What you need to know:
- Make your partner a priority
- Be open with each and honest
- Have fun with your spouse
- Learn new things together
- Think like a unit
Your 50s can be a time of transition for many marriages. The kids are grown and gone, the house is empty, and you're no longer working full-time.
You now have more free time to spend with your spouse than ever before; but this also means that there is more room for things to go wrong in your marriage - as you both adjust to new routines, and face new challenges together.
It's important not only to keep the spark alive in your marriage during these pivotal years but also to maintain a healthy relationship so you don't end up spending those golden years alone.
Make your partner a priority
It's easy to get caught up in day-to-day routines and lose sight of spending time with your partner. However, you should still make an effort to hang out together, even if it's just for a few minutes or hours on the weekend - this will help keep that spark alive and remind you why you fell in love.
Make time for each other. If you're both working full-time, it's important to make time during the week to spend together.
This doesn't need to be a long uninterrupted block of time - but even a 15-minutes conversation after dinner or before going off into work can help keep that spark alive. Or a walk around the block. When your partner feels that they are a priority in your plans, they will reciprocate.
Learn to communicate with each other
When you were first married, it was easy to talk about anything; but as your lives and perspectives change over time, it's important that both of you are able to come together for a good chat once in awhile - this will help rekindle the spark lest one person left feeling neglected or unappreciated.
Be open with each and honest about your needs, concerns, and ideas, but bring them up such that your partner feels they are free to contribute their opinion. And don't pretend to welcome the opinion only to use it against them in future e.g., in a fight.
Laugh and have fun with your spouse
Responsibilities at work and home may have robbed you of your fun times during your younger years. But now that the children are grown and, it's time to let loose and have fun together.
Make an effort to go out on dates, movie nights, share funny incidents that happened at the workplace, and reminisce on the things you did together while younger. You have gone through a long journey together, but sharing such joy creates a strong bond to serve you into old age.
And bring the fun in the bedroom too. Shake things up, be creative and try new things. You may not be as flexible as you were, and some incidents may be uncomfortable. But the beauty of being together for decades, you can go through such moments without getting awkward.
Learn new things together
Even if you've not retired yet, you probably have more time in your hands than any time in recent years.
At work, most of the tedious work is handled by new junior employees and at home you're probably just you and your partner.
Use this free time to learn and explore new things together. You can register for online classes teaching art, foreign languages, music, scriptwriting etc.
If you have never worked out together, give it a try. This can extend to other activities such as gardening, going to concerts, plays or movies and travelling.
Lack of trust is one of the most common causes of divorce and separation. You wouldn't be spared just because you are an elderly couple. Trust can be broken with something as mundane as learning your partner has secret social media profile that they use to keep in touch with other people. They don't have to be having an affair.
There are bigger secrets such as affairs and secret bank accounts or investments that may result in irredeemable conflicts. Don't let secrecy break your home. Be open on the activities you have been doing and uphold fidelity.
You're a unit, think and act like it
Even with the best ideas on how to make your marriage work, you will not make any progress if you are not pulling in the same direction. Lack of communication, trust, and a strong bond will create cracks that will be most visible when you’re faced with challenges.
On the contrary, if you are open and united when dealing with small matters, you will also handle the major issues together. Cultivate that oneness now when things are good, and it will serve you when storms come, both from within and outside.