The recent rise in divorce rates among couples 50 and older dubbed ‘gray divorce’ has received a lot of attention lately. However, many long-term marriages continue to thrive. What is the secret to a lasting marriage? A Cornell University professor and author of a recent book regarding long-term marriage success provides some insight after surveying hundreds of men and women ages 65 and older. Apparently, friendship is king in the making of a lasting union.
According to the results of the study, a romantic spark is important, but over the long-term, friendship is what matters most. Part of being friends is being open to sharing new interests with your partner, even if it’s an activity that is not necessarily ‘up your alley’. Many of the respondents to the survey believe that their relationships grew closer or farther apart depending on their willingness to embrace their partners interests.
Another aspect of the friendship bond at the core of long-term marriage is making a daily habit of small, positive actions. Helping your spouse with things that are typically their area of responsibility such as walking the dog once in a while or stopping at the grocery store fosters a supportive environment. Remembering to acknowledge contributions and to compliment your partner go a long way. Marriage consists of thousands of micro-interactions – creating positive feelings in small ways can have a major impact according to the professor.
Marriage is undoubtedly hard work over the long haul. In the study, the endorsement of marriage counseling is universal among the respondents. Many believe that counseling was exactly what was needed to save their relationships from breaking apart, while others found that a breakup was far less acrimonious because of it. Overall the respondents expressed less regret if they at least made an effort to resolve things before calling it quits by seeking the services of a counselor or a legal mediation. For those moving on, a lasting and fulfilling relationship is not out of the question. The survey revealed that many later-in-life, second marriages provided just as much happiness if not more than their first.
If you have a family law issue such as divorce mediation, spousal maintenance or prenuptial agreements, contact the Law Offices of Schlesinger & Strauss, LLC. We serve clients in the Lake County Area of Illinois and can help you!
Source: The Wall Street Journal, “Forget ‘Gray Divorce’: Here’s How to Make Love Last”, by Diane Cole, accessed March 3, 2015.