No, this is no longer my age. I am officially in the next decade.
But it is a number that holds some significance. I was reminded of this yesterday, as I was thinking about marriage after reading Ann's post. It took me back to six or so years ago, when we moved to Georgia.
We began attending a local church, and I wanted to make some new friendships there. Trever and I went to a fellowship night with our Sunday school class, and we chatted and ate food and played games with the other married couples in our class. Many of them were newly married, and others had been married twenty years or more. We were somewhere in the middle, having been married six or seven years at that point.
We played the Newlywed Game.
All the women gathered in a separate room while their husbands were asked questions. They were asked things like, What is your wife's favorite color? Her favorite dessert? Lots of things like that.
Once we were brought back into the common room, we were asked the questions, and it was fun to see how the different couples answered. Most of them were wrong. To a wife who said her favorite color was yellow, her husband would hold up his card, where he had written down his guess- pink. She would crinkle her nose and say something like, "I hate pink!"
The couples whose answers matched would get all excited, feeling very accomplished.
Trever got all my answers right. He knows me very well. But one question, I answered wrong.
I was asked, "How many times in a day does your husband say he loves you?"
I was the last woman asked this question, and the other wives had answered, typically, once or twice a day. I was thinking I was being very generous, because after all, my husband definitely said it more than twice a day. I answered it was more like seven or eight times a day.
My husband's face fell. Then he looked confused, almost hurt. Incredulous, he showed his card with his written answer.
"What?" I thought. It seemed a huge number in that moment.
In his explanation, he started pointing out all the times in a day he repeats his love-words, verbal affection... When the alarm goes off in the morning, it is the first thing that he says, when he leaves for work, when he calls me on the phone, when he comes home at lunch, when we snuggle in bed together, watching a show... on and on the list increased, and I began to realize, yes, he does say it that often.
The other women looked at us wide eyed. "He's right," I said. "He does say it that much." And I began then to realize both how wonderful that was and also how often I took it for granted.
One of the things this silly game has taught me, all these years later, is to notice, to be grateful, to bloom under the shower of constant love. Not to take it for granted. To revel in the everyday beauty that makes up US. And for every time he whispers his words of love, to match him. To love him back.
Winning the Newlywed Game was not the real accomplishment. Winning each other's I love yous, counting them up day after day, noticing, really being there... that is the real accomplishment.