The second half of your marriage (when the kids leave home, and/or when you are helping with your own parent’s lifestyle decisions) can be a time of incredible fulfillment, no matter what challenges you previously faced.
It can be a time of learning about each other and about God’s long-term plans for your marriage. And a time of building together – sharing dreams, making commitments, and working towards a more satisfying union.
Having just celebrated my 38th anniversary on December 8, I sought out resources to help answer this question:
How can we make the second half of our marriage even better than the first?
David and Claudia Arp’s book “The Second Half of Marriage” has provided a lot of helpful guidance in starting out on the journey of the second half of marriage. Yesterday, I posted four strategies they outline in their book. Here, in their own words, are the final four:
- Build a deeper friendship and enjoy your spouse. Now is a great time to deepen your friendship with each other and stretch your boundaries to prevent boredom. Think of ways to put more fun in your marriage.
- Renew romance and restore a pleasurable sexual relationship. Many people assume that as people grow older they lose interest in sex, but our survey results suggest otherwise. The quality of your love life is not so much a matter of performance as it is an integral part of the relationship. Take care of your health and renew romance even while acknowledging the inevitable changes that come with aging.
- Adjust to changing roles with aging parents and adult children. Release your children, then reconnect with them on an adult level. At the same time, your relationship with your parents may need a little altering, too. The effort you expend in forging better relationships with loved ones on both ends of the generational seesaw is well worth it.
- Evaluate where you are on your spiritual pilgrimage. Research indicates that most people, as they age and consider death, become more religious because they think more about what it all means. Why not consider this time of transition as an opportunity to talk more openly and regularly about your relationship with Christ: what it means, why it matters, and what it means for your marriage? Take time to serve others, too, and pass along some of the wisdom you have gained.
In addition to the wealth of material in the book, the Arps provide additional resources through their Marriage Alive website.
And now for the whole picture of our wedding party – December 8, 1979, at First Baptist Church, Goodlettsville, TN.
It’s day 13,882 for Anita and me – and our journey together continues!