40 Tips for Finding Love After 40

“Enjoy yourself—that’s what your 20s are for. Your 30s are for learning the lessons. Your 40s are to pay for the drinks.” —Sarah Jessica Parker as Carrie Bradshaw, Sex and the City: The Movie

That’s certainly one way to look at it. However, if you’re like the many single 40-somethings out there, you realize that you’re in the prime of your life, and enjoying yourself is the name of the game. In fact, with a myriad of life lessons already under your belt, now is probably the best time to find someone special—someone who is both a loyal companion and a true soul mate.

You may be on the lookout right now, using such successful online dating sites as Match.com or eHarmony, through which thousands upon thousands of people have found love. Or, you could be out on the singles scene in Atlanta, making connections as you visit the city’s numerous hot spots. There’s even a possibility that you’ve let yourself be fixed up on a blind date or two. Whatever avenue you prefer for meeting people, it never hurts to have some valuable, realistic advice from the experts as you navigate the sometimes choppy waters of finding real, everlasting love.

We’ve asked a panel of local experts to share their top tips for finding love after the age of 40. Their words of wisdom are designed to help you find the kind of relationship that meets your individual wishes and needs at this exciting point in your life. From professional matchmakers to experienced relationship coaches, we’ve gathered a group of love aficionados who understand what it takes for mature adults to identify what they want and how to achieve it.

40 tips from Atlanta’s Experts

2. Set realistic relationship goals. Define the values and qualities that you need to have in a life partner. Try to narrow it down to the most important ones. Remember, nobody is perfect! Trying to find Mr. or Mrs. Perfect will keep you single forever.1. Get into the gratitude habit. When you are grateful, you feel good about yourself and you are in the right frame of mind to attract love into your life. Acknowledging what you have lays the foundation for bringing great things, events and people into your life.

3. Visualize relationship success. Often, we are our worst enemies when it comes to having a healthy self-image and a positive vision for our life. Don’t let yourself be influenced by negative thoughts about your age. Every day, couples over 40 tie the knot! Love can and will happen at any age, if you are open and receptive.

4. Take good care of yourself. A healthy lifestyle and a positive mindset are a prerequisite for relationship success. How joyful and happy we feel is reflected in our appearance and energy level, and it is directly connected to our personal relationships.

5. Follow your passions. Many singles put their lives on hold until they meet “the one.” Don’t wait to take that special trip or try out a new restaurant. One of the great gifts I gave myself when I was single was a Caribbean Cruise. I had the time of my life and actually met a few eligible gentlemen on board.

6. Get out of your comfort zone. It is time to tackle your “bucket list!” If you always wanted to take that mountain climbing class, do it. Besides pushing your limits and challenging the status quo, trying new things also presents great opportunities to meet people.

7. Keep an open mind. If your ideal man is George Clooney without the commitment issues, it is time to revise your list. Be realistic about the type of partner you see yourself with. If you meet someone who has the core values and character traits that are important to you, but he may be a bit shorter than your ideal, give it a chance.

8. Learn from your past relationships. Being over 40 is the best age to finally know what’s important in life and relationships. We can now learn from past mistakes and get it right. Do you see unhealthy patterns in your past love relationships? Now is the time for change! You may hire a relationship coach to assist you in figuring out how to create that healthy relationship you deserve.

9. Practice flirting. Men love women who are easy-going, fun and flirtatious. Make eye contact and smile for an immediate connection. If your flirting skills could use some brushing up, practice in a non-threatening environment, such as a shopping mall or grocery store. Hold that gaze just a split second too long and you may be surprised by the positive responses you’ll receive.

10. Don’t be afraid to ask for professional assistance. We are open to reaching out for professional assistance in all areas of our lives—we hire tax consultants, investment professionals or personal trainers, yet when it comes to our love lives, we mistakenly believe that we can find our life partner by chance. Hiring a professional matchmaker will greatly enhance your chances of meeting the person who’s right for you. A reputable matchmaking service will only work with qualified individuals and will ensure a comfortable and respectful experience.


12. Resolve relationship issues.
Anyone above 10 years old has encountered disappointments and hurts in the area of relationships. Hence, past experiences and issues may need resolution before love becomes a possibility.11. Love yourself first. Self-appreciation is the first essential step to accepting or giving love. The value you place on yourself is measured and returned by others. If you do not love yourself, how can you expect others to love you?

13. Learn something new. Take golf, tennis or dance lessons. Ladies, men congregate on the course for business and pleasure. Gentlemen, an invitation to dance is usually welcomed and provides just enough time for introductions. In Atlanta, tennis is a popular sport. There is sure to be love with mixed doubles on the courts.

14. Always wear a smile! Smiling makes you approachable, enhances your appearance and attracts others.

15. Join a social group for singles age 40 and better. These types of groups offer diverse activities monthly and provide an instant social network.

16. Volunteer your time and talents to a charitable organization. Helping others feels good and can be an opportunity to meet others with common values. (Visit www.bestselfconnect.com for volunteer opportunities.)

17. Get out of the house! Leave the office! The FedEX person will not deliver your significant other to your door. Rather than sipping coffee alone, go to the nearest Starbucks or coffee spot. It is a great place to meet other singles.

18. Attend networking events. Check online calendars such as Events in Your Area or Atlanta Buzz for local options. Approach others with a smile and your business card. Ask how you may assist them in their profession. Networking events are great places to make connections. (Visit www.bestselfconnect.com for networking opportunities.)

19. Check out online dating sites. Many have met as a result of online sites such as Plenty of Fish, eHarmony, Match.com and Perfect Match. Submit an interesting profile with a current picture and let the communication begin!

20. Attend your high school reunion. Get reacquainted with old friends. There are plenty of stories about high school sweethearts rekindling the romance.


22. Positivity attracts.
Speaking of baggage … not only should you check negativity at the door, but also focus your attention on what’s fun and interesting about your date, and you will enjoy the date more. Besides, people are drawn to people who are positive!21. Check the baggage. If you’re over 40 and single, you’ve either dated a lot in your life or not very much. (If you were married for years, the idea of dating again may be overwhelming!) It’s normal to have baggage from past relationships or feel drained by the dating process, but remember not to unload heavy emotional issues or hurt feelings about your ex on early dates.

23. Network with people you know. Your friends and your network may be one of the best resources when you are single. Not only will they be there to support you, but they also can help facilitate introductions. Before you consider looking for love far away, consider that people in your community may have connections for you that you haven’t thought about.

24. Pick up new friends. At a certain age, it’s common for singles to feel that they are in a different life stage than their married friends. If most of your Saturday nights are spent hanging out with your friend, his or her spouse and two children, even if you adore them, it may be time to pick up new single women and men for friendship.

25. Know your deal breakers. If you keep dating the same type of person and it’s not working, it may be time to revise your checklist. Ask yourself: what are your top five deal breakers? You may want to base this list on qualities people possessed who were difficult for you to handle in past relationships. (You won’t have different results if you keep dating the same type!)

26. Look in the mirror. You’re fabulous, no doubt, but there are probably things you did—or didn’t do—in your last relationship or on dates that you can learn from. So often we blame others and don’t take time to reflect on how we showed up. Once you look at your self-defeating pattern, you are less likely to repeat it.

27. Play up your passions. What are you passionate about? Passion is one of the sexiest qualities you can possess. If you haven’t done something in a while that brings you pleasure, make a commitment to try it again and you will have a certain je nais se quoi that will make you irresistible in dating.

28. Focus on what makes you a fine catch. So many daters focus on their flaws and why someone they like would never be interested in them. If self-doubt creeps up, replace the negative thought with something you absolutely love about yourself. Write down 10 things that make you a great catch. If you can’t think of anything, enroll good friends to help.

29. Take the pressure off. Early dating shouldn’t be full of pressure. You shouldn’t know if you want to marry someone after the first five minutes (contrary to popular belief and speed networking events!). The only question you need to ask yourself on an early date is if you’re having fun and want to learn more about the other person or not.

30. Take risks. If you’ve been hurt (and let’s face it, at a certain point in life we all have!), you may be anxious about getting back into the dating game. Remember that the act of love requires taking risks and being open—with your mind and in your heart.

