In a culture of separation, it is rare to meet couples who celebrate wedding anniversaries beyond, say, their 25th birthday.
Many people look nostalgically at older couples who love, respect and always care for each other. We find it moving, isn’t it cute ? and we wonder if their relationship is really great, or if these two people chose to settle for what they had?
I live an extraordinary long term relationship . My husband and I are now 70 years old and have been together for 32 years. Each day is new, with the prospect of joy and continuous discovery.
Our relationship has survived many events and circumstances that could easily derail it. We face whatever life sends us, supporting each other – sink or swim, we are in the same boat.
How did we manage to make it work?
What have we done – and what can others do now – to help lay the foundation for a relationship “until death do us part”?
1. Confidence. I know what motivates my day, and what motivates my day.
“The difference between emotionality and catharsis is generosity.”
I used to wonder if it was going to sound silly, if he would like it? Was he going to look back and say to himself: “What crazy have I married?” Now I trust my intuition and my experience – I know he is with me. I also trust his intuition and his experience, and he knows who I am to him.
Sometimes we start the day with a question: what can I do to make you happy? Whatever the answer, we are working hard to achieve it. For example, one of his pet peeves is my cluttered desk, so I spent part of the day taking care of it.
When he brings home something that I really like and don’t buy often (ginger cookies!), I am moved, comforted by his love, his gesture and the fact that he knows who I am. follow and remember what I am going through. I kiss him and I thank him (and I eat some cookies), then I leave a note on the wall near the coffee maker: “You are the most caring husband there is.” This word has been near the coffee maker for years. It has always been true. I try not to just say “I love you”, but what I like about him.
I kiss him and I thank him (and I eat some cookies), then I leave a note on the wall near the coffee maker: “You are the most caring husband there is.” This word has been near the coffee maker for years. It has always been true. I try not to just say “I love you”, but what I like about him.
Confidence promotes loyalty . I recognize that everything I say about him in public is true in the eyes of those who listen to me, because I said it. So what am I saying? How can I prove the truth about what we are for each other? First, I do not gossip.
Unless we have privately agreed that something about him, me or us can be made public, I don’t tell others. No complaints, no demeaning. Such words would shake our relationship in the eyes of the world and attack who we are in private.
If there is something that bothers me or annoys me or makes me doubt my love, we talk about it, I write it in private, or when I notice that my anger has been triggered, I sing a song on her. These feelings usually go away quickly or become less bothersome. And they never get personal.
Despite everything, it sometimes happens that he says something that does not look like him. I let him know, not to shame him, but to tell him how I feel, what my reaction is, and to suggest a possible solution.
What would be a better solution, what is the impact on me of what he said? Of course, my anger is mounting and wants me to make a lot of noise. But over the years, we have learned to express our feelings effectively, without starting a war of words or silence.
2. Contact. I appreciate and rejoice at his physical presence in my space.
“I learned that every day you have to reach out and touch someone. People love warm hugs or a pat on the back. ”
We are hug collectors. At home, I’m always ready to cuddle no matter what I do. When he comes into my office, I get out of my chair and I get a hug. If he’s coming to share something specific – news from a friend, or a funny, moving, or ridiculous Facebook post – I’ll take a minute to listen.
Then I let him know that I’m working on something. “Come back in an hour, I’ll take a break with you.” And I do it.
We make love in the kitchen, in the laundry room, wherever we are in the house. We live in a rural area, on 20 hectares of wood, so we are not afraid of voyeurs, no reason to avoid being naked, regardless of the room we are in.
One day I asked a therapist how long you could expect to have an active sex life as you get older . The answer: “As long as you want. It’s up to you.” So we did it. We don’t want to be deprived of sex, and we never will be.
Is it too personal? Too much detail? I do not think so, no. Too often we avoid topics we feel embarrassed to discuss with strangers. But I want couples, especially those in our age group, to know that the nature of any relationship can be created deliberately.
I hear my son now: “Mom! Please !” Well, let him be embarrassed. He is 48 years old, he will recover.
3. Think. Take the time to breathe, to build a space between us before saying or doing anything.
Leave spaces in your privacy, and let the winds of heaven dance between you. Love one another, but do not create a bond of love: Let it be rather a moving sea between the shores of your souls. ”
Nothing in my life is more important to me than my relationship with my husband. It is the foundation of my life, my successes, my joys, my fears, my sadness, my health. I cannot imagine life without him. With this thought in mind, what I say or do is related to building rather than tearing apart what we have together.
I have to think about how he understands what I say, how I understand what he says. Sometimes what is understood is not what was said or wanted, and misunderstandings are inevitable.
After so many years together, it’s tempting to complete each other’s sentences, assuming we know what to say next. But no ! We both changed in our way of thinking, our tastes and our aversions.
We acquire new talents, new information. We always have new things to learn from each other. So even if it’s tempting, we listen rather than assume.
With age, communication between us has changed due to our memory, vision and hearing difficulties. To compensate, we have developed mutual reminders. When I feel that he is talking to me and I do not understand what he is saying, I remind him where my ears are – they are not where he speaks.
I get closer to him so that I can see him, read his lips, let him know that I hear what he is saying rather than practicing selective listening from a distance. Too often, we assume that we have been heard when we have not.
We have all noticed that when we ask questions that have been answered recently, either the previous answer was not heard, or it was forgotten. Age-related disabilities do not define who we are to each other; we are changing our communication habits to accommodate them.
Confidence, touch and reflection: these three legs of the tripod strengthen our relationship. For over 30 years. By keeping what works, we intend to be together, in love, until death do us part.