My husband, the beloved Swede, had forwarded an email detailing items which were to be offered at an auction he was planning to attend. He had highlighted a ten-day hike in the Swiss Alps, The Tour du Mont Blanc. The trip was advertised as a pilgrimage, a 105 mile journey by foot, offering travelers time for reflection and for listening to God’s voice.
There were plenty of reasons to say no: an uncertain economy, not knowing our son’s plans for the summer, my husband having no desire to travel to Europe, my being overweight and out of shape.
“It would give us something to work toward together,” we said.
Each season of a marriage presents its own challenges. I sense, in these empty nest years, the subtle temptation for each of us to wander off into our own interests and away from one another. I could keep myself busy, tapping away on my laptop or losing myself in a book while he putters around in the garage with his bow and arrows and other guy stuff. We could retreat to separate floors in the house, content to watch separate television programs. It would be so easy to allow a marriage to slip into a peaceful kind of coexistence.
But it is always worth the effort to protect a gift which is precious.
A recent article in The Wall Street Journal suggested that the divorce rate for people 50 and over has doubled in the past two decades. One suggested factor contributing to the increase, is that those of my generation entering marriage did so with goals increasingly focused on self-fulfillment.
“It’s easy to fall in love,” said my pastor during a wedding ceremony this past weekend. “It’s hard work staying in love.”
The hard work of marriage is that of laying down one’s life and surrendering one’s interests for the sake of the beloved. The Swede and I have walked many miles down this road together, one which has taken us on some wild and twisting turns. At times he’s had to carry me.
Sometimes quite literally.
So we’re going on pilgrimage together. The Swede’s been checking our gear, purchasing new equipment and teaching me how to use it. Making sure I have what I need is one of the ways he consistently demonstrates love.
And though my feelings toward exercise are well documented, I’ve been working hard to get myself in shape. Together we enjoyed the gift of a Sabbath afternoon to practice for our trip.
Joining Laura @ The Wellspring:
Peterson, Eugene H. A Long Obedience in the Same Direction: Discipleship in an Instant Society. Downers Grove, IL: Inter Varsity Press, 1980.
Thomas, Susan Gregory. “The Gray Divorces.” 3 March 2012. The Wall Street Journal. 7 May 2012 <http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203753704577255230471480276.html>.