My husband and I started our journey 24 years ago but made it official November 27, 1992. I have found that no matter when you start your journey with your significant other, chances are you will end up in unchartered territory during midlife. Unfortunately there is no safe amount of years that guarantee a successful marriage. We have seen even in the media people who have been married almost 25 years fall apart. Tipper and Al Gore, Maria Shriver and Arnold Schwarzenegger, making you wonder if marriage was meant to last a lifetime? Consider this... we get married on average in our mid twenties to early thirties and many of us are living into our late eighties and early nineties. Let's be honest here. At least once by midlife we all roll over in bed and look at our significant other at one time or another and think "Holy Shit" this is what I am stuck with until death do us part? That is a long time! Statistics show that divorce has doubled for couples over 50. The 25 year itch is alive and well. One of the reasons might be Fantasy vs. Reality when it comes to marriage. According to Mary Jo Pederson an author and a national leader in Catholic Family Ministry, “Our expectations of marriage are so out of line,” Pedersen says. “Marriage isn’t supposed to make you happy, it’s supposed to make you married.
Navigating marriage at midlife is tricky because as my husband and I have found we are changing as individuals and our roles are changing as spouses, parents, siblings, and adult children. Throw in everyday life challenges and it's a new game with new rules. At 50 plus my husband chose a new career (gulp) earlier this year. We are hemorrhaging money with one in college now. We decided to put our house on the market and downsize. We are having to take care of our parents more, and the list goes on. So, how do we keep the attraction alive with the new roles and responsibilities that come with midlife marriages? Not to mention the declining tolerance of all our lacking attributes, habits, and just stuff in general that never bothered you in earlier years, but does now. For example: I could have the best intentions at 40+ when I get into bed at night. I'm refreshed, showered, cute nightgown and so ready for action. But with all the variables in our life right now, there is a five minute window once my head hits my pillow, before I am out cold! Our bodies and minds are not what they used to be when we first got married. So a tune up of new ideas, practiced rituals, and new tolerances are needed for the ever changing midlife. For us, the midlife secret to keeping sex alive in our marriage since I am a total fail at night... Morning Sex! I highly recommend it. Some of you may be saying TMI. But this blog is about telling it like it is at midlife, so let me explain. Before you start with the jokes of that's why Matuschka looks so disheveled in the morning. Read this article on the benefits of how morning sex can keep you looking and feeling young, healthy and elevated all day long. TIP: Keep mints or cough drops in your night stand.
Like every other marriage we have had some rough years and some amazing years. The roughest I will admit came during midlife when we hit 40. The reevaluation of your life which is very normal between 40-50 can put huge road bumps in marriages. But the one constant that has helped us through even the worst of times is laughter. This man I married made me wet my pants on one of our very first dates. To this day he still has me laughing so hard and with the bladder I have now... lets just say not much has changed. I know it's not up to my husband or my marriage to make me happy. The happiness comes from my choices and I choose him to share those experiences with me. Several years ago a therapist told us that if we wanted our marriage to last beyond midlife, a shift in expectations had to take place. The same way our expectations change with our teenage children, our aging parents and personally my expectations have changed for myself. Here are Nine Secrets to a Happy Marriage. More than all the things mentioned above we have always respected each other, fought fairly, and made up before bed... 90% of the time, oh okay maybe 85%. (I am hispanic... I tend to have loud discussions- he says I'm screaming at him WHATEVER- it works for us!) That's our marriage in a nutshell. It's not perfect, but it's celebrated for what it is. One of my dear friends Karen Drexler told me a good marriage is like a needle point belt. All the hard work, tangles and knots on the inside, makes it beautiful and woven tight on the outside. The design of our belt is still a work in progress. There is still plenty of blank canvas and I am not sure what pattern lies ahead. What I do know is that there is no other person I would rather be with to make the design in my life come alive.
Happy Anniversary Malcolm, Love Your Wife!
Keep looking forward so you don't miss what God puts in front of ya!
Matuschka's Midlife... Telling it like it is...