The Autumn Years Of Marriage

A long marriage relationship doesn’t make or break one’s character; it merely exposes it. Those years constituting middle age and beyond are particularly revealing. That’s when the kids are in college or living on their own. The schedule no longer revolves around their school or sports’ activities. Then you’re forced to focus on the marriage a bit more and evaluate the status of the marriage, since it’s the primary relationship you have left.

Those years bring signs of aging, causing alarm to the extent a person has relied on looks or physical prowess for a sense of significance. It’s during this phase of life that a marriage either deteriorates or grows stronger, depending on the foundation laid in earlier years and the values that control the man and wife. Hopefully, marriage between Christians will echo the qualitative relationship reflected in Proverbs 31:10-11: “An excellent wife, who can find? For her worth is far above jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain.”

To be sure, failure of the relationship is not inevitable, depending on whether the marriage is analogous to an oak tree or to a cedar. The oak’s leaves turn brown and fall to the ground in the autumn, but the cedar sprouts green shoots year round. This poem expands the tree analogy a bit further.

​Lush leaves, a tree’s jade dress,
dance with the winds’ caress.
Then with Fall, a change in color:
First, leaves appear much duller.
Then gold bleeds from the stem,
draining leaves of all their vim.
Next, a stiff breeze overwhelms.
See them severed from their limbs.
We scrunch them beneath our toes.
Brown. Brittle. They decompose.
Verdant love pulsates with life
between a man and his wife.
Then the autumn years arrive.
Will the warmth of love survive?
Will the glow of vows grow dim
when wrinkles show and they’re not slim?
Will dull routine and things mundane
erode the green and leave just stain?
Will the harsher winds sever
what’s supposed to last forever?
Like leaves, will love take flight?
Make the earth its burial site?
No! True love has its reasons
To thrive in changing seasons.
Not maple, oak, or Bradford pear:
True love is what cedars wear.

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