31. Look at it as an adventure. Look at this journey to love as an adventure, not a difficult task that may never end. Start getting excited about all the new people you will meet. Get excited about how much you will learn about yourself during this process. Pretend that you are a dating scientist and you are cataloging all of your interesting dating experiences. Do whatever you need to do to keep this experience fun, light and exciting. Fun people are ridiculously attractive.

32. Focus only on what you want. Whatever you focus on will grow. If you focus on fear,  you become more fearful; if you focus on doubt, more doubtful. But if you focus on love and how much you already have in your life, you will find yourself more grateful, more satisfied and more loving. This will also help you to let go of any feelings of lack or neediness. Neediness is NOT sexy.

33. Don’t wait until you are in love to start loving. Now that you are focused on what you want—love—start acting on that emotion. Make a list of all the people you love. Friend love and family love are both very powerful emotions. Start concentrating on the relationships that you already have in your life. Let these people know how much you appreciate them.

34. Forget that you are 40. Instead, remind yourself of your brilliance and beauty. Make a list of all the things that are extraordinary about you. What do YOU bring to the party? Attraction doesn’t have much to do with age or even physical appearance but has everything to do with self-confidence—the way you carry yourself and the belief that you carry about YOU. Own and adore all that you know you are.

35. Don’t engage in negative conversations. Steer clear of any conversations about how terrible it is to be dating at 40, or how there are “no good men or women out there.” Remember to keep your focus on what you want and also remember that you only need one. With billions of people on the planet, I promise you there is at least one good one left.

36. Create a Dream Partner List. Creating a Dream Partner List is possibly the most important thing you can do when you are looking for love. Dedicate one evening to writing your list. Grab your journal and a glass of wine, put on some Barry White or whatever does it for you and then go to work on capturing all of the qualities that you want and desire in your partner. Don’t worry about being too specific. The truth is that your list is just an exercise to help you be clearer about what it is you want to attract and what you will be looking for in a mate.

37. Create a Partner from Hell List. This list is easy to do. We all know what we don’t want and have probably dated him or her several times. Think of all of the relationships that have not worked out in the past and capture—on paper—all of the qualities that you are certain that you don’t want in your Dream Man or Woman.

38. Be patient. Allow yourself to enjoy the process. Don’t become too anxious or fearful that it is not happening fast enough. Finding the right partner could happen overnight or it could take a little time. Just have fun with it. Remember—anxious, needy people are NOT sexy.

39. Make a vision board for your love life. Your brain thinks in pictures. It is easier for your mind to “create pictures” of how you want your love life unfold. Schedule an evening, invite some friends over and go through magazines, finding pictures that represent the life that you want and the partner that you want. Sunset cruises, a couple on a beach, a loving family—whatever it is that you desire. Look at this visual representation every night before bed and each morning as you wake up. Again, this is just another way to have fun with this process.

40. Celebrate bad dates. This one is key. Celebrating dates gone wrong is really important. As you are out in the dating world, experiencing many different people and dating experiences, take the time to open up your journal and capture the things you like and dislike from each person you encounter. Add to that Dream Partner List and the Partner From Hell List. Remember that each bad date is giving you more clarity about what you know you don’t want, which means that you now have an even more solid idea of the partner you want to attract. Saying NO to one thing is actually saying YES to something else.


For more information or tips from the featured love experts and relationship coaches, visit them online:
Uli Eitel, Sterling Introductions: www.sterlingintroductions.com
Arlene Ingram, Atlanta’s Upscale Single: www.atlantaupscalesingle.com
Irene LaCota, It’s Just Lunch: www.itsjustlunchatlanta.com
Amber Salisbury, Feel the Love International LLC: www.amberthelovecoach.com

Article Source: http://www.bestselfatlanta.com/best-self-articles/life-enrichment/40-tips-for-finding-love-after-40.html

WHAT YOU CAN DO TO BOOST CONCEPTION OVER 40

When I decided to try one last time to have a baby, I realized that I needed to be completely prepared for the process of pregnancy over 40.  At the time, I thought that primarily meant being physically prepared.  Two years later and watching my baby daughter sleep, I realize there is so much more than the physical preparation although that is critically important.   Getting pregnant over 40 also requires significant mental and emotional strength.  Let’s take a look at ways that women can effectively prepare themselves for conception physically, mentally and emotionally.

Part One:  It’s Physical, Baby!

To say that women over 40 need to focus on getting super healthy prior to trying to conceive is an understatement.  Your body is the vessel that makes conception possible and you need to give it the best chance for success by being at peak health which includes several key components:

  • physical condition
  • diet
  • flexibility
  • optimal weight
  • illness avoidance
  • disease avoidance

Physical Condition

There is no one size fits all for getting in good physical condition; but it is a critical component in conceiving over age 40.  Not only do our bodies tend to decline as we age, but we also contribute to this natural physiological response by the choices we make.  Your body makes the difference in conceiving and carrying a baby so being in great condition is one of the best investments you can make in your personal fertility.   According to the American College of Sports Medicine, we should be exercising between 3 and 5 times a week for 20-60 minutes each time and using large muscle group activity such as walking/jogging, cycling or swimming.   To determine if you are working out at the right intensity, the ACSM recommends the “talk test”.  If you can carry on a conversation without being out of breath, you are at about the right level of intensity.  In addition to cardiovascular condition, it is also important to build strength through a muscle strengthening component of your conditioning.  This will pay big dividends down the road when you are pregnant and your body must support upwards of 30 additional pounds of weight.  Walk, jog, swim, stroll, dance, skate – whatever you enjoy doing.  Just get out, get moving and do it!  Always check with your doctor before beginning any exercise program.

Diet

Mom told you to eat your greens and she was right!  You literally are what you eat so you want to be as healthy and wholesome as possible as you prepare your body for making and growing your baby.   If you follow these basic guidelines, you’ll build a healthy place to make a baby:

  • Take a good prenatal vitamin containing folic acid.  Ask your doctor what vitamin he recommends.
  • Eat fresh fruits and vegetables that are minimally prepared.  They retain more of their nutrients and fiber this way.  Be sure to get plenty of yellow, green, orange and blue fruits and vegetables daily.  Wash them thoroughly
  • Get enough calcium.  Eat/drink low fat yogurt, milk, cheese (even ice cream on occasion) to strengthen bones and facilitate microscopic cell processes in your body.
  • Focus on lean protein.  Just think about everything that has to develop in your body to support conceiving and carrying a healthy child.  Amino acids are the building blocks of protein and they will help form the placenta, umbilical cord, and your baby’s musculature.
  • Look for whole grains.  A slice of white bread isn’t going to kill you, but a slice of whole grain bread will provide more nutrients and fiber to help you build a healthy body for your baby to grow in.
  • Don’t freak out about fat.  Some fats are essential to survival.  I am not an advocate of fat being evil.  Everything in moderation.  Stick to primarily healthy fats like olive, fish and canola oil and don’t beat yourself up if you have butter on your toast.

Flexibility

This is one area that many people tend to ignore in the fitness spectrum.  Women trying to conceive should ignore this at their peril!  Any woman who is 9 months pregnant can tell you that extreme flexibility is required to do many normal daily tasks like putting on shoes or getting into bed.  Activities like yoga are excellent not only to improve flexibility but also encourage relaxation.  Some research suggests that stretching in general may have positive impacts on the lymphatic system.  So, take a few minutes each week and improve your flexibility.

Optimal Weight

I always cringe a bit when I see a particular celebrity who is struggling with her well televised infertility.  In one episode of her show, her doctor tells her that she needs to gain some weight to improve her chances of conception.  I caught a glimpse of her on tv last week and she was even thinner than before.  While many women struggle on the other end of the spectrum with being too heavy, it can be just as impactful to be too thin.   Check with your doctor to see what she thinks you should weigh for optimal conception.

