As I trimmed my husband’s hair this week, I noticed a few grays peeking through his thick, brown locks. For some reason, it caught me by surprise. I still feel like we’re barely more than kids ourselves most days.

I snuck a quick glance at my own face in the mirror and noticed the fine lines making a home around my eyes. For a brief second, I felt panicky. I’ll never look like a 20-year-old again. Those lines will only get deeper and wider from here. And let’s not even talk about the skin on my stomach after birthing two kids. 

Even with how far women’s rights have progressed over the past century, I’ve rarely met a woman who still doesn’t want to feel beautiful even though we know that’s not what makes us truly valuable.

RELATED: What Mid-Life Crisis? Turning 40 is Everything.

As I focused back in on those silvery grays in front of me, I finally let the swirl of thoughts in my head come tumbling out.

“I can’t believe we’re turning 39 this year,” I said to my husband, laced with a hint of sadness, “We’re almost 40!”

“Good,” he declared resolutely, “I’m accomplishing my goal.”

Taken aback by his confident response, I had to ask, “What goal?”

“Growing old together with you,” he smiled.

In that moment, I remembered the vow we had made to each other . . . for as long as we both shall live.

I thought through all the ups and downs these past 17 years of being together had brought for us: two states, four different houses, two times we moved in with parents for a season, two babies here on earth, and one waiting for us in Heaven, saying our final goodbyes to both of my husband’s parents in the same year, helping my mom through a stroke and my dad through heart surgery, pursuing three separate degrees, 13 years of being in ministry, and then taking the crazy leap into starting our own businesses. 

We’ve been to six countries together and many more states, shared countless hours in the car, laughed through every episode of The Office, and enjoyed thousands of cups of coffee together, one of our most cherished pastimes. 

We’ve walked with each other through depression, anxiety, grief and loss, health issues, and facing our biggest fears.

We’ve laughed together and cried together more times than I can count, and sometimes we communicate so deeply that no words are needed. 

Through it all, we’ve stayed committed to each other and even managed to stay in love although we’ve had to work really hard to keep that spark alive sometimes.

I realized at that moment I had let my desire to be young distract me from the most beautiful thing in my life. 

RELATED: Can I Let You in On a Secret? This is Real Love.

It’s not the smoothness of my face or the tightness of my abs that makes my life beautiful, it’s this incredible love that gets stronger and deeper each time my husband and I push through something challenging together. 

It’s knowing we’re on the same team, through thick and thin. 

It’s our choice to support each other’s biggest dreams and protect each other’s biggest vulnerabilities, no matter what other people say or do.

And then I started to feel excited. I smiled at my reflection in the mirror, wrinkles and all, standing there in my yoga pants and messy bun. It’s easy to idealize youth and young love, but let me tell you something—there is nothing more beautiful than a love that has grown and matured over decades. 

So even though life can feel like a swirl of chaos, getting faster by the day, remember that getting older isn’t as scary as it seems. The ultimate goal isn’t to stay young. You are going for something so much better and richeryou are building a beautiful life. So congrats on accomplishing your goal.

Beth Hoff

Beth Hoff is a wife, mom of 2 adorable kids, coffee lover, and the founder of www.favoritefamilies.com and the podcast Family Culture with Beth Hoff. She has a masters in clinical counseling and spent 10 years working as the Director of Marriage & Family at a church in Cleveland, OH. She has a huge passion to provide simple strategies to help build strong marriages and families because she believes that everyone, whether you grew up in a “healthy” family environment or not, can create a family culture they love.