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Many longtime couples have read about the high incidences of silver divorces, and if you’re worrying if your marriage is vulnerable, too, you’re not alone. Perhaps your marriage bed fizzled after 60. Or maybe you’ve both entered retirement, and that has changed the dynamics of your marriage as well.
Whatever the case may be, if you’re looking for some guidance in protecting yourselves from senior divorce, you’re in the right place. Read on to learn about my top tips.
If you have kids and they’re finally out of the house, you now have the time and space to set aside a couple’s quiet time every day. If you don’t have children but have been busy with work or other responsibilities, strive to make time for each other on a daily basis.
Ask your spouse how they’re feeling about the children being gone, or about work, retirement, the state of the world, or anything that is relevant in their lives. Then tell them how you feel about these topics. The point is to check in with each other.
I suggest reading “The 5 Love Languages” together as a couple to discover each other’s primary and secondary love languages. Create a quiet time together outside of streaming Netflix and Hulu.
Don’t just rapidly read through the book and take a love language quiz online, though. You want to take your time, and then have a deep discussion about what the results mean.
Ask inquisitive questions so your spouse shares stories of why and how that love language is so meaningful. Then, when showing love to your beloved spouse, do so in a way which savors the love.
For example, if your spouse’s primary love language is words of affirmation, you’d want to slow down and utter your affirming and appreciative words in a manner where your partner truly hears and feels your love.
Don’t just toss words around in a cavalier or perfunctory way. Give words as a token of your love so your precious gift is fully received.
Of the various challenges facing senior couples, sex and intimacy rank high. The challenge after 50 is that you are typically each going through various physical changes, which makes sex no longer instantly spontaneous, hot, and sizzling.
She may have a terrific libido, but he may be facing erectile dysfunction. Or maybe he’s feeling like he’s 30 years old again, but she’s experiencing menopause.
Whatever the challenges in the pace of your marriage bed, know that it’s normal that intimacy changes after 50. However, those changes need not become permanent. They just need to be addressed, my friend.
How you two approach intimacy and the marriage bed invariably will change. Think of sex after 50 as enjoying a marvelous sensual buffet table. You can select from different options today and something else tomorrow. It is unlikely to be the same sensuous meal it was in your 20s, but it can be oh so delicious to change up the fare!
Flirting during the day in advance of relations can be fun. If talking about what you each want in bed now is a little awkward, watch the 2012 movie “Hope Springs” together, and use it as a conversation catalyst. The romantic comedy-drama starring Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones is about a couple who love each other, but after many years together seek to spice things up in the bedroom. Ask questions like “How do you feel about that particular scene?” or “We haven’t tried that move. How about we play around with that this weekend?”
Flirting hours or days in advance of activities increases your foreplay and can build and extend your anticipation and your enjoyment of each other.
One of the greatest ways a couple can reconnect is by going on a special date. Maybe you can recreate your first date, or go to that restaurant you’ve always talked about but never been to.
I always recommend to my coaching clients that they get a couples massage. It’s simply so delectable!
You could enjoy your massage at a nice spa together, or you can take a class online to learn how to give each other massages at home.
Whatever you do, try to truly enjoy the experience. Look at each other and gaze into each other’s eyes. Smooch, nuzzle, and canoodle. Light candles. Amp up the intimacy!
Navigating the challenges of life so you can discover a course for long-term happiness together just might benefit from some professional support.
Seek the aid of a professional therapist or relationship coach. Or you could even turn to a pastor, priest, rabbi, or other religious or spiritual counselor. Getting an outside opinion can give you two new perspectives.
Lisa Finck, a relationship specialist at Couples Coach Pro, recommends incorporating these habits into your life if you want to rebuild and revitalize your marriage:
All of these skills may not yet be in your lexicon. Just like with any new skill, you’ll want to practice.
Relationships in our 50s are different than they were in our 20s. Embrace the changes. Thank God we get to slow down, but that doesn’t mean you give up on being a partner to your significant other.
Be open to inevitable changes in moods and desires — yours and your partner’s — and sincerely commit to supporting each other. Living a full and happy relationship boils down to continuing to learn about your partner and yourself — and embracing that growth.
For that to happen, you both must work toward creating emotional safety: trusting that you are there for each other. That means really hearing and seeing each other, accepting each other as you are, and trusting that you want the best for each other.
Most couples get into a rut, and, let to its own devices, it can become a downward spiral that causes couples to turn on each other.
To break out of that, make sure to regularly weave in new experiences, events, and adventures into your monthly or quarterly calendar.
When was the last time you two took a road trip? What about trying a new cuisine? Or taking dance lessons? Or taking up a different workout? Sometimes this means supporting each other’s independence when you try something new alone. Yes, you are a couple, but you are also individuals with your own needs and interests.
Introducing new activities into your life will be reinvigorating not just for your relationship but for yourself as well.
So often when the kids are living at home, much of a couple’s social circle consists of fellow parents, teachers, sports coaches, and the like. It all revolves around the kids.
However, after the kids are all packed up for college and out of the nest, you may not have quite so much in common with these folks anymore. Humans are social creatures. We all need friends to relate to. Get out and get active in your senior community to build new friendships. Your marriage will benefit.
You may be feeling overwhelmed with the work it takes to keep a relationship vibrant and fun. Don’t worry! You can start off by tackling one area of your relationship each week or even each month. Then you can go from there as needed.
Once the two of you revitalize your relationship and bring in new couples skills, you increase your likelihood of staying away from divorce court. Instead, you’ll be heading down a new path of mature love for many years of fulfillment ahead!