I’ve wondered what our relationship would have been like if Jon and I met each other when we were younger. It has in the past made me sad to think of the things we might have done together.
But this morning as we lay in bed together, and I wished Jon a happy birthday, I was also thinking about what it meant to us, to our relationship that he had turned seventy-four.
The first thing that came to mind was not how age debilitates the body or that our time together would not be as long as would wish for, but how I feel lucky to be with Jon at this point in his life. Although he is far from being a squish, he is in some ways growing softer. He’s even more thoughtful, understanding, and accepting with each year.
While many people would look forward to retiring at his age, Jon continues to be fiercely driven by his work. This is good for our relationship since I am the same. Because our work, though separate and very much our own, is woven around our lives together and each other.
When I read what Jon wrote about our morning together, about the flowers I brought him from the garden, how I read to him from Song of Songs, the egg sandwich I made him, and our plans for the day, I cried. I didn’t have a present for him to open, but he so understood the meaning of the little things that I did to try to make the day special.
I’ve heard stories about Jon when he was young and I honestly don’t know if we would have been good together back then. But I do know how good we are together now.
Jon is 17 years older than me. I know he sometimes worries that I’ll get tired of being with him as he grows older and his body can do less. And sometimes I can feel myself getting irritated by the things he has a harder time doing. Things that I don’t give a second thought to.
But that’s where love and communication come in.
That loves keeps me on my toes, always reminding me what’s really important. And it helps that we are good at talking about the things that we need to. If not right away, eventually.
I also know that the more we both experience our love, the more we trust it.
Sometimes I think it might be easier for Jon to be with someone closer to his own age who understands through their own experience what it feels like to be in their 70’s. But then he tells me I help keep him young.
As I witness Jon’s body slowing down, I also see his heart and mind growing and opening with every year that passes.
I’m fortunate to be with a man who continues to evolve. Who thinks about what it means to grow older and works to make it meaningful. I get to see how he does it and use what he has learned to think about how I want to grow old.
So this morning I was appreciating that Jon and I get to spend these particular years together. These years when it seems to me he is at his best in ways that are important and good for both of us and our relationship.
Lucky me, I think, to be married to Jon as he turns 74 years old.