When we are children, many of us look at older kids and think, “I can’t wait until I’m older.” We can’t wait to get to high school to enjoy that freedom. We finally get there and realize there is not as much freedom as we had anticipated, so… then we can’t wait to go to college! We arrive at college and realize that, while there is some freedom, there are negative consequences in taking advantage of that freedom. After college, we start our full-time jobs and often feel less freedom than we felt when as a child. Bills come, bosses make mandates, and all of those things we were going to do when we were older often are forgotten as we provide for our families and live our daily lives.
Time passes along and we age. One day, we’ll wake up to wrinkles, a few gray hairs, and we’ll begin to see the college boys or girls we used to flirt with as “babies.” It can be disturbing, and if we are not careful, we can desperately seek out things or activities that make us feel young and alive out of our discontentment. The concept known as the mid-life crisis is often the time when men, and sometimes women, choose to look for ways to hold onto their youth whether through leaving their family, an affair, dangerous activities, or major career changes. For many things in life, we recommend planning; in this case, we recommend planning to age.
What do I mean by “planning to age?” How can you plan something like that? What I mean is to expect that such feelings will come and doing something to prepare for them. Know that times are going to come when you will feel overwhelmed by the swiftness of time and you may be tempted to make dangerous changes to your life. Knowing that such a period may come and planning for these feelings can later ward off a crisis.
Additionally, celebrate aging! I know this is not typically preached in our culture, but the Bible celebrates age… and therefore, so should we. Age is regarded as something to be respected (Job 12:12; Proverbs 16:31). Virtuous women are not worried about aging, and even look forward to it (Proverbs 31:25). It can be difficult to keep that mindset in an American culture that is obsessed with youth, but thankfully we don’t have to conform to the image of the world because we belong to the Most High God who tells us to value age in His Word.
This topic of aging came to my mind over the last few days as I celebrated a recent birthday. It seems like it was just yesterday when I was a teenager babysitting other children. I can get overwhelmed at times about the current ages of the children I used to babysit – who are no longer children. Time seems to fly by, but the Holy Spirit has been continuing to remind me that God celebrates age. I can celebrate my age, thank God for giving me another year, and enjoy the process of growing older with my husband.
How does this apply to preparing for marriage? When you choose a spouse, make sure to select one that has qualities that will transcend age. Choose a man who makes you laugh yourself silly and has uncompromising character. Choose a woman who is gentle in spirit, listens to you earnestly, and supports you when you talk about your plans and dreams. Her perfect body will eventually sag and his strong jaw line will eventually be covered in wrinkles, but inward qualities and strong character often last a lifetime. As the end of this year draws to a close, it is good to reflect on how we want the end of our lives to look like. Keep in mind to marry someone with whom you would be delighted to share your fiftieth anniversary – at a good ripe old age.