Why Long-Term Marriages Can Be So Powerful

Portrait of a happy middle aged couple in bed together“Research shows that the divorce rate among adults aged 50 and older doubled between 1990 and 2010.” The HuffPost’s Post50 has done it again. They’ve served up a compendium of bloggers’ common sense thoughts on enduring marriages which I found very moving. As a widow whose marriage was very, very happy, I smiled, cried a little and wished the same joy for my adult children while I perused the article.

The list runs the gamut of thoughts such as not being frantic or worrying overly about looks to feeling open about communicating your needs and feelings to your partner. For example, “we tell each other everything, whether it’s good or bad. We never hide anything from each other — ever — and can openly discuss any subject without fear of being judged. We made a pact to do that from the beginning of our marriage (it took a little to get used to, but we knew it would be invaluable) and I think it helped to create the wonderful marriage that we have,” said Cathy Chester of An Empowered Spirit.

Concluding the article is a group of reader’s responses to The HuffPost Post50’s request for their takes on how to have a long and happy marriage. My favorite is: “When you give to the other person, that’s love. When you take, that’s ego. Over the years, both people contribute what they have. … I’ve been married 32 years, and my promise in being with my wife is that I am committed to helping her find everything she needs. If she has a need/problem, it’s mine too. The value of marriage isn’t solely playing a part so much as my wife accepts all my love and I get to be that guy I most like being, her lover.”




Architecture For A Happy Marriage

non-vday-staircaseToday my daughter pointed this article out to me, “How To Pick Your Life Partner,” in the Wait But Why post. Having read a lot of such articles, starting as a teenager with dating advice in Glamour Magazine, I was pleasantly surprised to have been enchanted with this one. It’s pretty obviously written by a male with its no-nonsense approach to the topic of how to choose a partner and then create a happy marriage. So, I could not resist checking out the author.

Tim Urban shares some of his attributes with us: “getting called an out-of-touch Baby Boomer even though he’s only 31,”not being an expert on things he writes about” and “drawing stick figures at a 2nd grade level.” As a real Baby Boomer who was impressed with his cogent account of the trip from first date to the altar and many years down the road of wedded bliss after, I had to research further.

Lorena O’Neil wrote “Wait But Why: Making Nerdiness Viral,” in NPR AS HEARD ON NPR LISTEN ONLINEa description of the blog which helped me to understand why this 31 year old guy could put such brilliant perspective into the marriage topic. Wait But Why is a blog that works as an adult science and social studies classroom. The website pairs cartoons, infographics, lists, and irreverent, conversational writing for a mix that looks like BuzzFeed meets Hyperbole and a Half meets Thought Catalog. The act of reading the posts is an experience in and of itself. You can easily curl up for 20 minutes digging into a single post with all of its drawings, data visualizations and captions. Don’t let the crude, seemingly haphazardly drawn stick-figure images and basic layout of the site fool you — it’s full of insights and skillful explanations of real-life situations. Sometimes the best way to make a complex idea click is with a really basic drawing, a super-simple pie chart or a stack of candies sized up against Earth.” 

Read more: Wait But Why: Making Nerdiness Viral | Good Sh*t | OZY

Enjoy Parts 1 & 2 of “How To Pick Your Life Partner” here:


“5 Things Blissful Couples Do”

201303-orig-couple-1-300x205Oprah gives us a sensible approach here to keeping relationships fresh and exciting. Written for those who’ve been together for years, this perspective may be used by dating couples as well.

Number one is “they never let the first date end,” meaning continuing to share dreams and innermost feelings. Hard as it is to do when house, work, health, children and grandchildren issues pile up, it is important to keep those conversations going. We change and we need to keep sharing who we are with our mate … or serious relationship partner. Terri Orbuch, a psychologist and author of 5 Simple Steps to Take Your Marriage from Good to Great advises talking to your partner for at least 10 minutes a day about non practical issues to avoid “the unhappiness gulch.”

Next is spending “mental time in the nosebleed seats,” by looking at the issues in a disagreement not from one’s partner’s point of view, but from the outside. Northwestern University social psychologist Eli Finkel and his colleagues asked married couples to spend just seven minutes writing about a recent fight with their spouse from the point of view of a neutral observer, three times over the course of a year. When the year was up, those couples had more satisfying, trusting and passionate relationships than couples who didn’t do the writing exercise.”

Third is being generous in small ways, such as having a cup of coffee waiting for your partner when they roll out of bed.

Read more: http://www.oprah.com/relationships/Habits-Of-Happy-Couples-Happy-Couples-Secrets/2#ixzz2fN3TAiZW

Older Love Story

11VOWS2-articleInlineDorthy Rogers and Shirl Abbey grew up 50 miles apart in Ohio and connected with each other years later after a combined total of 5 marriages, 8 children and many grandchildren. They met through Match.com when she was 72 and he was 81. And at the time they lived 3 blocks apart in Santa Fe, N.M.

Dorothy and Shirl say that they fell in love over Chinese food in the Design Center where she owned an art gallery; they moved in together 4 days later. Then they lived with each other for 8 years before he proposed.

The couple was married at the Bald Head Island Club in North Carolina. On the day before the wedding, Ms. Rogers had positive words for those her age seeking love. “Others should try to do this,” she said. “Why not try? They could find someone, too. I think the odds are pretty good.”


On Becoming A Grandfather Without Having Been A Father

Renee_Dan-560x371Dan was single, living in a high-rise condo with no children and no pets when he married Renee, a divorced mother of three grown children. A year after their marriage, a grandchild arrived, followed by another and one more is on the way.

Now they live in Renee’s house and have little visitors, Jonah and Simon. It has been a transition, involving patience and kindness plus a bit of alone time for Dan. That his screen saver has their photos on it and his new sailboat has been named JoSimon tells it all.

See Renee’s article in the BoomerCafe:


Finding Love Later In Life …

cq5dam.web.420.270In the ’70’s Marlo Thomas didn’t feel that matrimony was wonderful for women. “Marriage is like a vacuum cleaner,” (She) used to say. “You stick it to your ear and it sucks out all your energy and ambition.” 

Then she went on a talk show and met Phil Donahue. At dinner after he shared with her that he’d recently divorced and doubted that he’d remarry. Thomas thought “how perfect … a man who thinks like me.” Three years later they were married and have been happily since then.

This took planning and the rearranging of two established lives. “Along the way, we learned something fundamental: that sometimes we all must rethink our lives, focusing not on what we thought they would be but, rather, on what they could be.” 

“Had Phil and I been younger, we might have been more impatient and missed each other. But being older — me in my late 30s, Phil in his early 40s — we trusted our hearts and made the effort. For many, love really is better the second time around, but for me, the first time has been just fine.”

Read more about their love story and those of other friends in AARP: