When I was young, I believed that being passionately ‘in love’ was reserved for the young. Seeing so many young lovers engaged in hot, passionate clinches on front porch swings, in night clubs and movie theater balconies seemed to confirm this assumption. The notion that old folks might feel passion for each other never entered my head. I believed that all folks over 60 were content with holding hands, sharing a gentle hug, giving each other words of encouragement and sharing tales of their youthful exploits.
I’m wiser now and know that many old folks want some sizzle, passion and pizzazz in their love life. Some are lucky enough to share this kind of love once in a life time. Others, after losing a spouse or long time partner, are brave enough to seek this type of love with a new partner. These brave souls understand that love does indeed make the world go around. They have learned that passion can remain alive in the twilight years. More importantly, they have learned a few things about establishing an enduring love.
Falling in love leads to a passionate, romantic relationship, but, establishing an enduring love relationship takes a bit more effort. You must fall in love over and over again, each time with the same person. Here are a few other things that help establish an enduring love:
Stop making sweet, but empty, promises that can’t be kept. Instead, make promises that contain a healthy dose of honesty and reality.
Accept that you and your partner will make each other angry. Be willing to put your anger aside, talk rationally and reaffirm that your relationship is intact.
Recognize that each day is little better because of shared midnight confessions, morning coffee and a hundred other little things that make your life together incredible.
Recognize that you are going to hurt each other. No matter how good your intentions are, you won’t always say nor do the right thing.
Discover and practice the art of forgiveness.
Understand that each of you is a work in progress. You will change – tomorrow, next week, next year, and continuously. Accept these changes and inspire change in your partner. Love endures when each partner helps the other become the best possible version of his/her true self.
Make your relationship feel like home. Let your arms become a haven where your partner is loved, comforted, and cared for unconditionally. A place where there is a sense of calmness and shelter from the hectic world.
Keep romance alive. Make time for expressing and accepting physical desire. Share an extra cuddle or caress before you start the day. Pause to recall the magic of the first time you were together. Share spontaneous acts of tenderness. Add some sass with an occasional pat on the a__ and a few torrid kisses.
Allow your partner the freedom to make choices. Whenever possible, accept or ignore the little choices that can be annoying. And, in case of major differences, learn to discuss and compromise. Appreciate that neither partner is meant to be owned, controlled or belittled.
Don’t promise or ask your partner to promise forever. Respect the fact that there is no guarantee of a tomorrow in which to show your love. Learn to take love one day at a time, to view life as an adventure, to treasure the one by your side and never hesitate to say “I love you.”
Happy Valentine’s Day. I hope each of my readers is lucky enough to share an enduring love – perhaps more than once in a lifetime.
Betty Freeman Haines, an author and award winning columnist, lives in Mesquite, NV. Her books/e-books, Reluctant Hero and Grieving Sucks or Does It, can be ordered from amazon.com