Proverbs 5 advises a man to “rejoice in the wife of your youth.” As I age, I find that those words penetrate deep into my soul.
I married at the age of 24. Much is made of the first year of marriage. People talk and act as though the first year is by far the sweetest, while the rest is a long slide downhill. I haven’t found that belief to be true.
The wife of my youth was exciting and often intoxicating when I was young. When we dated, I can remember that spending any time away from her was almost intolerable. Our time as a young married couple was wonderful. I loved meeting her at our apartment after work. We went out to eat and I stared at her happily as she recounted the events of her day. In the mornings, we would sit at our folding card table (the only kitchen table we had) which shook and spilled my sweet wife’s overfilled coffee each time she crossed her legs. We played endless rounds of double solitaire at that same table in the evenings.
Now, I am 42 years old. We have been married almost 18 years. The worldly narrative is that I would be climbing the walls, tired of the same old woman after nearly two decades. Weary of her quirks and her stories. Bored with her now familiar physical charms.
But I will tell you something. None of that is true. I am far from sick of the wife of my youth. After nearly 20 years together and two children, I still love to hear her talk about her day. Instead of a loss of things like novelty and excitement, I have mostly marked a process of addition. For example, I have been touched by her care for our children and the powerful drive she has to make their lives special. On another front, she has been with me through so many struggles and anxieties largely unknown to the world outside our home. She knows how I think and feel about more things in life than anyone else. When I look for a word to describe what she means to me, the one that comes most readily to mind is “irreplaceable.” She is irreplaceable in my life.
I wish the same for anyone who happens to read this short reflection. May God lead you to a spouse you can rejoice in as you age. And may he grant you the wisdom to work through the challenges so you can stack years like bricks in a strong house. We have been building for a long time together. I like this home we’ve constructed. I have no desire to switch it out for a fashionable apartment with a short lease somewhere else in town.