Illness and Disease Avoidance

One of the first things a physician will do when you are getting ready to start trying to conceive is order a battery of tests including tests for measles and chicken pox.  Now is a good time to be sure that you are staying away from kids with chicken pox or measles, anyone with shingles or basically anyone who is sick.  Even if you had chicken pox as a kid, you can still get it again as an adult and it would certainly set you back in your quest for conception.  Even the latest version of the flu will weaken you.  Will it hinder your ability to conceive?  Probably not, but why add a weakening variable?    Wash your hands a lot, avoid people who are sick and stay away from kids who are experiencing childhood illnesses.

Your doctor will likely also test you for sexually transmitted diseases, so be sure that you are practicing safe sex at all times as well.

The Bottom Line

In a world where so much can be out of your fertility control, why not take charge of the things that you can impact like your physical health and well being.  This is something that can give you a leg up in your quest to have a baby.  Now that we have explored physical health, let’s take a look at preparing emotionally for conception.

Part 2:  Getting Your Head in the Game:  Preparing Emotionally for Conception

A second key component to preparing yourself for conception, particularly those of us working to get pregnant over 40, is mental preparation.

Learn as much as you can

Some women don’t need to be reminded to read up on the process of conception.  They already have books and magazines about pregnancy and are fully aware of the process and its ups and downs.  Most women, however, aren’t as prepared as they should be.  For example, women over 40 have a significantly reduced probability of getting pregnant and a significantly increased probability of having a miscarriage.  It is important to understand the statistics and the odds before you see your doctor.  This will help you be prepared for what will sound like grim news.  When I began trying to conceive at age 43, my reproductive endocrinologist wanted to walk me through a series of charts with bad news.  Basically, he told me that I had less than a 3% chance of conceiving.  Fortunately, I had already done my homework and  knew what he was going to say.  It wasn’t a shock to me.  I explained that I understood the odds and wanted to know what the next steps were.   Read up so you don’t get caught off guard.

Learn about testing, fertility and what could happen in the process.

We generally don’t go into situations fully versed in what could go wrong.  In fact, its better in most cases not to go to the worst case scenario.  In conception over 40, I think it is very important to be educated about what could happen and what you can do about it.  Anyone going through infertility treatments will tell you that it can be complicated and grueling.  If you know about this in advance as a possibility, it makes it easier to deal with if it happens.

Establish a system at the beginning.

Getting pregnant over age 40 is often similar to a complex business project.  There is tracking your cycle, medical appointments, blood tests, procedures and medications all of which generally have to happen at precise times in the month.  Do yourself a favor and figure out a tracking system that works for you.  Use a planner, a notebook, your PC, your phone, whatever works best for you.  Establish this system and record everything in it.  You will find it an invaluable resource to help you keep track of test results, your cycle, expenses, appointments, information you learn and contacts that you make.   I found that I kept my planner with me at all times because it gave me all the answers I needed when my doctor’s office called or I learned something new and needed to see my previous test results.  I also pulled it out and took notes on every phone call and doctor’s visit.  It is so easy to forget something and equally easy to write notes in your system so that you can’t forget.

Keeping it All Together.

Use what you learn about the process of getting pregnant as well as the possibilities of what can happen during the process to keep yourself strong mentally.  If you wind up having to go through infertility treatments, it can take a long time and you will need to be physically and mentally strong to go through its ups and downs.

Part 3:  Stabilizing the Roller Coaster of Emotions

This section takes a look at your emotional health during the conception process and what you can do to help keep yourself strong emotionally as you prepare to conceive.

A big part of reproduction is hormones.  Ask any woman how she is impacted by her monthly hormonal fluctuations and multiply that by 10 when you factor in the stress of trying to conceive.   What used to be playful and fun now becomes a task that a couple must complete at just the right time.  Many couples report that sex becomes mechanical and sterile when they have to do it on queue.  For couples battling infertility, the stress is further multiplied when hormone injections and other interventions are involved.  All of these factors add up to emotional STRESS.  It is important to be aware of the potential stress ahead of time and prepare to keep yourself emotionally healthy.

 Establish a close support system

If you are married, this will almost certainly include your husband; but it’s a good idea to go beyond him for support.  In fact, he should establish support apart from you as well.  There will be times when you just feel down and don’t want to bring your spouse down.  You need to have a friend or family member who understands your situation and who you can count on to listen and be supportive.  Many couples (or singles for that matters) don’t want to tell too many people that they are trying to conceive because the constant barrage of  well meaning “are you pregnant yet?” can become exhausting and demoralizing if you’re struggling with infertility.  Keep your support system to a small trusted group.

Think about what you need for support and let your friends/family know

Everyone is different and needs a different type of support.  Some people want friends to check in and ask them how they are doing.  Other people, like me, prefer to be left alone but need someone there when they reach out.  Think about what you need and let your friends/family know specifically how they can best support you.  I recommend having a conversation outlining what they can do to help you.  For me, that meant letting friends know that I would keep them posted on progress but didn’t want them asking me about it.  They love me and were fine with that.  When I needed them, I asked and they were there.  One mistake I made was being in a geographic position where none of my friends or family were local.  I went through some very difficult times without a hug or a hand to hold.  If you can do it, be sure to have people geographically close as you work to conceive your child.

Give yourself a break

Take time for yourself each day to unwind and relax.  Draw a bubble bath, take a walk in the park, meet a friend for coffee, get a facial – whatever helps you de-stress.  Stress has lots of negative effects on our bodies and certainly doesn’t facilitate conception.  I actually walked away from my career because I knew the stress level was too high and I needed every advantage to conceive at age 44.

Check out on-line support

There are many online support communities that provide an excellent forum for connecting with others in your position.  Join a few forums or look on twitter or facebook for groups that might fill a need.

Keep a healthy perspective

It is easy to get so completely engrossed in conception that it almost becomes your identity.  This is not healthy.  In fact, I stopped visiting certain forums where many of the women could see no goodness or happiness in their lives due to infertility.  I understand the heartache of wanting a child and not being able to conceive.  I also understand the devastation of miscarriage.  I have experienced both and know that we need to experience the sadness and emotion that go with those situations.  Then we need to pick ourselves up and move forward.    It is critically important to put time and energy into other areas of your life.  Experience love and joy each day.  Think about and talk about something besides trying to conceive.

Putting it all together

Some women conceive right away with no problems.  For other women like me, it takes years or even decades.  Give yourself every advantage as you start trying to conceive. Get in great physical condition.  Learn all you can about fertility and prepare mentally for the process.  Finally, take care of yourself emotionally.   Remember to live each day to the fullest and experience a rich life that includes joy and happiness outside of trying to get pregnant over 40.


Article Source: http://pregnancyover40now.com/

7 secrets to a long — and happy marriage

Matthew Boggs, whose parents divorced, was jaded about marriage. But he noticed his grandmother and grandfather, who had been married for 63 years, were still madly in love. To find out what was the secret to a long and happy marriage, Boggs and his friend, Jason Miller, traveled 12,000 miles around the U.S. to talk to what they call the “Marriage Masters,” couples who have been married 40 years or more. In their new book, “Project Everlasting,” Boggs and Miller share advice from the happy couples. TODAYshow.com asked the two bachelors to tell us what are the top seven secrets to a successful marriage. Here they are:

1. “Divorce? Never. Murder? Often!”
Entering matrimony with the mindset that “divorce is not an option” is vital for the long-term success of marriage, say the Marriage Masters (a term we gave couples who have been happily married over 40 years). They went on to explain that this kind of mindset allows a couple to see solutions to marriage’s boiling points — and trust us, not one of our interviewee couples avoided such periods of relational strife — which would have otherwise been overlooked simply because one eye was too busy examining exit strategies.

Marriage Masters simplify this into one word: Commitment. And they’re quick to point out that commitment is the virtue sorely missing from today’s marriages. That said, there are deal breakers that very few of our interviewed couples advocated working through. These are known as the three A’s — addiction, adultery, and abuse. A marriage overwhelmed by any of these three issues is unhealthy, plain and simple, and the Marriage Masters suggest that if you find yourself overwhelmed with any of the three A’s, take care of yourself (and your safety) first, and the marriage second.

In the end, the old saying holds true: where your attention goes, energy flows. So the next time you’re facing a mountain in your marriage, focus on the next foothold and soon enough you’ll find yourself over the top.

