Married 34 years, and dated for six years before we got married. We’re 56, so we’ve been together most of our lives.
I agree with robwar about the children and teenagers. If you think about it, if it’s really true that the hardest years are “while the children are young” and “while the children are teenagers,” and you have several children–you will have a hard time for much of your marriage! Yucko! That’s no way to live!
So even though I wouldn’t call it “baloney,” as robwar did, I agree that these aren’t necessarily the hardest years.
We loved all the years that our children were at home with us, and we love it now that they are on their own. We really loved the teenage years. That’s when much of the good parenting that we did while our girls were young paid off hugely! And yes, I know that this sounds like bragging–guilty as charged! We did a durn fine job of bringing up our daughters! A lot of decisions that we made about child-rearing before the girls were even conceived turned out to be GOOD decisions that made our years with our children very happy years.
Yes, I am aware, and so should you be, that sometimes, even if you do a durn good job with your young children, your teenagers STILL rebel and turn your family upside down and inside out. It’s not your fault. It just happens. Don’t ever blame yourself for your teenagers’ sins.
(In case anyone is wondering, we decided to use Dr. James Dobson’s child rearing principles, and they worked just the way he said they would work, and we loved using his techniques, and loved the results, and both our daughters say that they will use the same techniques on any children of their own.)
While they were teens, our girls were involved in all kinds of interesting and fun activities, including music, theater, and of course, figure skating. The teen years were the years of being part of an internationally-ranked elite synchronized skating team in the nearby Big City, which meant a 65-mile (one way) commute into the Big City several times a week. This made life very busy, but also lots of fun.
My mother (RIP) used to say that our girls lived more life in their first 16 years than most people live in a lifetime.
Those years were also the years that both sets of grandparents were not only alive, but fairly healthy (although my poor mother was invalid with arthritis). Also, the great grandparents were still alive, but they started dying while the girls were young teens–we were always so grateful that we made the decision to move back to Northern Illinois so that the girls would actually KNOW their great-grandparents.
And these were the years of boyfriends and proms and dates and dances, and we enjoyed all those lovely years! My younger daughter started dating a young man when she was just 14, and they stuck together all through their teen years and into their early 20s, and finally got married five years ago, and they’re still happy and in love. We knew way back then, when they were so young (and a lot of people were saying, “They have no business dating when they’re so young!”) that these two were a good match. We’re glad we didn’t try to break them up and make them wait to fall in love.
So don’t dread the teen years. They’re fun!
The hard years for us have been any of the years that my husband’s clinical depression rears its ugly head. But our vows were “in sickness and in health.” We just hunker down and do whatever is necessary to get through the hard times while waiting for a good counselling routine and med regimen (anti-depressants) to take effect and help him get back to “normal” again.
And I agree with the poster above who said that anytime money is tight, things get hard. Again, you just hunker down and work your way through it. That’s what ramen noodles are for, although someone needs to invent Ramen Noodles for the Elderly, which are low-salt, low-sugar (difficult because the pasta is all sugar!), low-calorie, and high fiber, high anti-oxidant, and high energy!
We recommend that all married couples expunge the word “divorce” from their vocabulary. It should become as unthinkable as murder. For us, divorce was never, ever, EVER an option, just as killing each other wasn’t an option. (I do realize that in the cases of the three As–abuse, addiction, and adultery–divorce is sometimes, tragically, the only option for a spouse who wishes to remain alive).
My husband and I are both dread our elderly years. We have lost both of my parents, and that makes us very sad and lost-feeling. We will probably lose my husband’s parents in the next 5-10 years, and that’s so sad to think about. We hate losing that whole generation of people who raised us. Neither of us wants to become old and feeble, although both of us are slowing down, stiff, and weary and that scares us. The idea of smelling funny, wearing Depends, using a walker, and saying, “Eh? Speak up, please!” scares us. And we don’t want to become hoarders with a house full of precious “junk” that we can’t bear to part with, but that puts us in danger of being crushed when it tumbles onto us. And of course, we don’t want to be diagnosed with some awful disease that will eventually kill us.
SO if any older couples have any words of encouragement to reassure us, we would greatly appreciate it!
I hope this is encouraging to married couples. Remember, marriage is a marathon, not a sprint. Run a wise race and pace yourselves.