Tag Archives: mature love

The Longer We’re Married, The Better It Gets

It’s been a while since I have read an article as positive about marraige as this one by Jeanine Earnhart at Huffington Post. The article is called “Grow old with me, the best is yet to be.” It began with Earnhart admiring an older married couple, picturing her own marriage at that stage. Earnhart makes her point by sharing her marital experience:

“The longer we’re married, the better it gets and I’d like to think that is a pattern that will continue. Whether you have been married a few years, 25 years or in the planning stages of your wedding, know that there is a future filled with rewards from the work you are putting into your relationship now. The “gold watch” or the “bonus” from years of marriage cannot be seen or worn or spent, but felt by an invisible connection between you and your partner.”

It’s great to hear such a positive sentiment about aging and about staying with the same person. Rather than being stifling, it’s nourishing and fulfilling.

“It is a good feeling to know that your partner will be with you through the best and the worst parts of your life. Here is a friend who is offering unconditional love, appreciating you for who you are and for who you have become. To be able to sit in a room with another person, not saying a word, and not feeling like you should be talking, yet knowing there is an invisible bond between you, is like the safety you feel when coming home.”

I know there are many single readers here, and it’s not my intent to say married life is a better choice for everyone. However, for those who choose married life, I think it’s great to share the positive experiences and comfort you experience.

Read the entire post, and then share with your partner what you think your future will look like together. Spend 10 minutes together and talk about what you imagine growing old together to be like.

Unfortunately, for an increasing number of older adults, marriage isn’t lasting to old age. This article from the U.K. states that a growing number of over 60s are seeking divorce. Divorce rates in England are up 4 percent in two years for this age group, but down for other age groups. “Experts claim that many older couples are drifting apart out of disillusionment in their marriages once their children have flown the nest.”

It’s a good reminder that we can’t expect a close, loving relationship to last for decades without investing time and energy to maintain it, and without keeping it a priority over our kids and our careers.

LINKS:
Read my post at About.com called 7 Lessons for a Stronger Marriage with lessons from my book. Thanks to Cathy Meyer for sharing.

Reminder to vote for your favorite marriage blog by clicking here. It takes just a few seconds. Many thanks!
 
Photo by Ambro courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net.
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Is Love a Decision or a Feeling?

As I’m enjoying a short break with my family, I’m reposting one of my most popular posts. It seems many people find my blog by Googling the question above. So, here’s my answer back from 2009.

What does the word “love” evoke in your mind? Is it your love affair with cheesecake or warm chocolate pudding? Or an image of you and your sweetie having an afternoon picnic? When you were a child, you probably loved your teddy bear or your parents. As you grow older, your understanding of love should grow and evolve, just like your understanding of everything else. Too often, we have a shallow understanding of love, concluding as long as two people make each other happy, that’s love.

Love has lots of definitions. The most common are 1) a deep feeling of affection or attachment, 2) sexual affection or 3) a strong liking or predilection for something.

I would suggest that none of these definitions encompasses what mature love involves. In my interviews with long-time married couples, their view of love is not the fly-by-night romantic view. You might be surprised to learn the romance and affection is still there even for older couples, but there is something much more, something that happened along the way to make the love richer and more permanent.

What these mature couples have developed is a view that love is an action—a decision—not a feeling. The fact that they have been married a long time doesn’t mean they didn’t face serious obstacles. What it means is that they found a way through the obstacles. They didn’t always feel loving toward one another, but they decided to love anyway. One couple who faced tremendous difficulties including a marital affair early in their marriage, talked about how this decision to love one another changed their perspective. They found that if they led with loving actions, their feelings soon followed. In other words, after they started acting lovingly, they felt more in love. They transformed their entire marriage more than 30 years ago to an extraordinarily loving one that continues today.

Anyone who has children knows that children don’t always act in ways that deserve love, but good parents decide to love them anyway. You can’t say you love your children while you neglect them. Similarly, you can’t say you love your spouse if you neglect him or her and refuse to act in a loving manner when your spouse doesn’t “deserve” it. For example, if your spouse is having a bad day, do you contribute to it, or do you provide encouragement? If you’re having an argument, do you sometimes choose to give in, or do you dig in your heels?

The bottom line is that you have to decide whom to love and how to love. Use your behavior and choices to lead your feelings, rather than allowing your daily feelings to determine your behavior. That’s mature love.

 To love is to choose.–Joseph Roux

Photo credit: ©Jorge Casais/PhotoXpress.com