Barnaby Gaitlin, The main character in Anne Tyler’s A Patchwork Planet lamented his own failings while noticing the power of hanging on:
“I knew couples who’d been married almost forever – forty, fifty, sixty years. Seventy-two, in one case. They’d be tending each other’s illnesses, filling in each other’s faulty memories, dealing with the money troubles or the daughter’s suicide, or the grandson’s drug addiction. And I was beginning to suspect that it made no difference whether they’d married the right person. Finally, you’re just with who you’re with. You’ve signed on with her, put in a half century with her, grown to know her as well as you know yourself or even better, and she’s become the right person. Or the only person, might be more to the point. I wish someone had told me that earlier. I’d have hung on then; I swear I would.”
Couples who are starting out, and facing that first seven years of adjustment and family formation, need to hear from Teams of Two who have “put in a half century” and teamed up with who they were with. Many husbands and wives spend so much of their emotional energy over the years mourning about failing to marry the right person.
Of course, as you date, picking a partner for your life, you should consider Christ-like character, wisdom, stability, kindness, and compatibility. Every young person should make a list of the qualities he or she wants in a mate and refuse to compromise in the choice.
Even when we have chosen carefully, however, most of us face those days of doubt in our marriage relationships – and too many give up in those days. Don’t give up. Husbands, love the wife you are with. Wives, respect the husband you are with. Care for each other. Pursue the dream together. Fight the battles as one. Run the race as a team. Become the right person for your spouse and watch your spouse become the right person for you.