2. “There’s no such thing as a perfect marriage, only perfect moments.”
We were shocked to discover how much work went into creating a great marriage. We’d always figured, “Hey, I’ll just find my soul mate and things will naturally fall into place after that … we’ll live happily ever after.” Um, not so fast, one Marriage Master wife said with a certain look that meant business. “Whoever said being soul mates was going to be easy?”  Her husband of 52 years nodded, then added, “Marriage is a bed of roses, thorns and all.”

Any time two individuals live together (especially over 40 years) there are bound to be annoying, irritating, and frustrating experiences. But whether it’s the toothpaste cap, toilet seat, snoring, or the last-minute pull-the-car-over-to-check-the-score-of-the-game-at-the-local-bar move, one thing is for sure: the best marriages are served with an extra helping of acceptance for one another’s peccadilloes. “And that’s the beauty of marriage,” said Maurice, another Marriage Master. “All of our individualities, all of our wonderful differences. You gotta have friction. You can’t get any heat without friction.”

We would do well, they say, to expect non-perfection; practice patience and give the acceptance we want in return. There’s no doubt that this is hard work, but judging by the end result, it’s well worth the effort.

3. Unpack the Gunnysack

“People ask us our secret to marriage,” said John, married 48 years. “I tell them it’s the boxing gloves. We aren’t afraid to say what’s on our minds.”

Unexpressed frustrations in a marriage can pile up and weigh us down like an overloaded gunnysack. These accumulated frustrations can quickly turn into resentments. “Holding resentment is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die,” said Sally, married 50 years. “Resentment will eat away at your marriage.” The Marriage Masters encourage us to unpack the “gunnysacks” by opening the communication lines as frequently as possible.

But guess what? If we haven’t created and nurtured an environment where open, honest communication is welcomed and treated with diligent respect, then we can wave these crucial “clearing the air” moments goodbye. So where did some Marriage Masters go to build that trusting, open environment? Weekend marriage retreats! These powerful getaways stood out in many of our interviewees’ minds as the one experience that turned their faltering marriage into a flourishing one. The trick, of course, is convincing the husband to attend.

4. Never Stop Dating
It has been said that it’s the quality of time, not the quantity of time that matters. But now we know, thanks to the Marriage Masters, that it’s the quantity of quality time spent together that leads to a wonderful marriage. Whether it’s a vacation in the Bahamas, or simply spending a night at a local motel once a week, keeping the romance burning is easy: all you have to do is keep stoking the fire.

One woman, married 47 years before her husband passed away, disclosed her secret to lifelong love. Every night, when her husband came home from work, they went up to their bedroom and hung a sign on the door that read “Do Not Disturb: Marriage In Progress.” For the following fifteen minutes they’d focus all their attention on one another. No phones, no pets, no distractions; even the kids knew that mom and dad were not to be bothered. When asked what they did in their bedroom, she laughed and said she’d leave that to our imaginations.  That was probably best anyway.

5. “Love is a four-letter word spelled G-I-V-E”
Marriage Masters have a high degree of selflessness. “I’ll never forget what my mentor told my wife and me before we got married 42 years ago,” said a Marriage Master named Walter. “He looked at us and said, ‘Most people think marriage is 50/50.  It’s not. It’s 60/40. You give 60.  You take 40. And that goes for both of you.’”

It’s always super-apparent in the best of the best marriages that both spouses have followed this philosophy. Though it’s not a difficult concept to understand — putting one another first —it’s surely a bit more difficult to practice consistently, especially with the prevailing “Me first (and second)” mentality today. “The younger generations seem to have a sort of me-me-me mentality,” says Donna Lee, married 45 years. “The great part is that the me gets everything it needs when it puts the we first.”

6. Join the CMAT Club
Grandma Dorothy Manin, the inspiration for Project Everlasting with her 63 years of beautiful matrimony, formed an informal club when she turned 70 years old. She called it the CMAT club. The CMAT club stands for Can’t Miss A Thing and represents the idea that life is short, so make sure to enjoy as much as you can. The death rate for human beings hovers right around 100 percent, and is expected to remain there for … well, forever. Consider this: if the average life span is 77 years, then that means we only have 77 summers … 77 winters … 77 Christmas mornings … 77 New Years, and that’s it. The Marriage Masters know this all too well. It’s easy to get caught in the day-to-day craziness of life and, in the process, take our spouses for granted. A widow named Betty, married 54 years, says, “Now that he’s gone I wish I hadn’t had so many headaches.”

The Marriage Masters are here to remind us that this adventure we call life goes by in the blink of an eye; relish your sweetheart’s presence while he or she is still here.

7. The Discipline of Respect
“You can have respect without love,” said Tom, married 42 years, “but you can’t have love without respect.” His sentiments were not uncommon in our 250-plus interviews around the nation. By and large, the number one secret to a thriving, everlasting marriage, as declared by the Marriage Masters, is respect. It is the catalyst for all things beautiful in a relationship: trust, connection, authenticity, and love. Unfortunately, respect — in all its seeming simplicity — is too easily overlooked, leading to criticism and all the ugliness that eventually causes both spouses to wonder (and vehemently): How in the heck did I ever fall in love with this person?

“You are the master of your words until they are spoken,” a Marriage Master of 65 years pointed out. “Then they become the master of you … so choose your words carefully.”


Source: http://www.today.com/id/19031744/ns/today-today_health/t/secrets-long-happy-marriage/#.V8fuN2Y2vIU

Couples married for over 40 years reflect on how they did it

What these elderly couples have to say about love is a breath of fresh air 

We’ve all heard stories about sparks flying on a first date. The trick to a happy love life, though, is in maintaining the spark for a lifetime. These three couples remind us that it’s easier — yet much harder — than you think.When they were dating, Don and Flora Hutchinson were pragmatic about picking a partner with shared interests. “We talked a lot about our feelings, beliefs, goals, our faith and our future children when we were dating,” said Flora. “I wasn’t even sure I loved him at first, but I really liked to be with him, and I liked that we believed the same things.” Their enjoyment of one another built a life of play and togetherness — they spent weekends picnicking, hiking, swimming and fishing with their two children, and ate dinner together every night.

Both Don and Flora added, though, that maintaining their individuality was important for their success. “Flora learned how to fly a plane!” Don said. “I get airsick but I still loved when she would take me flying.” Meanwhile, Don kept his watchmaking skills and enjoyed his own hobbies. The happy couple will soon celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary.

Family is hugely important to both Ann and her husband Jim, who will celebrate their 62nd wedding anniversary at the end of this month. Ann beamed when she spoke of their four children, nine grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

“You know, Jim and I married when we were just 18 and 19,” said Ann. “I know that marrying young doesn’t work for a lot of couples, but it worked for us, and I think that’s because we approached our marriage with complete commitment even from a young age.” For the Ginnings, divorce was never an option, and the respect for their union helped sustain them through the hard times. “You know what else helped?” Ann asked. “Trust. Respect. And a sense of humor is really important, too.”

When I spoke with Melinda White, who just celebrated her 45th wedding anniversary with her husband Ron, it was clear that the two deeply value their friendship. “One of the things I love most about our marriage is our companionship,” Melinda said. “We do things together. We have shared dreams.”

She explained that couples often stagnate and turn away from each other when reality hits and dreams change. “We all have our goals, but life can often interfere. It’s by working through challenges and finding a way to make each other’s dreams come true — perhaps differently than first imagined — that marriage and a lifetime friendship is possible.”


Source: http://www.sheknows.com/love-and-sex/articles/1045755/elderly-couples-reflect-on-how-to-make-marriage-last

40 Lessons From 40 Years of Marriage

Four decades ago, I married Barbara Ann Peterson. Looking back now on the first 12 months of our marriage, I’d have to describe myself then as an idiot—repeatedly ignoring the dignity of the woman that God had brought me.

But after six children, 19 grandchildren, and decades of married life, I’ve learned some things. I think of them as 40 lessons from 40 years of marriage … and family … and life.

