KEEPING THAT SPARK ALIVE
It's so easy to take your relationship for granted when you've been married forever. I know I was guilty of this and nearly lost it all in the process. You live in the same house, you see each other every day but you need to wake up and make midlife a time where you find the spark and the connection again. Once those kids are out the door and the distractions are gone, you need to make your relationship a priority.
I think one of the big wake up calls for us was when we hit our 30th wedding anniversary and I made the off the cuff comment that we were barely half way there. I think we had both felt like we had been married for so long and were on the downhill glide to old age, but my husband went into shock at the thought that we were nowhere near the finish line (not a great reflection on our happily ever after marriage!) But when you do the math, many of us married in our twenties and will (hopefully) live into our nineties. That's SEVENTY potential years of togetherness - so he was right in freaking out a bit about thirty not even being the halfway mark.
CRESTING THE HILL
It was definitely time to shape up or ship out for us. Shipping out looked like the way things were going for a while, but once we made a few changes and started appreciating each other again we realized that what we have is pretty darn good. To be with someone who has seen you for better and worse, sickness and health, richer and poorer is a pretty big deal. We've scraped things together financially, put up with each other's various ailments, listened to each other complain about things, supported each other through job losses and other bum deals life has dealt us.
In some ways we are on the downhill slope - or maybe we're cresting the hill in our marriage and it's time to slow down and enjoy the view. It's nice to think some of the hard slog is behind us and all that toiling and trudging through the hard times means that we are coming out on top and we can appreciate that the climb was worth it.
|Loving is Ageless ~ Zen To Zany|
I don't know about other midlifers, but most of the time I feel a lot more like I'm thirty than fifty. I don't feel old or past my used by date, I feel free and on the ball - really happy with where I'm at. Being able to share that with someone you love is a really special experience. I'm so relieved we made it through all those tough times and the doubt, and came out the other end of the tunnel.
I'm looking at the years ahead as a good thing and not a "til death us do part" life sentence. Why would you want to hang around with someone for another thirty plus years if you didn't like them and enjoy their company? I think the main challenge for us in the years ahead will be to stay interesting and interested in each other. We need to keep developing and finding new things and sharing our thoughts and experiences with each other.
FINDING THE BALANCE
My husband and I are chalk and cheese. I was asked to fill in a 'getting to know you' form for church about what we liked doing. I ended up filling out a His and Hers version - His was all about adventure (surfing, hiking, canoeing, rock climbing) and mine was all about less exciting stuff (reading, blogging, coffeeing, talking). That being said, we have things we enjoy doing together and we'll step out of our comfort zones to make the other person happy - and in doing so, we sometimes find things we like that we'd have missed out on otherwise.
We're planning a holiday in a few months - the compromise is to find somewhere that has things we both enjoy and we'll each choose a few outings we'd like to do and alternate between them - it's a win/win situation because neither of us will disregard the other and pick stuff the other would hate, but we'll have a great balance of doing things together and making memories.
When it comes down to it in the end, making memories and being happy together is what midlife love revolves around. That can look different for everyone, but if it works then there's still another thirty years of fun to go. Who wouldn't want the opportunity to enjoy the next thirty years with someone they love and know so well?