By: Michael Aun
With the high divorce rates in society today and an ever growing number of people who do not even bother with the process of marriage, one has to wonder how you maintain a lifetime commitment to another person.
On a good day, love is a difficult process. Maintaining that love for a half century… well that’s an even bigger challenge. In my world, we never expected to fix all the problems we faced with a simple commitment of “I do.” What that promise meant to my bride and me was we would face the challenges together.
When you are working on your fifth decade of marriage, you come to understand your spouse. We do not say “I love you” just because we mean it, we say it because it is our habit to do so.
We know it to be true. We know it because it will last forever. We know we’ll always feel that way until we die.
When we say “I love you more,” what could that possibly mean? Not more than you love me… but rather more than those bad days that appear over fifty years of coexisting with another person.
When we say “I love you more,” it means more than any disagreement or fight that we ever had or will have.
When we say “I love you more,” it means more than any distance between ourselves. It means more than any obstacle that stands in the way. It means more than any health challenge.
When we say “I love you more,” it means that the best feeling in the world is being loved back by the person you love.
When someone says “I love you” it means that it shows up in the deeds and actions of your mate. One of my great frustrations in life is being married to a person you cannot possibly out-love or out-give. Christine rarely thinks of herself, only others.
It may only take a moment for her to say it, but she backs it up with a lifetime of showing it to others, most especially to our three sons who have been reared in the same love and righteousness. They have replicated that in their own lives.
When you see your progeny pass all the terrific traits of your spouse along to their wives and children, then you know for a fact that the mother’s nurturing and love is what is sustaining her sons.
It is fair to say that we are just ordinary people who do the little things every day and over the course of time, those little things lead to extraordinary results. That, quite simply, defines a loving marriage.
Make no mistake, the reason it works is because of a spouse like Christine who does not tolerate “mediocrity” or “good enough” as a response to an important challenge.
Over the years I have gained strength from being loved by Christine. Her love and devotion has also given me the courage to take on challenges that were out of my comfort zone. She found courage in me that I had not yet discovered myself.
To have someone like that believe in you can be worth more than anything you could inherit in life. What a true gift.
Everyone occasionally suffers from “impulsive indulgence.” Take the ridiculous amount of money my bride spends on Christmas every year. None of it is for herself; all of it is for her family.
On occasion, I would hope she would choose some “righteous restraint” but in nearly a half century of living together, I have learned that is a fight I will never win.
Perhaps the thing that troubles us most is love’s greatest enemy- intimacy. If I have learned nothing more about intimacy is it is frightening. It is the one thing we all want and the only way to get it is to give up all control.
Michael Aun, CSP®, CPAE Speaker Hall of Fame® was named a Legend of the Speaking Profession® in 2010 along with Zig Ziglar and Jim Rohn