1. Marriage and family are about the glory of God.

Genesis 1:27 makes it clear, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” From the beginning, marriage has been central to God’s glory on planet Earth. The Bible begins with a marriage and ends with a marriage. What God designed, lifted up, and gave a transcendent purpose, man has dumbed down.

Many today make the purpose of marriage to be one’s personal happiness—of finding another person who meets my needs. God created marriage to reflect His image, to reproduce a godly heritage, and to stand together in spiritual battle. Your marriage, your covenant-keeping love, will be your greatest witness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Marriage is about the glory of God—not about the happiness of man.

2. Marriage is taking place on a spiritual battlefield, not on a romantic balcony.

Satan’s first attack on the image of God was to destroy the image-bearers’ relationship with Him. Then Satan went after Adam and Eve and their relationship with one another. If he targeted marriage to begin with, why would we think our marriages would be any different?

I think we often forget that our marriage—our family—can be targeted by the enemy to destroy the image-bearers, to destroy the legacy that is passed on to future generations.

I believe that the very definition of marriage is under attack today because of who created marriage, God.

3. Your spouse is not your enemy.

Ephesians 6:12 tells us that our battle is not against flesh and blood. Have you ever looked at your spouse in the morning as your enemy, asking God, “What did you do in bringing us together?” I have.

But the Scriptures tell us, your mate is not your enemy. Your mate is a gift from God to you. In all his imperfections—in all her imperfections—God has given you a gift. You can either receive it by faith, or you can reject it.

4. The couple that prays together stays together.

In the first months of my marriage, I went to a friend named Carl Wilson and said, “Carl, you’ve been married 25 years. You’ve got five kids. What’s the best single piece of advice you can give me, as a young man who’s just starting out his marriage?”

“Oh, that’s easy,” he said. “Pray with your wife every day.”

I said: “That’s it? ‘Pray with your wife’?”

“That’s it.”

So I went home, and Barbara and I started praying together. This worked really well for a couple of months … until the night when we went to bed facing opposite walls. Although it wasn’t the most comfortable position physically, it expressed where we were spiritually and emotionally.

There seemed to be a tap on my shoulder that night, and it wasn’t Barbara. God was speaking to me in my conscience. He said: “Hey, Rainey! Aren’t you going to pray with her tonight?” I said, “I don’t like her tonight!”

He said, “Yes, but you made the commitment to pray every day with your wife.” And I said, “But God, you know that in this situation, she is 90 percent wrong!”

God said, “Yes, but it was your 10 percent that caused her to be 90 percent wrong.”

I wanted to roll over and say, “Sweetheart, will you forgive me for being 10 percent wrong?” But after the words got caught in my throat, I said, “Will you forgive me for … ?”

Barbara and I are both strong-willed, stubborn, rebellious people. But we’ve been transformed by praying together. Now we are two strong-willed people who bow their wills before almighty God, on a daily basis, and invite Him into our presence.

Praying with your spouse will change the course of your marriage and legacy.

5. Isolation is a subtle killer of relationships.

Genesis 2:24 gives us a prescription from Scripture: Leave, cleave, and become one. The enemy of our souls does not want a husband and wife to be one. Instead, he wants to divide us.

In John 17, Jesus prayed for the church to be one. He realized that when we are in isolation, we can be convinced of anything.

Isolation kills relationships.

6. It’s easier for two broken people to build a marriage and family from the same set of biblical blueprints.

What would a physical house look like if you had two different architects, two different builders, and two different sets of blueprints? You’d get some pretty funny-looking houses, wouldn’t you? The same thing will happen in your marriage if you and your spouse are building your relationship and family from different plans.

For the past 37 years, FamilyLife has hosted Weekend to Remember® marriage getaways. If you haven’t been to this with your spouse, I encourage you to go. Weekend to Remember speakers explain God’s blueprints for a successful marriage and family, and transparently share from their own lives.

7. It is healthy to confess your sins to your spouse.

James 5:16 reminds us, “Confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed.”

If you want to be healthy, develop a marriage relationship where your spouse has access to the interior of your soul. Are you struggling with bitterness over a betrayal? I’ve been through that. I’ve asked Barbara, “Will you pray for me?”

Maybe you’re struggling with a bad attitude … a sense of rebellion … toying with something you shouldn’t be toying with. Bring your spouse into the interior of your soul so that you may be healed.

8. It is impossible to experience marriage as God designed it without being lavish in your forgiveness of one another.

Ephesians 4:32 says we should forgive each other “just as God in Christ forgave you.”

Failing to forgive or to ask for forgiveness kills oneness, and unity, and life in a marriage.

I love this statement by Ruth Bell Graham: “A happy marriage is the union of two good forgivers.” Why is this true? Because forgiveness means we give up the right to punish the other person. In a marriage relationship there are plenty of things (either committed or omitted) where you’re going to have to give up the right to punish the other person. Bitterness does not create oneness.

9. One of the greatest threats in any marriage is losing a teachable heart.

Proverbs 4:23 reminds us, “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.” Most of us do all we can to prevent a heart attack. Why? Because there’s a simple equation: If the heart dies, you die.

The Bible is filled with references to the heart. In fact, the Great Commandment is one that calls our heart to love God totally and fully, and to love our neighbor as ourselves. Pay attention to your heart. Guard it lest it become hardened or not teachable.

A teachable heart is a spiritually-receptive heart. When was the last time you asked your spouse to forgive you? When did you last listen to a child who had perhaps been hurt by you?

Remember, from the heart flows the springs of life.

10. Every couple needs a mentor couple who is one lap ahead of them in the seasons of life.

Who’s your couple? Who’s your person? If you’re a newlywed, you need someone to coach you on the habits you establish at the beginning of your marriage. If you’re starting out with your kids, you need someone just to say: “You know what? This is normal. This is the way it happens.”

Even if you are moving into the empty nest with adult children, I’ve got news for you: You really need a mentor in that phase! Relating to adult children has been more challenging than the terrible twos—not because our kids are bad kids. It just didn’t turn out the way I envisioned it.

Who’s your mentor? Be careful about who’s speaking into your life.

11.  What you remember is just as important as what you forget. 

We tend to suffer from spiritual amnesia.  Wanting to remember God’s faithfulness, I started a spiritual milestone file in 1998. It now has 920 reminders in it—remembrances of the little things, and the big things, that God has done.

Milestones remind us of three things: what God has done; who God is—His provision, care, and deliverance; and the need to trust God and walk by faith.

When we forget the deeds of God, we will ultimately forget to trust Him.

12. Marriage was designed by God to be missional.

Matthew 28:19 says, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations …”  And Acts 13:36 says, “For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep …”

I want to be about the purposes of God, in my generation, with my wife.  She is a partner in ministry.  We are not two individual people who are just successfully going our own way.  We are two people who work at merging our life purpose and mission together so that we increasingly share it as we move toward the finish line.

The other evening, Barbara and I sat in our living room in two chairs that we bought in 1972 for $5 apiece.  They’ve been reupholstered three times.  We sat in those chairs, talking about, “Should we reupholster them, or go buy new ones?”  I turned to her and I said:  “You know what?  We have not given our lives to stuff.”

Now, do we live in a nice home?  Do we live better than we deserve? Absolutely. But as imperfect as we are, as many struggles as we’ve had, we are headed toward the same mission.  We are a part of the Great Commission.  We want to be fulfilling the great commandment, together as a couple.

My challenge to you is this: As a couple, believe God for too much, rather than too little. Remember what A.W. Tozer said, “God is looking for people through whom He can do the impossible.  What a pity we plan to do the things we can only do by ourselves.”

Life can wear you down.  It can wear you out.  Disappointment chips away at faith.  As a couple, you have to work on this to go to the finish line.

13. It’s okay to have one rookie season, but it’s not okay to repeatedly repeat it.

I was an idiot in our first 12 months of marriage—repeatedly ignoring the dignity of the woman that God had brought me.

The lessons that you learn need to be applied. It’s not good to repeat rookie errors in your 39th season of marriage.

14. Never use the d-word in your marriage.   

Never threaten divorce in your marriage. Never let the d-word cross your lips, ever!  Instead, use the c-word—commitment, covenant, covenant-keeping love that says, “I’d marry you all over again.”

