How to have a midlife marriage reset
Midlife marriages can be tricky to negotiate. With the burden of childcare, endless bills and more recently, a nationwide lockdown, it’s easy to see why the romantic spark can begin to fade.
Experts are worried that the additional pressures brought on by lockdown could have a further negative impact on our relationships. So, aside from the saving for a vacation, how can you reset your marriage in midlife?
Here are six tips from the experts…
- Start a relationship book club
It’s no secret that good communication between partners can help improve a relationship. But dating and relationship expert finds that clients don’t know what it is they’re supposed to be communicating about. She however recommends to clients who are going through a tricky time in their relationship to start a marriage or relationship book club.
Couples should read books that can help them better understand their relationship. The idea is to allow couples to read information written by experts and then exchange their own thoughts and understanding of each other. If you don’t understand how your partner communicates that they care and love you, then you’re often just two ships in the night not understanding where they’re coming from.”
A good starting point is the book The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman, which looks at the different ways in which people communicate love.
- Look to the past
Just because you’re both 20 years older, that doesn’t mean you have to lose the interests that attracted you to each other in the first place. Reflecting on the activities you used to enjoy together can be an important way for couples to rekindle their relationship.
Think back to what brought you together – whether that’s your partner cooking a meal, or a favourite film you used to watch – and about how you could do it again to make each other feel special.
Something as simple as going through old photo albums together can do the trick. Photos can spark memories, which can take you back to a happier, more contented emotional time.
- Train for something together
Whether it’s an unusual new hobby, training for a goal together can help midlifers “create chemistry, and regain the spark” with their partners, according to experts. This is because as couples approach midlife, they tend to lose the goals that they shared at the start of the relationship.
Before getting married, your shared goals might have been to have children or own a house. But when you get there, it can suddenly feel as though you are no longer working towards something. There’s a huge rise in divorce rates when children leave home because couples no longer feel as though they’re working towards anything.”
The comfort and stability of long term relationships provide a good wing-board for couples to explore new things in the bedroom. This could be through exploring things you haven’t tried before or talked openly with each other about your sexual fantasies.
- Assert your differences
It’s not all about shared interests, though. It can be helpful for midlife couples to establish their differences too. When you meet as friends, you’re two separate individuals; but after many years of being in a relationship, things start to merge. It’s really important to sit down and re-identify what your separate hobbies and passions are.
Giving each other space to go and pursue separate hobbies, and then coming back together to discuss them, can help create desire, both emotionally and sexually. If a marriage is falling by the wayside, it’s because the couple is lacking separateness; this lowers libido and means we’re not as emotionally intrigued. Re-identifying the separateness between two people is key to them coming back together.
- Plan a weekly check-in meeting
Ideally, midlife couples shouldn’t wait until the relationship gets to this point. Instead, “preemptive” methods, such as regular conversations, can help to improve the relationship as it goes: It’s not just about having date-time, but also allocating the time to check in with your partner about their needs.”
If you feel awkward about having these types of conversations, experts recommend approaching your marriage “like a business.”
Just as you would check in with staff to see what’s working and what needs to change, have a weekly relationship meeting that does the same. This is allocated time where you can talk about finances, the children, your sex life, and your relationship. By planning ahead, it becomes a normal conversation rather than a reactive one.
- Outsource help (if you can)
Ever found yourself drawn into a raging argument with your partner over whose turn it is to empty the house chores? You aren’t alone. A study of new divorcees in the US found that 25 percent of respondents cited ‘disagreements about housework’ as the number one reason for their divorce.
For those who can afford it, it can be helpful to outsource help for things such as housework. Household chores often end up falling on one partner and usually – but not always – it’s the woman. This can cause resentment, or maybe stop one partner from feeling sexy because they’re so exhausted.
Indeed, this domestic imbalance may have increased over lockdown; one study undertaken in July found that mothers were doing twice as much teaching as fathers. By out-sourcing help, midlife couples can “free up more energy and time” for their sex lives, which in turn creates bonding and closeness. It’s all interlinked; when you free up time and space, there’s more energy for sex – and in turn, the relationship flows better.
Culled from www.telegraph.co.uk