Have you ever been at family reunion or other type of multi-generational event and seen an older couple (60 yrs old +) who are obviously still energetic, engaged and into each other? I often wonder what it is about couples like this that allows them to stay so clearly in love and dynamic after so many years of life and relationship.
So I started asking them. Whenever I see an older couple that seems particularly happy, I ask them for their tricks. Here are a few of the best I have heard recently:
1. Stay Interesting To Your Partner – this was, perhaps, the most consistent theme.. don’t allow yourself to become a curmudgeonly, bitter old crank. Older people in happy relationships resist the grumpiness and stubbornness that often accompanies old age. They listen to new perspectives and engage in open-minded debate, they seek out new hobbies. In short, they make sure they are staying interesting.
2. Stay Interested In Your Partner – After 30 years, of course you will know your partner well, but don’t lose the sense that they can still surprise and intrigue you. My mom decided to take up golf at 70 years old. My father was never that not it, but he made an effort to learn and share her new passion for it. I really respected that.
3. Keep Your Sex Life Hot – this one is self explanatory, but well supported. Older couples can still be sexually into each other and those that keep it hot – in both frequency and variety – tend to be happier in other aspects of their relationship as well.
4. Have Hobbies and Friends Outside Your Relationship – You can never be everything to your partner. Have your own interests and you own friends. Not only will it make you happier, it will make you more interesting and well rounded to your partner.
5. Try New Things (in the bedroom and elsewhere) – I guess this is linked to staying interesting, but to be this is key. Never stop evolving, experimenting, succeeding and failing. Trying to stuff is what keeps us young, vibrant and lovable. My wife and I were at a sexy resort a few years ago. Most of the couples are 30-50 years old and pretty wild. Enter a 70 year old couple who had never been to a ned beach, let alone an erotic resort with a 60 person hot tub. God love ’em. They had the time of their lives.
One of my most important personal goals is to be as happy at 70 as I am at 40. I am convinced that a critical element of this is finding ways to keep my relationship as hot, fun and interesting as it is now. I know it can be hard, but I believe it will be worth it.