I can still remember an argument my parents had when I was five years old and divorce was not in vogue.  Your kids are highly sensitized to what your relationship is like and how you communicate when you disagree. Let them hear of your commitment to one another.

15. Honor your parents.

Exodus 20:12 is the first commandment with a promise: “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.”

Our marriage was brought to life as we honored our parents.  We are a generation that has bashed and blamed our parents, ignoring this commandment.  It is time for us to return home to our parents with honor.  A practical way you can do that is by writing them a tribute and, then, by reading it to them.

Instead of giving your parents a dust buster for Christmas, or a tie, or a pair of house slippers, give them a tribute, thanking them for what they did right.  Barbara did this with her parents.  I did it with mine.  Honoring your parents is a life-giver.

16. Different isn’t wrong; it’s just different.

We marry one another because we’re different, and we divorce each other because we’re different.  When Barbara and I moved into the empty-nest phase, we discovered that we are much more different than we ever imagined.  Here’s the key—your spouse’s differences are new capacities that God has brought to your life to complete you.

Barbara’s an artist and as we began our empty-nest years I told her, “Wherever you go, you make things beautiful.”  You see, I didn’t appreciate beauty.  I had no idea how beauty reflected the glory of God. Your spouse is God’s added dimension to your life.

17. Marriage and family are redemptive.

Being married to Barbara and having six kids has saved me from toxic self-absorption.  The way to have a godly marriage and family is the same path as coming to faith in Christ.  It is surrender—giving up your rights to Him first, then to your spouse—serving them.

I have a confession to make.  I mistakenly thought that God gave Barbara and me six children so that we could raise them. Now I think that He gave me six children, so He could finish the process of helping me grow up.  Nothing has taught me more about self-sacrifice and following God’s Word than loving and leading my children.

18. A man’s wife is his number one disciple. 

Bill Bright, founder of Campus Crusade for Christ (now called Cru in the United States), said countless times that a man’s wife should be his number one disciple.

Husbands, help your wife grow as a Christian. It’s the smartest thing you could possibly do. When your wife grows in this area, not only does she triumph at life, but you benefit as well.

19. Go near the orphan.

When you go near the orphan, as a couple, you go near the Father’s heart.  Barbara and I went near the orphan, and we adopted one of our six children. I’ve learned more about the Father’s heart through adoption—of choosing a child and unconditional love. This is pure and undefiled religion.

20. Make your home a storm shelter.

I grew up in southwest Missouri and spent many a night in a cellar, down with the potatoes and green beans. It was a musty smelling place. I was down there trying to dodge a tornado that never hit.

In Matthew 7:24-27, Jesus compares two builders of two homes—both in storms.  We should get a clue from that: We’re going to build our marriage, our family, our home in the midst of storm warnings, floods, wind, and rain.

Barbara nearly died on four different occasions; she had a heart rate of more than 300 beats a minute. I often imagined life as a single dad, until we got her heart problem fixed. And then there was a 13-year-old son, our athletic son, who was stricken with a rare neurological disorder.  There was a prodigal.  There was the day my dad died.  There were short paychecks in ministry.  There were challenges in my ministry—all kinds of issues with people.

Your marriage covenant is more than just saying, “I do,” for a lifetime.  It is for better and for worse.

Make your home a storm shelter—a safe place to go in a storm.

21. Suffering will either drive you apart, or it will be used by God to merge you together.

Scripture teaches that our response to God and His Word is the difference-maker in how we handle suffering.  You and your spouse have to decide to suffer together rather than falling apart.

22. Men and women process suffering very differently.

It is a wise husband who gives his wife space and grace to process loss and suffering differently from how he processes it. After Barbara recovered from several near-death experiences when her heart raced over 300 beats a minute, I remember wanting her to flip a switch and move on with life.  That was easy for me to say. I hadn’t been the one who they took away in an ambulance with a heart beating so fast that the bed was shaking.

23.  Loss is a part of life and increases as we age.

How you and your spouse process loss, by faith, will determine whether you grow old and bless others, giving them life, or whether you grow old and curse others, becoming a bitter crotchety old person.

Process loss well.

24. Communication is the life-giver of a relationship. 

Simply put, find a way to get five, ten, fifteen minutes together to talk every day.  Turn the TV off, set the computer aside, take a walk, and just talk with each other.

Barbara and I used to do this and walk in our garden.  The kids thought we were just going out there to see the flowers bloom.  We were going out there to get away from them, so we could have a complete sentence between each other.

25. No shepherd can lead any faster than the sheep can follow. 

You are the guardian of your marriage and family’s direction and vision. C. H. Spurgeon said, “It was by perseverance the snail reached the ark.”  Sliming my way to the finish line is the great hope for me as the spiritual leader of my family.  After you fail (and you will), get back up.

When the kids were young, our family devotionals were chaos—flipping peas, spilling milk, crawling under the table.  Who knows what they heard?  No shepherd can lead any faster than the sheep can follow.

26. Maximize your wife’s talents, gifts, experience, and passion as you would an Olympic athlete. 

Ephesians 5 talks to men about loving their wives as they love their own bodies. Help your wife accomplish everything that God has in mind for her.

Do an inventory of her gifts, her talents, her passions.  What motivates her?  What demotivates her?  Pray for her and her vision.  What are her core competencies?  Dream some dreams together, and don’t wait until you’re in the empty nest to dream the dreams.  Start dreaming even when you’re building your family.

27. Wives, your respect will fuel your husband, and your contempt will empty his tank. 

Ephesians 5:33 commands wives to respect their husbands.  Ladies, keep in mind that 93 percent of all communication is non-verbal.  How are you expressing belief in your man non-verbally?

Barbara’s belief in me as a man has helped me excel.  It’s not a blind belief, but it’s a belief that speaks the truth in love.

28: Women spell romance differently than men. 

Women spell romance r-e-l-a-t-i-o-n-s-h-i-p. But men spell it: s-e-x. God, in His cosmic genius, has brought two very different people together in marriage who are to dance together. And what an interesting dance when I think that I understand my wife. For example, I bring her roses, and I write her a note, and I fix dinner, and put the kids to bed, and that equals sex.

So, as a man, I begin to think, “A+B+C=D.  It did last night.”  So, I try it again the next night or perhaps a few nights later.  Roses, a nice meal, put the kids to bed—“Huh?”  Nada.  “Huh?”

So, I went to Barbara: “What’s the deal?  You changed the equation.”

Would you like to know what she said: “As a woman, I don’t want to be reduced to an equation.  I want to be pursued as a person relationally.”

29. Your marriage must be built to outlast the kids. 

Our romance gave us children, and our children tried to steal our romance.

Barbara and I had to make an effort to have special dinners together and go on short getaways two or three times a year. We fought to keep these times on the schedule.  It was a hassle finding a babysitter, but time alone together was worth it.

30. Build too many guardrails around your relationship rather than too few. 

Men, don’t trust yourself alone with the opposite sex.  I have asked people to go out of their way to take me to speaking engagements instead of one woman taking me.  I’ve got a friend who won’t get in an elevator alone with a woman.  You may say that’s a little extreme.  Let me tell you something.  Given the fallout today in ministry, I’m not sure it’s extreme.

31. Wives generously use your sexual power in your husband’s life. 

I think that one of the mistakes we make when we read chapters 5-7 in Proverbs (which is a father’s advice to a son about the harlot) is to believe that sexual power over a man is limited to just a woman in the streets.

I think Proverbs 5-7 gives women an interesting glimpse into how to encourage and bless her husband—by speaking love to him in the language that would encourage him.  Ladies, use your sexual power liberally with your husbands.

32. The first essence of rearing children is “identity.”

This has to do with disciplining your child to know his or her spiritual destiny and spiritual address.  It also has to do with his or her sexual identity as well.  This culture is seeking to distort the image of God imbedded in boys and girls; we have to help our children know how to navigate those waters.

