It’s not “I love you,” “I do,” or “You’re the most wonderful woman in the world,” although it’s definitely nice to hear that. The most romantic words my husband ever said came when we were watching a late-night talk show. The host was teasing a newly-engaged celebrity that, “You know you’ll only ever get to sleep with one woman for THE REST OF YOUR LIFE.”
I’m sure you’ve heard this admonition, too. The implication is that being with one person for the rest of one’s life is something to dread. The audience laughed and the celebrity in the spotlight giggled awkwardly, but my husband turned to me and said, “You know, I don’t feel like I’ll be married to the same person for the rest of my life.”
I started to squirm. Maybe there was something he wasn’t telling me. Was he unhappy in our marriage? I started to question him indignantly, but he continued, “You’re not the same person I married nine years ago, and I imagine you’ll continue changing little by little and year after year.”
“Is that a good thing?” I asked.
“Of course it’s good!” he said. “It’s never boring with you. You’re always learning new things, facing new challenges, and growing as a person.”
I teared up a bit hearing those romantic words, because I feel the same way about him. It’s easy enough commit to loving someone when you’re both very young and gazing toward a future that is perfect and full of endless possibilities. It’s quite another thing to hear that the man you’ve committed your life to, and with whom you’ve built a family and faced many obstacles, say he is looking forward to loving you for the rest of his life.
This spring will mark 15 years of knowing one another, and this summer we will celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary. When we renew our vows in July, we won’t be the same people who promised to love one another “‘til death do us part,” but we will make a commitment to love each other, whoever we become.