Wednesday, August 11, 2010

And the Two Shall Become One

From the time I met them almost 30 years ago, I knew something was different about them. They just seemed to get along so well...two peas in a pod. They didn't just love each other, they really did enjoy one another's company. It was rare when you would see one without the other. What they did, they did as a couple. When they were thought of by others, it was usually as a couple, not individuals. They were very different physically. He was tall and slim. She was quite petite. He was a few years older than she was but when she caught his eye, he knew that she was special.

That couple has been married for 55 years now. That tall slim man is in his 80's. His hair is white, hers is gray. He walks with a little less pep in his step these days and sometimes forgets things but their love for one another has not diminished. It has, in fact, grown stronger as the years have passed.  The love that they now share is not the same kind of love they had when they were married for those first 20 years.  It's more of a caring, nurturing kind of love. It's the kind where she fusses at him for trying to do things that he really shouldn't try to do. You know, things like going outside and working in 100 degree weather or climbing a ladder to do some work on the house. It's the kind of love where he still comforts her when life and the worries of life get her down.  I have no doubt that either one of them would willingly give their life for the other.

Their example to me has been a great one of what it means in a practical sense to no longer be two individuals going their separate ways but to cleave to each other as a married couple. During the time that I've known them, they haven't "done their own things" without considering the other.  They've loved and supported each other, even showing support to the extended families that they married in to.

That's a lesson we can all learn whether we've been married for 1 year, 25 years, or 50 years. We live in a world that encourages us to do "what's best for us", individually, to put "us" at the top of the totem pole.  I think we've forgotten what it's like to put others needs and desires above our own. There's no other relationship where this is more important than in the marriage relationship. It may be in reference to a specific need or sometimes it may just be a desire of our spouse, something that we'd really prefer not to do if we were thinking only about ourselves. It's times like those that I need to remember the examples that I have been fortunate enough to have in my life and specifically the example of my mother and father-in-law, Mary and Joe Smith.

In-laws have been the butt of jokes as long as I can remember. They have gotten a bad rap over the years.  They're portrayed as bossy and meddling. While I'm sure there are some who fit that description well, there also are some who can teach us valuable lessons if we open our minds to that possibility.

While we haven't always agreed on everything and although we've gotten on each other's nerves at times, I'm thankful for mine. They've taught me volumes about what it means to no longer be two but one, not through any lecturing or meddling but by their example. Hmmmm...It is true...Actions do speak so much louder than words.

November, 2010

No comments:

Post a Comment