33. The second essence of rearing children is “relationship.” 

Disciple your child to know what real love is, how to love another imperfect person, and how to experience love as a human.  The Great Commandment makes it clear (Matthew 22:34-40). Life is about relationships.  It’s about a relationship with God, loving Him, and it’s also about loving others on the horizontal.

34. The third essence of rearing children is “character.”

The book of Proverbs talks about this, obviously.  It is disciplining your child to be wise and not be a fool.

35. The fourth essence of rearing children is “mission.” 

It is no mistake that the Scriptures compares children to arrows in the hands of a warrior.  Arrows are meant to be pulled back by an archer, aimed at a target, and let go.

What are you aiming them toward?  What are you challenging your children to give their lives to?  The Kingdom’s work is paramount.  We’re going to need another generation to carry on should Christ tarry.

36. Determine your core values as a couple.

In the early years of Barbara’s and my marriage, we went on a little retreat together. She got alone and wrote down the top ten core values that she wanted to produce in our children.  I got alone, separate from her, and wrote out my top ten core values for the kids.

Then we got together and prioritized them, agreeing on our top five.  Those five helped us to not compare our family with other families, but to do just what God had called us to do.  And it helped us be one as a couple

37. Interview your daughter’s date, and train your sons not to be clueless.

May I suggest two books that I wrote: Interviewing Your Daughter’s Date andAggressive Girls, Clueless Boys?

In today’s culture, even our little eight year old/nine year old boys are being preyed upon by older girls. It is bizarre.

I was recently told about a young man who went away for a Passport2Purity®weekend, which is a weekend getaway, with his father.  He was 11 years old.  After learning about the birds and the bees for the first time, he arrived back home. Two days later, two eighth grade girls asked him to have sex with them.  He said, “No”—told them to leave.

38.  Become smaller, not bigger, in the lives of your adult children.

As Barbara and I have watched our grown children manage their own families and extended families, we have learned that we must become small.  By this I mean that we cannot fix their problems. We can give advice when asked, but not unless we are asked.

39.   As I get older, I want to laugh more with my wife, gripe less, and be found guilty of giving her too much love, grace, and mercy rather than too little. 

40. Have a view of God that will guide you all of your days.

What you think about God is important. Your view of God, of who He is and the blueprints of His Word, will guide you all your days through many valleys and mountaintops in ministry.


Source: http://www.familylife.com/articles/topics/marriage/archived-content/miscellaneous/40-lessons-from-40-years-of-marriage-entire-list

Why Couples Divorce After 40 Years

Former Vice President Al Gore and his wife Tipper never showed public signs of a disintegrating relationship, so for many, the couple’s announcement that they are separating after 40 years of marriage comes as a surprise.

“I’m shocked — beyond shocked,” family friend Chris Downey told the Washington Post on Tuesday, as pundits and journalists reminisced about the couple’s moments in the public eye.

Though every marriage is different, a divorce after 40 years is “unusual,” said Robert Levenson, a psychologist at the University of California, Berkeley, who studies marriage across the lifespan. Most divorces occur early in marriage, Levenson said.

“It’s striking when a couple has been together 40 years and then they call it quits,” Levenson told LiveScience. “It’s not what we would expect.”

Marriages get in trouble when the couple’s situation or relationship changes and the partners can’t adapt, Levenson said. The birth of the first child is particularly fraught, he said. Tensions over housekeeping, finances and childrearing can run high. A 2000 study published in the Journal of Marriage and the Family by Levenson and psychologist John Gottman, now at the Gottman Relationship Institute, found that divorces during this period tended to be marked by anger and vicious fights.

As couples overcome challenges together, however, relationships strengthen. People report more marital satisfaction in midlife, with abump in bliss as the children grow up and leave home, Levenson said.

“A lot of couples rediscover each other,” Levenson said.

In fact, said Terri Orbuch, a University of Michigan psychologist and author of “5 Simple Steps to Take Your Marriage from Good to Great” (Random House 2009), people are often happier by their 35th anniversary than they were when they first got married.

According to friends of the couple, the Gores cited “growing apart” as the reason for their split. That’s a common reason for midlife divorces, Orbuch said. Relationship ruts and boredom are common. Spouses forget to show appreciation for each other, leading to frustration and loneliness. Orbuch’s research has shown that marriages with husbands who don’t feel appreciated are twice as likely to end. Divorces in this phase of life are often marked by coldness and emotional withdrawal, according to Gottman and Levenson’s 2000 study.

“Things can start out small and seemingly insignificant,” Orbuch said. “What happens is they accumulate over time and they become bigger and bigger.”

Couples can overcome these challenges by communicating, learning to fight fair, and discussing each other’s expectations for the relationship. To overcome ennui, Orbuch said, both parties should focus on adding spice to the relationship, which can be as simple as a new restaurant or vacation spot.

“Happy couples that are still together over time change things up,” she said. “They knock each other off balance just a little bit.”


Article Source: http://www.livescience.com/9947-couples-divorce-40-years.html

This Is REALLY How A Marriage Changes Over 40 Years

When I mention I recently celebrated my 40th wedding anniversary, friends stare incredulously as if to say, “How is that possible?” I joke that I was a child bride in an arranged marriage, sold with a dowry to the highest bidder. The truth is I did vow “I do” at 23.

My husband, Steve, and I married young and had a child late.

When I met Steve, I was still grieving over my college sweetheart, who’d left me for medical school and a fear of commitment. Dubiously, I agreed to a blind date. Steve was 26 and still wearing a retainer, a remnant of braces he’d put on to avoid Vietnam.

I moved in with him six months later. My mother refused to visit us and warned, “Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?”

Then one night, an “old” married friend, tired of watching us smooch, asked, “When are you two getting married already?” Back in our living-in-sin apartment, Steve asked, “Do you think we should get married?” He didn’t get down on one knee. “Yes, do you?” I asked back.

Products of the Great Depression, my parents wanted me to marry “up” the economic ladder. Mom still hid cash under her mattress. At first, she was disappointed in my husband. Her mantra: “It’s just as easy to fall in love with a rich man as a poor one.”

Instead, she got a son-in-law who doted on her more than her own son. Steve drove her to doctors’ appointments, changed light bulbs when she could no longer balance herself without a walker, patiently listened to her stories I’d heard too many times before, never bored.

Mom froze the top layer of our wedding cake and served it to us on our first anniversary; I wished she was still around to bore me with her same-old stories on my 40th.

For Better or Worse

As newlyweds devoted to our careers, Steve and I swam laps after work and grabbed a burrito at 10 p.m. He was a businessman, working long hours. He encouraged me to leave my teaching job and write full-time, in spite of reducing our income.

His parents, the only ones in their social circle unable to wear cute baby charms necklaces, pressured us to reproduce. My mother, who already had grandchildren, advised us, “Why have kids? You’re enjoying your life.”

Our life was full of ambition, foreign films, lazy Sunday afternoons in bed. We strayed from our friends who had kids, moved to the suburbs and talked about garage door openers. They seemed envious of our carefree existence, and we were afraid of becoming them.

I stood by my husband during a year of unemployment and what-do-I-want-to-do-with-the-rest-of-my-life? I had back surgery (successful) and he had his first colonoscopy (polyps gone!). I took dance classes and he studied karate. We sojourned to romantic inns in New England. We went to our grandparents’ funerals. I had a miscarriage.

I was 39. We were ready to settle down. We were terrified of settling down.

“I don’t want our relationship to change,” I told him.

“You’re the most important person in the world to me,” he said. “Nothing will change.”

“And no garage door openers.”

“We live in a twenty-one story high-rise,” he said, laughing.

I delivered our daughter, Amy, at the age of 41. We were naïve to think our relationship wouldn’t change. Google “ruin a marriage by having children,” and 79.9 million results pop up.

Our romance shifted to the cute baby, the toddler who exhausted us, the preschooler in blatant Oedipal phase, showering Steve with neon-colored hearts: I LOVE YOU DADDY!!!!!

We evolved into soccer parents and chefs de cuisine, nursemaids cleaning up vomit, neurotic parents surviving an overnight hospitalization when our 3-year-old became dehydrated. All the while managing my mother’s care as she disappeared into Lewy body dementia. Watching a parent die adds no romance to a marriage.

