Keeping The Love Alive

I see couples in all developmental stages of life. I especially relate to couples 55+ That is a big arching curve. According to Erik Ericson- the goal 55+ is generativity vs. stagnation and the later part of this adult development (65+) reflects on the need for integrity over despair.

The relational challenges in marriage reflect the life events common to these stages. Those couples who have watched their children grow into thriving adults enjoy generating influence and the pride of accomplishment.

Those who made different choices or have not been as fortunate, focus on generating meaning through their contributions to their profession or community.

Couples 65+ endure a myriad of challenges relating to family, health, retirement or an encore sense of contribution or career. Maintaining a sense of integrity is critical when things begin falling apart.


 How do these ages and stages impact relationships?


As the Beatles aptly expressed-

“the love we take is equal to the love we make”

what we have reaped in this life, we generally sow…karma.

The reality of couples 65+ is that 45% of couples are divorced, separated, or divorced. That is a staggering statistic. That makes the marriages that do make it a true commodity.

We waste time looking for the perfect lover, instead of creating the perfect love.

Tom Robbins, American Novelist

Couples holding hands.


What makes love last?

1. Nurture Your Relationship: Like watering a garden, our relationships require and flourish with daily nurturing. Trust, transparency, honesty, reliability, vulnerability, and expressing needs are vital in nurturing relationships that last.

Tuning away through extraneous relationships, devices, and distractions over time can decrease connection resulting in the “roommate” relationship.

2. Cultivate In small moments and cultivate fun, novel, flirty, ways of connecting -relationships at any age thrive.

Especially during these stages, it is vital to create meaningful relationships with others. Through church, synagogues, classes, volunteer opportunities, and groups of varying interests- quality experiences and ways of connecting are essential.

3.Keep intimacy alive and thriving.

Intimacy refers to a level of closeness where you feel validated and safe.

Four types are key:

Emotional, physical, mental, intellectual, and spiritual are the most important types of intimacy. To be known at your deepest core requires the greatest amount of trust. The deepest level of intimacy allows us to be fully ourselves, loved, and accepted for who we are.

Silence is the language of intimacy. This does not mean emptiness, but a living silence, in which both individuals are aware of each other’s feelings and thoughts and share a space free of unnecessary words,

To be on the same team as our partner, that they are in this together can weather the biggest challenges as life presents its unforeseen circumstances and difficulties.   John Gottman, PhD


4. Walk with Empathy and Compassion To walk with our partners through the challenges of these stages requires humility, patience, humor, hope, gratitude, and compassion.

Marital and couple satisfaction can grow throughout the ages if we tend and nurture the many ways to grow and flourish together.


The Love Prescription: Seven Days to More Intimacy, Connection, and Joy  John Gottman, PhD. and  Julie Schwartz Gottman, PhD

What Makes Love Last, by John Gottman, PhD, and  Nan Silver

US: Getting Past You & Me To Build A More Loving Relationship, Terrance Real


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