When you're in a long-term loving, passionate relationship -- at any age, it's something worth protecting. To keep a relationship strong, like a muscle, it needs to be exercised, attended to, and thoughtfully, joyfully played with. My 25 year marriage with my husband isn't my first, so I admit that previous to meeting him, I had to learn the hard way that love doesn't always work, and sometimes people grow apart, and there are times when saying goodbye is the word that must be said, rather than the words, I love you.
Still, when love comes into your life, and you feel it in your bones, nurture it and cultivate it, because it is something we all long for, and we want it at every age.
What I've learned about love in all these years, is that we can make or break a relationship by how we treat one another. Saying I love you every day is a given. Touching, hugging, looking into each others' eyes -- really seeing each other... these actions are paramount, and my husband and I do them every day.
Respect and trust are huge. Retaining who we are as individuals is also key. If people dissolve their uniqueness and become absorbed into "the other," eventually they will come to resent that, and that resentment rears its ugly head at some point in a relationship, and it's not pretty. It's critical to maintain mutual respect for each other. One finds that when respect is gone, it's pretty tough to do all the other things that bring energy and spice to a relationship, let alone the magic of love.
Though I'm 60, I don't remember I'm 60 until I walk past a mirror. Funny how life does that. My dad is the same... he's 88 but says he forgets his age until he happens to pass by a mirror, and then he's surprised by the image. You could call it selective amnesia, I prefer to call it being young-at-heart. People of all ages long for love and companionship, and we're lovable and sexy at all ages. Sexual desire and satisfaction can be part of the mix for as long as we live.
A word or two about sex. We still look good down there,males and females. Well, okay, I can only speak for my husband and myself at this point. But I know it's easy to suppose that one is over-the-hill at 50, but I want to point out that this is certainly not the case. Sixty is still very, very sexy. This kind of conversation actually creeps my kids out, but sexual love at 60 feels as good to me -- in fact better, than it did in my 20s, 30s, 40s, and 50s. Without being indiscreet, perhaps this has to do with me knowing exactly what I want now, knowing what my husband wants, being secure enough to ask for it, bold enough to be playful, and so on.
Suffice it to say, sex is important. It's not everything, but it's not going away any time soon, nor should it -- that is to say, if you can use it, use it! My husband and I plan to be doing it until we drop dead which we hope won't be for another 30 years or more. But, and this is a big but -- our love is strong enough to carry us through, even if traditional sex wasn't a huge part of the equation.
Keeping love alive at 60 is very much like keeping it alive at any age. You just need to be fully committed, attracted, and personally invested in it. When I track back to the early stages of my 25 year loving relationship, I learned that it was important to develop an understanding and interest in the career, hobbies, family and friends of my husband-to-be, while at the same time, we both knew we needed to create something unique and special that the two of us could do together. In our case, it was eating Japanese food -- particularly sushi. We set out to discover every great Sushi restaurant in town... it became our private time... communication time... eye-to-eye and hand-holding time.
At the end of the day, we're still on our honeymoon. We giggle. We get a kick out of each other. We are still in love. When I enter a room, I see my husband's head look up and I see him smile, and watch me move toward him with a twinkle in his eye, and I do the same for him. There is electricity between us. I still crave him. We know our love is precious, and we guard it carefully. Harsh words are not spoken between us. Respect and trust reign in our house.
This is love at sixty. I suspect it will be even more intense at 70. I'll keep you posted.