Sharing your life with someone is a simple way to help combat the stresses of the modern world. Just having someone in your corner is an important psychological antidote to the pressure of a world whose complexities are ever increasing. Then of course, there are the physiological upsides of intimacy that go hand in hand with companionship.
But, with the rapid advancements in modern medicine, people are living longer and the pressure to keep the fire burning in a relationship that can span as many as five decades, is a pressure in itself.
Take Barry and Sharon for example. They recently celebrated their fiftieth wedding anniversary – dubbed golden because of its rarity. They’ve raised children into capable adults, survived catastrophic global events and literally seen the planet change before their very eyes – but, critically, they’ve done it together.
Sharon says; “Spending your life with someone is difficult. They have annoying habits when you meet them and they develop new bad habits over time that can drive you up the wall. Being able to laugh about it is the only way to stay together through thick and thin.” Barry adds; “A thick skin doesn’t hurt either!”
So, here are Barry and Sharon’s 5 key tips for a happy, healthy, stress busting and long lasting marriage.
Laugh. A lot.
“Sometimes you can either laugh or cry. I choose to laugh,” says Sharon. There are things Barry does that drive me insane. But, I’ve learned that after all these years he’s not going to change. So, now I joke about them. Most of the time.
Don’t go to bed angry.
“Sleep is so important to our moods. If we go to bed angry, we wake up angry. And then a small argument can turn into a week of resentment and pent up animosity,” says Barry. “So, when we argue, we go until it’s bedtime and then we call a truce. Because we make amends, we can barely remember what it was about in the morning!” adds Sharon.
Learn to be apart.
“Having time apart doesn’t mean the end of a marriage,” says Sharon. “Go on fishing trips, have girl’s weekends away, visit your grandchildren on your own. It’s true that absence makes the heart grow fonder.”
Ask each other about your day.
“After 25years, Sharon stopped asking me how my day was. And, I stopped asking her. We’d just watch TV and go to bed. It was horrible,” says Barry. “But we recognized it quickly and agreed that no matter how much or how little happened that we’d find time to share it every evening. It’s not about reporting back, but rather about connecting our lives and experiences.”
Human contact is proven to increase the production of feel good endorphins, one of the many reasons that couples who cuddle stay together. “As you get older, it becomes less about passion and more about appreciation. The powerful, unspoken affection that comes from holding hands or a hug can speak volumes and give one a real physical sense of having a partner in life,” says Barry.
So, if finding someone to share your life with isn’t high up on your agenda, perhaps it’s time to bump it up a few rungs – the emotional and physical benefits can be enormous.