Recently an older couple in my church, in their 70’s were married. They had become fond of each other and enjoyed the times that they spent together. Both had been single for several years and welcomed the companionship that marriage afforded them. This brought to mind a television show many years ago titled “December Bride”, a story of a couple in their golden years who got married.
In doing a brief reasearch, I was surprised to discover that the percentage of couples over 60 who are marrying is rapidly increasing. This could be attributed to the fact that people are living longer. Evidence of health and emotional benefits of a loving union have created new possibilities for marriage late in life. Although love and attraction entered into the equation, it was the need for companionship that sealed the desire to marry. One gentleman in his 90’s shared that his 70 year old bride built him up ,changed his life and gave him a purpose in life. He further stated that they had a wonderful reason to marry in that they were both lonely.
Spiritual: The Scriptures do state that it is not good for man to be alone and this is why God created Eve for Adam. She was to be his help meet as they served the Lord together. In Church ministries there are opportunities afforded married couples to serve that are not necessarily open to a single person. Granted, many opportunities are available for singles to serve but many of these can be enhanced by a married couple. The prayer life of a man and wife is compounded by the fact that the Lord states that where two or more are gathered together in my name, there I am also. A man and his wife can encourage each other in the Lord and enjoy immeasurable blessings that otherwise would not be attained as being single.
Older Christian couples seem to have more quality time to spend in prayer, reading scripture and going on visitation. Serving the Lord and making Jesus the center of your home must be the most important part of deciding to marry. Thus, we understand the imperative need to make certain that any marriage proposal be the will of God in life of both the man and the lady.
Health: Research has indicated that older unmarried folk seem to have more ailments than those who are married. They are at a greater risk for a shorter life span being at particularly at risk for cardiovascular disease. A lack of a consistent nutritional diet, depression and decrease in physical activity most likely act as a catalyst in bringing on heart disease. In addition, an emotional, mental and intimate relationship with a spouse can release stress which is a major contributing cause of chronic ailments at any age.
Emotional: Possibly the most detrimental aliment of an older single person is depression. Having worked in several long term facilities during my Nursing Career, it was one of the most prominent issues faced by the residents. Those who had regular visits from family members were as not as susceptible. So often many of these dear folk have almost forgotten how to smile. Laughter is a part of their distant past. Perhaps this is one reason older single people become so attached to their pets. These little critters provide companionship, love, and joy in the everyday life. In any case it does not take the place of a healthy relationship with a caring spouse/
Sharing joys and sorrows with another is conducive to emotional stability. A married couple can often experience a peace of mind that is often lacking in older single people. Having someone who daily shows by word or action that they care is so comforting. The mere presence of another human on a consistent basis instills a peace that is unmeasurable. Have you considered what the effect a wink from a husband has on his wife?
Mental: The Lord allowed me the blessing of taking care of a dear sweet friend who was stricken with Alzheimer’s. One of the most important interventions with this type of patient is to consistently stimulate their mind. Repetitive comments, rehearsing past accomplishments, and music are effective tools to implement in the care of folks with dementia. Consider that if these things can minimize the deterioration in mental awareness, how much more needful are they in the lives of all older folks. I recommend to all of my friends who are Senior Saints to do crossword puzzles, wordfinds and reading to keep the mind alert.
Within the confines of a marriage, the mind is continually being stimulated as each spouse contemplates how they can best meet the needs of each other. For him it is often little things like warming up the car for her, carrying in groceries, sharing a funny story or even a blessing from the Bible, that keep his mind active and sharp. For her there is the meal planning of his favorite foods, making sure his tie is straight, giving him a back rub before bed that help her mentation to remain within normal. I have learned that older married couples fare much better mentally than those who are alone in their ‘golden’ years. It has been documented that married people are more likely to have better mental health than the unmarried and for the Christian couple, studying and memorizing God’s word together is a great enhancement of mental stability.
Intimacy : Older folk are not immune to intimate sexual fantasies. Because of the sensitivity of the subject I prefer not to dwell upon the obvious nature of this subject except to say that people who marry in old age will find a way to do that which comes naturally. God blessed the marriage bed and he intended that man should enjoy it to the fullest. What is often missed within a physical relationship is the mere touching of the arm, or the gentle kiss on the cheek. Think for a moment of those touches that are enjoyed so much by a child, the cuddling, the snuggling, and the hugging…………these acts are needful by folk of all ages. The problem evolves when they are performed outside the protection of the marriage license. unlike children, adults are intimately stimulated by any form of physical touching. There is a verse in the Bible that states that it is better to marry than to burn. It is not wise to marry just for physical attraction, lust never leads to a good relationship.
Other factors may need to be taken into consideration that would have an affect on a “December” type marriage such as family, finances and future goals. Although unmarried people are generally worse off financially, this factor alone should not be a reason for getting married at any age.
The basic fundamental truth is that if the union of a man and a lady is the will of the Lord, all of these things will work out for the Glory of the Lord and the good of the couple.