Congratulations on your relationship! Whether you’ve been married a short or long time, our relationships can often benefit from reminding ourselves of the basics!
Here are some communication tips that baby boomers should find helpful, especially if you’ve been in your relationship for a very long time.
Talk to your honey as if they are someone you love.
Do your words reflect respect and admiration or irritation and annoyance? Do you remember to say please, thank you, and it was my pleasure? Or are you taking each other for granted – skipping the polite talk because you have become lazy in your gratefulness.
Although it’s wonderful to know someone so well that you can be casual, remembering your manners and gratitude for the other person is a thoughtful expression of love.
Be attractive with your words.
Think about when you first met – your words were likely filled with optimism and hope for your future together. Do you still express optimism and hope?
Sometimes not processing the pressures and circumstances of life cause resentment to build, and it becomes reflected in our speech. Do your best to own your feelings and express yourself in an attractive way.
If there are issues that need to be addressed – make a plan and address them. Get help from a therapist or trusted third party if you need some help mediating issues. Marriage therapy can benefit the best of marriages – and is well worth the investment.
Talk about the Big 3
When i was studying marriage therapy, I was surprised to find out that the three topics couples most avoid talking about are communication, sex, and death.
When was the last time you shared your hearts on these topics? Even if you have spoken about these topics in the past – talk about them again! Your ideas may have changed.
If you are in a new relationship – for sure, talk about the big 3. Coming into agreement on these topics lay an important foundation for an enjoyable relationship.
Are you both happy with the way you two are communicating? Do you know your partner’s love language, and are you regularly speaking in such a way that he/she receives your love?
Do you have any bad communication habits like walking out of a room instead of finishing a conversation? Do you ask your partner how they feel, or do you assume you know?
It’s cute that you can finish each other’s sentences, but it can be irritating if you are a constant interrupter. It’s good to check in with each other regularly to see if there are any unfinished discussions, so little irritations don’t become blown out of proportion.
How’s your sexual relationship? Are you enjoying or avoiding each other sexually? What’s going on? Empty nesters who communicate well in this area often talk about experiencing a new found freedom in their sexual relationship.
Talk about sex
Be spontaneous with sex and plan for sex. Enjoy being together. If you find this topic uncomfortable – find a book and read it together, discussing the chapters along the way. Check out “Hot Monogamy” by Patricia Love
If you are out of shape – there’s no time like now to get started walking and dropping those extra pounds. The healthier you feel, the sexier you’ll feel.
Are there medications or supplements you take that interfere with your libido? Talk to your doctor about what needs to happen for you to ween off that medication or if there is a better alternative.
IMPORTANT: Have you ever had your hormones checked by a doctor specializing in bio-identical hormones?
Don’t accept the pat answer that your hormone levels are right for your age – lack of libido can lead to depression, which is a serious condition. However, medical professionals often overlook treating declining testosterone and instead prescribe an-anti-depressant that depletes the libido. I am not a doctor, and I would never suggest anyone continue with untreated depression – however, you know yourself, pursue healthy hormone levels (not just for your age!).
There is a fairly easy fix for declining testosterone in both men and women, which can wreak havoc on their sex life. Check out the book, The Secret Female Hormone by Dr. Kathy Maupin. She addresses the science behind testosterone treatment for women and men.
End of Life
As my father in law is fond of saying,’ “None of us get out of here alive.” It’s important to talk about death and everything that goes with it. Do you have a will, a trust, and durable powers of attorney should you not be able to make financial or medical decisions? Please don’t think it won’t happen to me, so I don’t need to prepare for it.
It is important to talk about your desires of end of life care and burial v. Cremation, etc….Don’t leave this to a grieving spouse to decide.
Another very important topic to discuss is remarriage. If you have a sizable estate together, explore trust options with an attorney so that in the case of your death, things are as smooth as possible for the surviving spouse. Don’t be the spouse that wants to punish from the grave and leaves his/her spouse in a financial and legal mess.
Some of my widow and widower friends really regret that they didn’t have better communication on this topic.
I think it is a huge gift to be able to give the surviving spouse the knowledge that you love them and have been clear in your wishes, so they don’t agonize over every choice. I also have seen first hand how beautiful it can be when the spouse you’ve grown old/up with releases you in advance to have an enjoyable life after their passing.