Going Menopausal: Reflections of a 51 Year Old Woman On Her Family, Her Life And Her God
I sit on the lanai of the condo in Maui with the early pink morning sky overhead while the birds sound ancient and primal in their calling and the air is filled with the perfume of exotic flowers. I was menopausal about this trip to celebrate being married for thirty years. I didn’t want to go.
"We've been there before. Let’s do something different", I’d said.
With money always tight, this particular getaway is best due to a generous friend offering his condo. So my husband planned it.
When it came down to it, I couldn’t wait to go, and then I whined about it being only seven days. Why not LONGER? My rapid verbiage of complaining and disagreeing must have made his head spin.
And we arrive. It’s familiar, like an old pair of my favorite jeans fitting my body just right, wrapping me in comfort. We both meld into doing nothing together in the beauty of lush green jungle mountains and sapphire ocean and warmth.
It's healing here.
It's healing here.
Vacations are the best marriage counseling there is, for us, anyway.
My little Italian hairdresser friend says, “Vacation sex is the best!”
Well, that's part of it. Stress, fatigue, worries just seem to slough off our bodies as we have only each other to care for. There’s nothing, but my husband and I.
My prayer has been to fall in deep love again. Tall and lanky with thin brown hair, I can still see the boy he once was. My heart thumped in my chest the first time I saw his lean, tan, muscular legs in his soccer shorts. That was back in the early 1980s when guys actually wore shorts not these long baggy skirt looking things they wear now.
Thirty years and I pinch myself. How can it be thirty years? The devil has certainly tried to destroy us.
The condo sink is full of dishes and I don’t have to clean up. My man is actually reading a book. We both feel guilty. We shove it aside. The unjust guilt that follows us as first borns. There is no work to do here, an American cultural sin.
I want him to be my best friend. I want to be able to tell him anything and everything and have him understand. But it doesn’t work that way for us. My Summit Sister, Laura, says her husband is her best friend. I don't know if I can say that. But it’s erroneous to compare. There are marriage seminars and classes for couples teaching how to have a great marriage. It’s especially prevalent in the church. But like parenting, I’ve discovered there is no formula.
Both first born personalities, not forgetting my female pioneer DNA and let's throw in the M word... Menopause! Scary. Both of us are horribly stubborn. He, of course tells me he’s more stubborn than I am. I think he might be right. I’m a realist. He’s an optimist.
I’m sure we keep God laughing.
I’ve been taught to submit to my husband. And he is to love me like Christ loved the church, willing to lay down his life for me. I tried to "submit" for many years, or at least attempt what I thought was meant by the word "submit". Trying to look and act and talk like I thought I was supposed to, the model and picture the church presented, trying to be a godly woman. So, I spent much of my life trying to be what I thought I was supposed to be instead of being the person Jesus created me to be. I tried to make my marriage look as if it were godly and holy just as the books and seminars pictured instead of allowing it to be what Jesus had intended in the first place.
Marriage needs to be mutual submitting, one to the other. Shifting back and forth and together.
I am beginning to understand. I am growing into myself. My husband is standing back, watching and allowing me the grace I need. I’m grateful.
The Bible says woman was made from man’s rib to be his helper. Genesis says they walked along side each other with God in the cool of the evening. Adam and Eve together with God. They were made in God’s image. Together they display a picture of God with His feminine and male qualities. Both loved and charged with tending the earth together.
And Satan came to Eve and said, “Eat of this fruit and you will be like God.”
And she ate while Adam did and said nothing. When Eve offered it to him, he also ate. Crazy thing is, they ALREADY were “like God”, made in His likeness. We continue this corruption by striving, earning, pushing to be what we think God wants us to be.
We have forgotten.
As time has passed and I’ve learned how to listen I begin to see who I am. Together we are a marriage God created, unique, lovely, not without challenges and problems, but filled with godly hope.
Allow grace in, I remind myself.