No wonder we were spent the first time we dropped Amy off at college. We drove home dazed. Wandered around the streets like jet-lagged tourists, looking for a quick dinner. Neither one of us could speak. Finally: “Want another slice, or are you done?” my husband asked. “I’m done,” I replied. Everyone around us looked under 30. Why were they eating dinner so late? We’d become accustomed to six o’clock meals to feed a cranky child. We liked our new habit — in spite of having made fun of our parents for insisting on all those early-bird specials.

The City of Love

A few months earlier, we’d taken Amy to Paris as a graduation trip. The city of love we’d explored three decades ago. Strolling by the Seine at sunset, we passed couples dangling their feet over the river’s edge. We had an argument that brought me to tears, one of those marital tiffs where, later, neither one of us could remember why it had started.

Amy wondered if we’d ever been in love like these couples on the Seine? Yes we had, and still were. It’s impossible to explain the evolution of a long marriage to an 18-year-old. I vowed to never turn into the marriage of my parents. I remember the shock when my mother told me, “Daddy and I still make love.” She was in her seventies.

After my father died, a man romanced her as if he were 20, rather than 82. I saw my mother smitten, the way she must have been with my father when he first courted her. By the time children grow up, we view our parents in a different phase of their marriage and can’t imagine they’d once been youthful lovers.

Steve and I have seen each other naked in lust, and we’ve bathed each other when surgery scars were raw. We’ve watched a baby come into the world, created from love. We’ve morphed from lovers to parents to empty nesters, filling up the empty space with books, hobbies, naps. Discovering conversations to share about politics. Sharing dreams of retirement. Together, but not knowing what this next phase will be like.

Till Death Do Us Part

Our grandparents’ unions ended in widowhood, marriages shortened by tuberculosis and heart attacks. Our parents’ generation stayed married because they were supposed to. My own parents’ marriage almost made it to 50 years, until my father’s death cut it short.

Our divorced friends have been traumatized, regretful, but never ostracized. When my daughter was in preschool, her teacher glanced around during a parent visiting day and whispered, “By kindergarten, half will be divorced.”

This is the 40th time my husband and I have exchanged anniversary cards. We’re not big on gifts, but cards are an unwritten agreement in our marriage contract. I try to think of something profound to write. Our marriage has been ordinary and extraordinary. What is new to express? Maybe “we’re still married” is enough. Not out of duty, sentimentality or societal norm. Out of love, a lot of perseverance, a bit of luck and the courage to open a slammed door after an argument and say “sorry.”

Perhaps I should use someone else’s words on my husband’s card. A humorous message? “The secret of a happy marriage remains a secret,” Henny Youngman. A philosophical one from Nietzshe? “It is not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages.” Or something literary, from Simone Signoret: “Chains do not hold a marriage together. It is hundreds of tiny threads, which sew people together through the years.” Or a song from Sondheim: “Good times and bum times, I’ve seen ’em all/And, my dear, I’m still here.”

When I met Steve, I never imagined what we’d look like four decades later. The only images that came to mind were from previous generations: cranky women in housedresses, distant men in golf shirts, wives making roast beef dinners for husbands who’d arrive home loosening their ties after a tiring commute. Saturday-night bridge games, blaming each other for making the wrong bid.

Splurging on an elegant French dinner, I see an older version of the man who talked to me for hours before we first saw each other’s faces, conversing as if we’d always known each other. Now we run out of things to say. His habits can be annoying. Sometimes he’s inflexible. So am I. He’s also kind, empathetic, always there in a crisis. I hope I am, too.

We play a game in restaurants, predicting what each other will order. Our accuracy rate is 95 percent.

With This Ring

Our fingers have sagged and spread, even though neither of us is overweight. It’s been years since we wore the gold bands we exchanged long ago, announcing our status.

On the eve of this anniversary, I enlist a friend in the jewelry business to see if I can get my ring resized. He measures my finger, examines the inside of the ring.

“I have to warn you,” he says, “the inscription might get ruined if the ring is stretched.”

I love you, U-Bet, Steve had inscribed. I taught him how to make egg creams when everything about each other was still so new. The key to the recipe is U-Bet, the champagne of chocolate syrups manufactured where I grew up, Brooklyn’s nectar of the gods.

My jeweler friend returns with bad news. My ring has a hairline crack and might break if stretched. It is beyond repair.

“She can wear it on a chain around her neck,” Steve suggests.

“That’s what we did in high school,” the jeweler says, laughing.

I once removed it before knee surgery. I used soap to force the ring to part with my fourth finger. Now I return the ring to my dresser, nestling it on a velvet cushion. I feel sad, but the mood lifts when I realize and hope this will be the worst news I ever receive about our 40 years together. We have outgrown our wedding rings, but not our marriage.


Article Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/the-real-and-true-secret-to-a-40-year-marriage_us_576ada97e4b09926ce5d6657

One in seven couples over 40 don’t talk about money

One in seven couples over the age of 40 have never discussed their their long-term finances, a survey has found, over fears of having an “awkward conversation”.

According to Prudential, 14 per cent of couples over the age of 40 – equivalent to around 4.2 million people – admit that they have never spoken about finances such as pensions or retirement planning with one another. The biggest reason is because it makes them feel “uncomfortable”.

Many also fear that discussions about finances would “boil over” into arguments.

Vince Smith-Hughes, retirement expert at Prudential said: “Money can be a tough topic to discuss at the best of times. Many couples prefer to steer clear of conversations about finances, and especially discussions about longer-term issues like retirement which might feel light-years away.”

Prudential polled over 2,000 people.

7 Unusual Wedding Gifts For Couples Over 40

couple over forty dating

What do you get the couple that has two of everything? It’s a difficult situation to be in– two people have built lives apart, and now they’re starting one together. This means they’re already throwing or giving away many of the things that would have made the best wedding gifts twenty years ago; that blender you found is nice but, if both of them already have a blender, two of those three are going to end up in a thrift shop getting ogled by Macklemore fanboys. So where does that leave you? It’s an old cliche, but in this case it really is the thought that counts. Here are some out of the box, unusual wedding gifts that they’ll really enjoy… at least more than another blender.

1. Babysitting

If they waited this long to get married, chances are one or both of them already has kids. Offer to babysit. Not only is this unusual wedding gift entirely free, it’s also an opportunity for them to get out of the house and spend time together– something that’s difficult but necessary for newlyweds with young children.

2. Home Computer

Chances are that they both have their own computer, but now that they’re getting married they are going to have many more shared accounts, or at least a shared email. Go in with a friend to get them a home computer so they’ll have a place to centralize their new joint presence online.

3. Gifts to Stay Active

The two of them are old enough now to have a lot of their own interests, but that never means they’re too old to try something new. Get them matching gifts that will help them lead an active lifestyle together, like snorkel sets or pedometers. It’s a fun way for them to spend time together while staying in shape and trying new things.

4. Custom Embosser

The couple is consolidating down to one address, and is about to send out a ton of cards in the form of thank you notes. Make it easy on them with anembosser customized with their home address. It’s a bit unusual for a wedding gift, but many couples list it as the best wedding gift they received.

5. Plant a Tree

If they truly have everything, then planting a tree is the way to go. It’s classy, it’s eco friendly and, best of all, it can be done at the last minute in your pajamas. Truly the perfect wedding gift.

6. Fancy Booze Set

They may already have a kitchen so decked out that nothing you get could come close to comparing, but anyone will enjoy a nice bottle of wine or their favorite spirit. You can pick these out yourself or, if you wouldn’t know good booze from hobo juice, you can buy one of these wine or scotchboxes that come with custom glasses– perfect for the honeymoon.

7. Cooking Class

A cooking class will be a fun thing for them to do together, and even the most masterful chef can learn something from taking a class on more exotic cuisines. Try coordinating the class theme with a specialty kitchen gift, like a chinese stir fry class paired with a wok.

What would you buy for a couple over 40? We want to hear about it! Seriously; and we’re not just saying that because you’re so attractive.


Article Source: http://theatozbooks.com/7-unusual-wedding-gifts-for-couples-over-40/