Tuesday, February 10

Romance in a Long Marriage? Take Heart, It Still Happens



It’s Valentine’s Day week and we decided to talk about love and mushy stuff on Word Wranglers in honor of that special day. I’m a hopeless romantic so I thought this assignment would be a piece-o-cake. I mean seriously, who knows more about romance and love than a romance writer, n’est pas? Well, my mind didn’t go where I thought it would because instead of moonlight and roses, I started wondering what makes a long marriage work.

This may surprise you, but even after forty-one years of married life, Husband is still the person I think of when we start talking about the mushy stuff. He’s still the sexiest guy I know. People frequently ask me what the secret is to a long marriage. I’m not sure I know the definitive answer to that, but my answer would be keep that sense of humor, it’s critical. Laughter has gotten Husband and me through some pretty wicked disagreements. 

Talk to each other and by that I mean, have conversations about something besides the gutters that need replacing or the leaky faucet in the guest bathroom. Now that Husband’s retired, we do yoga every morning, and often, breakfasts on non-gym days turn into lingering conversations over a second or even a third cup of coffee. We talk about the world, our friends, art, my writing, his music, movies... Grandboy... (I know, I know, we're both hopelessly in love with this little guy!) Point is, communicate, turn off the phones, ask each other questions, be present when you're together. We've been know to share a two-hour dinner and a whole bottle of wine if we get started talking about the news or a sticky plot element for one of my books. Talk to each other.

 More secrets? Do things together. I know that sounds simplistic, but seriously—do stuff together. We go to the grocery together or just out to the wine store or to Target or even the auto parts store. We’ve stopped hurrying—something that’s been huge for the romance in our marriage. There’s time for kisses in the kitchen while we fix a meal, hugs when he stops in my office to use the copier, or cuddles on the sofa on a Saturday night while we listen to Prairie Home Companion on the radio. 

The other side of that advice is do things apart. Do your own thing and spend time away from each other. Husband’s not a traveler, although trips to see Son and Grandboy are always in the cards. He’s a homebody, while I’m more adventurous, and I get this crazy restlessness that can only be fixed with a trip. Fortunately, I have friends who love to travel too, so I take off on weekend retreats and adventures with friends while Husband holds down the homestead. I get out and he gets the house to himself for a few days. Romantic part? The “I miss you” phone calls while I’m away and long delicious kisses when I get home.

I would also recommend that you remember your manners—it’s so easy to forget to simply say thank you to our spouses/significant others. To show appreciation for the things they do each day that make our lives easier. Retired Husband does so much more around the house than Engineer Husband did (and Engineer Husband was pretty damn helpful!)—dishes, laundry, helping out when I clean bathrooms and vacuum and dust. He lights up at “Thank you, Honey, I really appreciate your help.” And you know, if there’s anything sexier than a man elbows-deep in dishwater, I’m hard pressed to find it…

13 comments:

  1. Great post, Nan! And I'm with you on the dishwater...

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    1. Thanks, Liz! I knew you'd see it my way, too!

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  2. Enjoyed your post Nan.....I too have been married for 41 years to the love of my life. Even though there are times we frustrate each other, there is no other person I would want to grow old with. Happy Valentine's Day!

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    1. Hi, Brenda, glad you stopped by! Is 41 years as hard for you to believe as it is for me? Wow...

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  3. I love this post, Nan, and I agree with it all! And I'd add one more: train your husband to clean the bathroom. :)

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    1. You know, Kristi, he doesn't say no to much, but he's just not a bathroom cleaner---I'm okay with that. But if yours does it, more power to you! ;-)

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    2. I am a lucky girl, I know! I'll clean just about anything...but I *prefer* no bathrooms. I know, prima donna here. :D

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  4. I think I lost my comment. :( Ah well. If you get two your are twice blessed.
    I'm glad you've been able to spend so many years with the love of your life, and I wish you many, many more. And laughter is the best medicine in any relationship.

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    1. Thanks, Roben, so glad you came by! Yup, you are so right! Laughter can defuse almost anything, can't it? Hugs, baby!

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  5. I think time pursuing our own interests are just important as time spent together. And you are absolutely right, a man who empties the dishwasher is pretty damn sexy. I got one of those myself.

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    1. Good for you, Margie! Isn't it funny how different things become important as we grow older? Hugs, baby!

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  6. Nan, thanks so much. I have been with the love of my life for 39 years and we have one grandson (Mr. Perfect). I appreciate your comments and advice. My husband is also one to stay at home while I am more adventurous - got a culinary trip to Chicago coming up soon. Your post reminded me of the things I love about my husband.

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    1. So glad you stopped by, Carolyn! Yeah, those long-time loves are the best! Enjoy your culinary trip!! I've got MI coming up in September! Can't wait!

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