According to NPR, “boomers are facing a divorce revolution”. Those over 50 years of age have seen divorce rates double in recent years–people are living longer, the kids leave the nest, and more women are financially independent. And, the re-marriages of divorcees find a 60% failure rate. It is easy to get discouraged by these trends, but alternatively you can take control, shift your thinking, and make your partner a priority. The 40s and 50s are difficult years for most people, but the 60s and beyond are reported to be the happiest time for many adults. Consider the following to keep the love alive and strong:
- Focus on the friendship. When you have kids at home you are busy with their life, but when they leave it’s time to reinvest in each other again. Who is this person you share a life with? Do they still like the same things? Hang out together and be friends.
- Crank up the romance: A small gesture like making your spouse breakfast in bed or dinner at night, planning little surprises and giving small gifts every so often lets your partner know how much you still care. Always be the first one to tell them they look handsome, gorgeous or sexy.
- What or who do you want to be in your second half of life? When you were small your parents used to ask you what you wanted to be when you grew up. Now you get a chance to ask each other, what is it you want to accomplish or do as a couple in the next stage of life?
- Intimacy is not sex, but is vital to baby boomer marriages. Lack of intimacy is the number one killer of baby boomer marriages. Couples who grow apart, no longer touching or talking cannot make it in marriage. Sex is part of that, but only part. The other part is talking together, sharing meals, cuddling on the couch, slow dancing on a date night, and making sure before you close your eyes that the person lying next to you understands you are everything to them.
- Keep things exciting between the sheets. Use a lubricant during intimacy to enhance pleasure for both partners. During foreplay or right before intercourse, using a lubricant can be intimate and sensual. A silicone lubricant like Wet Platinum or Replens Silky Smooth aren’t sticky like water-based lubricants and can be used in the bath, shower, or spa or for full body massages and skin conditioning.
- Establish new rituals together. Sunday morning bike rides for coffee and doughnuts, or Saturday night movie night. It doesn’t matter what you do, but it is important that you do it and protect it from others rescheduling your schedule.
- Keep family and friends close. On every happiness scale you will see the importance of relationships listed. Your marriage in the second half thrives on those close to you as well. Have a fun, casual “get together” once a month with family to celebrate one another. You feel more connected and loved when you share your life with friends and family.
- Maintain a good attitude. Getting older isn’t easy because it also means giving up control of many things you took for granted. A good attitude is linked with happiness at every stage of life. Keep a gratitude journal, making a list of things that make you happy, things you have control over as well as things you want to learn to make you happy.
Everyone wants to know the older couple who still holds hands, slow dances and takes long walks together at night. Be that couple. Do it for your kids, your friends, and most importantly for yourselves. Life has surprises at each stage. Stay curious, stay hopeful, and be grateful you get to experience it all with your partner by your side.