Marriage changes over time. The first 10 years are spent getting to know one another, your quirks, your idiosyncracies, and the "let's not go there" topics. Children are usually thrown into the mix, which makes life interesting. Somehow during those years you learn to stick together or the kids will sink the ship.
The next 10 years are spent trying to figure out how you got where you are, and whether you can weather the storm until the kids are gone. "Endure 'till the end" is beginning to look like "Oh snap, what have we done?!" This period usually has teenagers making life seem more complicated than you had ever imagined.
The third 10-year period is a time to "reassess" and set new goals. It's a time to get to know one another all over again because you've spent so much time raising children that you've forgotten how to have a conversation that doesn't center around one of your children's problems. It's a time to sit back and decide how the rest of your lives will be spent.
The fourth 10-year period brings so many changes. For the first time in your married life, you can actually spend time together! This brings adjustments, of course, but for the most part, it is a sweet period. We are beginning the 5th year of this period. One of us is retired, and the other one is not. For a few more months, we still have our youngest child living at home -- though she doesn't spend much time there. We hardly see ever see her. We're looking at more adjustments over the next five years. Will I still be working? Full-time? Part-time? Will we serve a mission for our church? Will we travel? Will we still be in good health? These are questions that will all be answered soon. In the meantime, we cherish this time together. We enjoy watching our adult children in their journeys, and we bond with our beautiful grandchildren.
I don't know what the fifth 10-year period will bring because we're not there yet, but I anticipate that it will be even sweeter than this time. The chances are that one of us will probably be caring for the other one at some point. That can be rather challenging, but I think it will also be a sweet time together. Isn't that what love is all about?
I think Robert Browning said it best:
"Grow old along with me!
The best is yet to be,
The last of life, for which the first was made.
Our times are in His hand who saith,
'A whole I planned, youth shows but half;
Trust God: See all, nor be afraid!'"