This week marks 13 years since my first “not-so-date” with my wife.
I affectionately stole the title of this article from a chapter in the book “Younger Next Year”.
I read that book shortly after I opened RevFit and it’s arguably been my most referred book to clients, especially men, who the original book was primarily written for.
While the book was written for men who are nearing retirement as a way to get them to focus on their physical bodies, nutrition, finances and relationships, this particular chapter was one that stuck with me.
At the time that I read it, I would have been in my early 30s, with one dissolved marriage behind me and dating the woman who is now my wife (Marissa).
A concept in that chapter is that we (as men) might wake up one day in that phase around retirement and look at our wives and notice that, they’re not as young as they used to be…conveniently forgetting, that neither are we.
It was a plea to make sure that the relationship is sound and that, after the kids have grown up and moved on, that something of the marriage is left.
I could tell you that it was love at first sight and that would not be wrong. I saw pictures of Marissa all over her parent’s workplace long before I ever met her. There was plenty to be attracted to.
I could also tell you that once we started dating everything came together very quickly. That would also be true.
For those who don’t know, I “robbed the cradle.” Marissa is nine years younger than I am. I have no idea at what age I’ll retire or even if I could ever mentally do so. I’ve always joked that Marissa might strangle me if I didn’t have some kind of work to focus on.
Of course, the authors of the book highlight that it’s not just about aging bodies, what life is like in retirement, or how it feels to be empty-nesters. It’s about how strong the bond of marriage is at that stage of life that it can survive AND thrive.
I’ve had the chance to see my wife from countless perspectives in our time together: through happiness and anger, grief and joy, through illness and days of health.
What I wasn’t completely prepared for was how motherhood would change her.
Marissa, by comparison, has only ever known me as a father. Jackson was from my first marriage and he was just shy of his second birthday when Marissa and I started dating. She has been a constant fixture in his life ever since.
And, as anyone who has been in a similar position can attest to, it’s one thing to be a stepparent, it’s another thing altogether to bring a child of your own into the world.
I would love to tell you some fantastic fairy-tale about how our marriage became all sunshine and roses after Sebastian was born but that would be untrue.
We survived the most turbulent period of our relationship after Sebastian was born as well.
I believe that what we learned about one another from that period had all rights and potential to break us.
We chose to let it change us for the better and, as one might imagine, it took time for all of that to change course.
I look at my wife with a different set of eyes now.
Where we are now is something beyond my dreams or my comprehension. A lot has changed in 13 years.
I joke with my wife that she is more attractive to me now than she was thirteen years ago…and she was REALLY attractive to me then too.
Motherhood made her more beautiful (inside and out).
Making the commitment to stay together made our marriage not only better but significantly stronger.
Watching each passing year change between us in every possible way makes this life more valuable.
And I tell her those things more often than I used to.
Maybe it’s because the words and sentiments in that book stuck with me all these years.
In another 13 years, Sebastian will be on his way to college. I’ll be 60, Marissa will be 51.
We’ll have each other then and I hope to still have those words from the book in my mind.
I saw an incredible marriage between my own parents until my father passed away.
I’m watching something incredible happen in my own.
I look at my wife now and I often think to myself: My God, how on Earth did I get someone like you?
So, when I think about that chapter of the book: “How’s Your Wife?”
I think: She’s absolutely amazing.