Tuesday, January 26, 2016

January 26 is National Spouses Day

Spouses Change a Lot in Fifty Years

January 26 is National Spouses Day. It is a day for spouses to appreciate each other. After over fifty years of marriage, I appreciate my husband more as each year passes and we can still enjoy each other's company. We've both changed a lot physically and mentally since this photo was taken on our wedding day. Some of our joints have worn out and been replaced and we've both put on more pounds. Those are the things one would notice just looking at us.

January 26 is National Spouses Day
Our Wedding Day, used by permission of Robert Wantz

When we got married, we had some big cultural differences we had to get around. I was born and raised in California.  My husband was born in Serbia with some very definite cultural ideas about what was man's work and what was woman's work. These were reinforced by his mother, who would not have dreamed of letting a man get up from the table to get something from the kitchen if there was a woman there who could get it for him. That has changed. We help each other out.  Whoever is out and about picks up what we need at a store or runs the errand that needs to be done. That used to be all my department.

January 26 is National Spouses Day
Hubby shopping, © B. Radisavljevic

More and more frequently we take turns driving each other to the emergency room, medical appointments after surgeries, and helping each other when one is not so mobile.  We are learning to care for each other when medical issues make us less independent for a time. Whichever of us is most able does what needs to be done at any given time. We even need to remind each other of important things we need to do so that doctor appointments, etc., aren't forgotten. Yes, they are on the calendar, but sometimes we still forget.

January 26 is National Spouses Day
Hubby at Twin Cities Emergency Room, © B. Radisavljevic

Internal Changes that Affected Our Relationship

What one can't see just by looking are the internal changes. We have done a lot of growing up. Adopting our children accelerated this process. My husband was a good father and loved to play with the children, as you can see in this photo.

January 26 is National Spouses Day
Hubby Playing with our Kids,  © B. Radisavljevic

Later, when my son died in an accident at the age of fourteen, we had to support each other through our grief. This is my husband sharing his thoughts at our son's memorial service.

January 26 is National Spouses Day
Hubby Speaking at our Son's Memorial Service,  © B. Radisavljevic

Gifts for Celebrating Marriage

What We Can Do Together Has Changed

Because of the physical changes in our bodies, we can no longer do some of our favorite things together. One of these activities is hiking. It's hard to do when Hubby can't walk very far or for very long anymore. Sometimes I can't either. Sometimes we will go to a beautiful place where he can sit, while I  walk. Often these are just rest stops while we travel on business. These photos were taken in Santa Barbara County on a day we had to go to Ventura.

January 26 is National Spouses Day
Hubby at Summerland © B. Radisavljevic

January 26 is National Spouses Day
Hubby at Lake Cachuma, © B. Radisavljevic

We used to enjoy traveling,  but now that's hard, too. We do still both enjoy conversation and spending an afternoon or evening reading our books and just being together. That being together, after all, is what it's all about to have a spouse. 

As you live together, you grow together and year after year the relationship deepens if you can keep forgiving as hurts and misunderstandings happen. They can't help but happen when two selfish people try to live together. They happen much less as spouses adjust to each other's strengths and weaknesses and learn to appreciate them. If spouses give up on each other too soon they may discover too late that everything wrong was not the fault of the spouse.

Marriage is for better and for worse, through sickness and health, through prosperity and poverty. If spouses help and support each other through each of these, forgiving if necessary instead of turning on each other to blame and accuse, they will grow into mature people who can take on what life throws at them together. At the end of the road of life, they will realize they were each other's greatest treasure. 

January 26 is National Spouses Day

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