Even if and when you stay faithfully married, your time as a wife won’t last forever.
When you and your husband are committed to your marriage – and you work together at building your marriage – you’re fulfilling your wedding vows day by day and year by year.
There comes a point, after your heady newlywed days and the harried years of raising children, when you understand each other and settle in to growing old together. You watch each other wrinkle and gray. You help each other get around and navigate doctor appointments. You can look back at your life you’ve built together with satisfaction.
But then, whether it’s expected or unexpected, one of you will pass from this life first.
Death will part you.
And then, the surviving spouse goes through the challenging, heartbreaking phase of moving on. As R.C. Sproul wrote:
“When a person loses her lifelong mate, it’s like losing an integral, intimate part of one’s self because husband and wife, we are told, in the mystery of marriage are one flesh. So, the pain of widowhood brings a unique dimension of loneliness. It’s jarring to suddenly be alone when one has been accustomed to the constant companionship with one’s spouse over a long period of time.”
Two lessons from a happy marriage
In the past month, my family has mourned with our dearest neighbor, as her husband of 53 years died suddenly. She was at home, waiting for her beloved husband to return from lunch out with a friend – yet he never came home.
Now she’s left, wishing he could come walking through the door again so they could carry on with their everyday lives together. And now she’s left, grieving, missing him terribly and thinking about how very much her life has changed.
When I contemplate the example of their strong, loving marriage, I’m so thankful for the lessons it taught me and my husband.
I’m grateful we were able to see a couple live happily in their daily lives – even when the personalities and preferences of the husband and wife were so radically different. (He was quiet and loved the outdoors. She is outgoing and loves to stay in.)
With their marriage in mind, here are two big takeaways I’ve had:
1. Spend time with your husband while you still can.
Each day is a gift. And as tempting as it is to make plans together as a couple, it’s vital to remember that tomorrow is not guaranteed.
Sure, you could do other things – either on your own or with friends. You could fill your schedule until you’re running each and every day. But if your daily life is a continual hectic rush, are you truly enjoying your husband?
Every husband is a gift given from God. Your husband may not necessarily seem like a gift each and every day, but he is. It’s important to appreciate this gift while you have it.
From my years of singleness, I can guarantee you that many women hope and pray for a husband. But not all have one.
Appreciate your husband and invest in your relationship by spending time together while you can. Ride with him just because you can. Spend time in the same room because you have each other. You can still be very different people but closely united in marriage.
2. If at all possible, don’t leave each other angry.
You know how Ephesians 4:26 says, “Don’t let the sun go down on your anger”?
I always was so annoyed at the advice to not go to bed angry. If a disagreement just couldn’t be resolved right away, I knew that things would improve in the morning. Sometimes both you and your husband just need to get to bed and sleep off your annoyances.
As two sinful people living in a fallen world, a husband and wife can’t possibly get along all the time. And really, it’s ridiculous to even try. You’re two individuals who clearly have different perspectives, personalities and opinions.
But, realistically speaking, it’s important to try to forgive and forget quickly as a wife.
Of course, if you and your husband need to work through a huge issue, pray and work through it. Expect it to take some time, tears, and a lot of words and prayers. But if at all possible, try not to hold a grudge. Don’t let bitterness poison your relationship and your attitude.
Work through your problems and come back to a good place in your marriage – so that can keep being a loving wife, faithful to your vows both in good times and in bad. As you work toward this, remember that you never know what could possibly be the last time you say goodnight or goodbye.
One tradition my grandma passed along to me was waving to people as they drive away from your home. As much as possible, I try to stop what I’m doing and wave goodbye to guests as they leave. And I do the same with my husband. Sending him off with a kiss, an “I love you,” and a wave is one habit of mine I hope I’ll always keep.
As you think of life with your own husband, remember to tell him how you treasure him. Tell him what you appreciate. And remember that your time together won’t last forever – so make the most of right now.
What are some ways you show your husband you appreciate him? How do you remind yourself that time as a wife won’t last forever?
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All images courtesy of Unsplash.
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