You open your heart and listen.
A 76-year-old man sat down on the bike next to mine at the gym this morning. He struck up a conversation that started with "you're going too fast, you're making me look bad..." And we soon found ourselves keeping good company as our exercise time flew by. He flattered me sweetly when he asked if I was in highschool or college and when I told him I was 8 years out of college and married with 2 children he began to dole out some advice. Married for almost 55 years to his highschool sweetheart, I figured he had a thing or two worth listening to.
"I don't know what it is," he said "but still, after 54 years, there's nothing better than coming home to her... she's still the love of my life."
I didn't want to be so stereotypical and ask the obvious "how did you do it?" and fortunately he went there anyway...
"Some people ask me... what's your secret? How did you stay with just one woman for so many years? And I tell them... I pray. That's right, no matter how things were going in my marriage, all I had to do was pray that they would get better and they did. That right there is how you make it work."
He had the sweetest smile and I'm sure I did too as I stepped off my bike and thanked him for the conversation (which lasted a good 20 minutes and included so much more.)
"It was all my pleasure" he said with genuine sincerity. And I walked away looking upward and whispering a soft prayer of thanks.