A: I'm not a psychologist or doctor, of course, but from what you say, I suspect your husband is depressed because he no longer feels he has any reason for living. For many years, he felt useful, and his work gave significance and purpose to his life. But now his work days are over, and he apparently has nothing to take their place.
Unfortunately, many retired people experience this — particularly men, I've found. At first, all they can think about is not having to get up in the morning and do the same things they've been doing for years. After a few months, however, reality sets in and they feel bored and at loose ends. They may even think they've prepared for retirement by having a good financial plan, but they haven't thought through what they'll do with their time.
But listen: God isn't finished with us when we retire! Don't nag your husband; it may only make things worse. Do encourage him to seek God's will for the rest of his life, and to get involved in some worthwhile activities. For example, most community service organizations need volunteers, as do most churches. The Bible tells us to "Carry each other's burdens" (Galatians 6:2).
May you and your husband also use these retirement years as an opportunity to grow closer to Jesus Christ. If your church has a Bible study for men, for example, encourage your husband to get involved. The Bible says, "But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" (2 Peter 3:18).
Q: My husband and I just celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary, and we've been amazed at how many people have asked us how we did it. They say they can't imagine being married to the same person for that long. Is marriage on the way out? — Mrs. L.N.
A: Congratulations! God has blessed you by giving you to each other for so many years, and I pray the years ahead will be even happier than the ones you've already experienced. My wife, Ruth, and I were married for almost 64 years -- and we grew even more in love as the years went by.
I certainly hope marriage isn't on the way out in our society (although sometimes I wonder), because God gave marriage to us, and He meant for it to be a source of joy and stability and strength. And it will be, when a husband and wife put God first in their lives and make Him the foundation of their marriage. God has given us His pattern for marriage in His Word: "A man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife. ... So they are no longer two, but one" (Mark 10:7-8).
A good marriage isn't a question of physical attraction or compatible personalities. These have their place, but most of all a good marriage is based on commitment — commitment to each other, and commitment to God. Emotions come and go; physical attraction fades; differences can flare into anger and conflict.
But when we know Christ, we know that true love involves a commitment to do what is best for the other person. It's an act of the will — and a gift from God. Thank God every day for His grace in your lives — and for hope that extends beyond the grave.
Send your queries to “My Answer,” c/o Billy Graham, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, N.C., 28201; call 1-(877) 2-GRAHAM, or visit www.billygraham.org.