Make Your 2nd Half of Marriage a Time of Incredible Fulfillment

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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!


Anniversary Math

Today, Anita and I are celebrating our 32nd wedding anniversary.

Or, to put it another way, that’s:

  • 1,669 weeks
  • 11,688 days
  • 280,512 hours
  • 16,830,720 minutes
  • 1,009,843,200 seconds

 Anniversaries can’t just be measured in time, though:

  • 2 apartments and 6 houses in 5 cities in 4 states
  • 4 kids, 4 years apart
  • 2 grandchildren (and counting?)
  • 26 years of public school (and PTA meetings! And fund-raisers! And Science Projects! And…)
  • 36 years of children’s’ sports (4 kids, multiple sports, multiple seasons – you do the math)
  • 7 sets of stitches in one kid before he was 6; and 3 for all the others combined
  • 1 broken leg
  • 1 broken wrist
  • 1 torn ACL
  • 3, 13 year-old trips with our kids (one unnamed son has yet to redeem his!)
  • 32 anniversary dates – dinners, movies, concerts, plays, trips – all great experiences (even #10, which took a few hours for the conversation to thaw…)
  • 2 dogs
  • 10 cars (that doesn’t count cars kids got after they moved out)
  • 1 artificial Christmas tree
  • 16 different jobs (for the two of us) in 6 different industries
  • 5 phone numbers (till cell phones came along, to which we added 6 more numbers)
  • 5 place settings of our original dishes (out of 14 to start with)
  • 2,652 books (give or take a few)
  • 32 years worth of National Geographic magazines (plus a few dozen pre-1979 years picked up at a yard sale
  • 4 high school graduations
  • 2 college graduations to date
  • 1 Disney World trip
  • A few tears
  • Lots of laughter
  • Good friends, near and far
  • Treasured memories

 How do I love thee?

 Let me count the ways…