When do I get to stop maturing?

It may not surprise you that during the last two or three months Mary Kay and I experienced a lot of stress, and therefore we have had to work on our communication as well as our consideration of each other.  Any season of stress can strain a relationship, especially in the weaker areas of that relationship.  But the odd part of this for me is that I thought as I aged I would have fewer areas in which to grow. But it feels like the opposite is true.

Just as we all have different strengths and corresponding weaknesses personally, so do our relationships.  I would suppose that the strengths and weaknesses in my marriage with Mary Kay are different from other couples.  As unique as individuals are, so unique are marriages. This is why I struggle with a lot of marriage help books; they assume marriages should all be the same, but this is a discussion for another day.

This last season has taught me so much about how to communicate with Mary Kay.  For most of our marriage, I had an explanation for myself when I was challenged by her. For sure, some of this resulted in me being a logical engineering type person.  However, as she continued to point this out, eventually, I had to wrestle with the “why?” of this behavior.  Why did I feel like I always had a reason for my actions?  I began to realize that I wanted her and others to think I knew what I was doing.  During this season, I have begun to acknowledge this. I have tried not to be defensive or have an excuse or a reason for everything I do.  As I have become more and more comfortable not always having a reasonable explanation we seem to communicate better. 

Sometimes we just see things differently and I don’t have to convince her (or others) that I am right.  It is okay if they think I am wrong or even stupid.  But here is the ironic part: as I have aged, I have had to be more aware of how I communicate and become more conscious of my behavior. Doesn’t that seem odd?  Earlier in life, I would have thought that as I aged, grew, and matured, life would become easier to just be me and not be so reflective.  Yet, as I age, I need to be more aware of my actions, reactions, and other’s perceptions.  It isn’t that I obsess, but rather, I see more areas where I need to grow and mature.  It seems like I behave more poorly now than 50 years ago!  I know this isn’t true but it sure feels like it.

I think this is partially because when I was younger, I acted spontaneously and didn’t think much of the origin of those thoughts, feelings, or behaviors. I didn’t focus on others’ perceptions of me either.  I wasn’t completely oblivious, but today, I am more keenly aware of how my thoughts, feelings, and behaviors negatively or positively impact me and others. 

It seems like this trend is going to continue till I die.  It is unfortunate that some older people don’t increase self or others awareness as they age.  Possibly, that is why they are difficult to be around.  They are simply who they want to be and they neither reflect on the origins of their feelings nor the impact of them on those around them.  I have learned as we age we can impact others more through our wisdom and grace than by our personality, so it is essential we communicate and behave in a way that can positively impact others.

Let me suggest this is why Paul tells Timothy, the pastor of Ephesus, “Do not rebuke an older man harshly but exhort him as if he were your father.” (1 Timothy 5.1).  Paul reminds Timothy to give grace and respect (as he would to his father) to older people who may not always act like they need it. It seems that growth is part of our journey for our entire lives, and hopefully, we never stop till we meet our Lord. And if CS Lewis and Dallas Willard are right, even then, it continues. 






2 responses to “When do I get to stop maturing?”

  1. Scott Evans Avatar
    Scott Evans

    Greg , I think we have the same issues with our spouses ! I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for saying out loud what I know is in my heart . I’m learning after forty five years of marriage that my communication and affection needs to mature. Thank you for your courage and your wisdom. You’re a very special kind of friend !

  2. Rob Maupin Avatar
    Rob Maupin


    I appreciate you so much. Thank you for writing this. I always feel encouraged and challenged. That is a rare ability in my opinion and experience. Blessings my friend!

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