is expected that by the mid years of your marriage, you should have blended well by understanding each other.
- Your Spouse still cares about your looks. Even in old age, you will be shocked to know that couples still find themselves attractive. Don’t ever get that idea of what else do I need to look good for? Your spouse still wants to find you looking good despite the advancement in age. Stay healthy, beautiful/handsome as much as you can to please him/her.
- To enjoy love in old age, cultivate the habit of talking to one another. Stop this idea of not having time to talk to your spouse because you are busy. Create the time. A time is coming when all you have to do is sit with your spouse and talk and talk. Imagine how boring that time will be if you have not built that habit and culture as young couples. Try and go out together and talk for one hour. If it’s boring, something is seriously wrong.
- Find out the things that make your spouse happy and invest in it. Don’t selfishly invest in only what interest you. When you grow old and you need your spouse to assist you in certain areas, you might be shocked to meet a brick wall or cold attitude.
- Surprise each other! Marriage can be boring if it continues like a routine and a timetable. Break the routine. Do some unusual things. Surprise each other once in a while. While your spouse is not an employee, do what employers do for their employers to make them want to work more. You will be surprised that the result is the same.
- Recall fondest memories and celebrate your marriage. Events leading to your choice of that man/woman are usually exciting. Once in a while, relieve of those events and celebrate them as much as you can. Such fond memories are capable of rebuilding love and refiring old passion.
- Do things together and go out together especially when profession separates you. Economic challenges have pushed several to do jobs they ordinarily wouldn’t want or wish to do. Not everyone wants to work in Abuja while family remains in Abeokuta. Such separations take massive toll on marriages. At retirement, such couples suddenly discover they have been strangers all the while. If you are in such a situation, create time deliberately to be together.
10. You are modeling future marriages. You should realize that your marriage is being studied by young people whom you may never know or even come across. They could be neighbours, relations or distant admirers. Remember that you are God’s agent on earth to mould the next generation.
May The Lord keep your home !!!