I have been married for 50 years and after three children and 7 grand children we are now empty nesters again. Do you have any tips for reignite the flame in loving marriages?
Firstly, congratulations for being married so long, and for wanting to reignite the flame! After 50 years, I know it’s hard to keep the spark alive, and when I hear about romantic relationships still happening at that stage, I think it’s the exception rather than the rule!
In most long term marriages, particularly where children have been the focus for so long, it’s natural to just co-exist and take each other for granted a little bit. Now that the children are grown and moved, it’s a fantastic opportunity to reconnect in lots of little ways – which can add up and improve things in all areas of the marriage.
Take some time every day to spend real quality time with your husband. Some of the easy things you can do at home include playing cards/chess/board games (they can be quite expensive, so you can always try op shops); rediscovering movies you watched together many years ago; cooking some lovely meals together where you need to follow recipes; take dance classes which keep you close (think tango rather than salsa); and maybe do something silly like try out some Tantra. It doesn’t require a lot of physical effort, but the sensations can be fabulous (apparently!).
My boyfriend has a really high sex drive and mine isn’t as high. How do I say no to sex with him sometimes without hurting his feelings?
Mismatched sex drive can be a massive issue for many couples, and there’s not a super easy fix – you require lots of understanding, communication and compassion. It’s possible he feels rejected when you say no, and I’m sure you have all kinds of worries about what the consequences will be if he’s not fulfilled…
It may be that he just wants to be close to you, so sex is the thing which makes sense. It’s possible that you’ve even started avoiding cuddles because you think they’ll turn into something else, so lots of talking and reassurance will be necessary. He may need to know that you’re still into him – that you’re committed and dedicated, but you don’t want every physical touch to turn into a shag session.
Also, make sure that when you do have sex, you make it high quality, so that he may feel okay knowing that while the quantity may be less than he wants, the quality is right up there! Dress up, talk about fantasies, use whipped cream (unless you’re lactose intolerant, like me), and generally make an effort to make it special, so he knows that while you don’t want it every day, sex with him is very special. Good luck!
My partner will only ever respond with “I love you too” but will never be the first to say it. Do you have to say the three words out loud for it to be true? How do I find out if he doesn’t share these feelings?
Verbal communication doesn’t come naturally to everyone, and stereotypically, this is often true of men (although we all know there are exceptions). A well respected relationship researcher named Gary Chapman has created a theory about ‘The Five Love Languages’, which explains how love is shown in five major ways – physical touch, words of affirmation, quality time, acts of service, and gifts. While we may enjoy all of these, one or two are generally very significant for us. The learning is that while your love language may be words of affirmation (and therefore hearing “I love you” is very important), his might be acts of service, for example. This means that he would do things for you to make your life easier – and this is his way of telling you that he loves you. But if this isn’t something which is as important to you, you’re missing his loving cues.
Check out the 5lovelanguages website and you can both do the quiz to find out what your love languages are. This is a starting point to understanding how your partner likes to be shown love, and where you can both improve in demonstrating love in a way which makes sense to each other. There is a book/audiobook specifically for men, which explains the benefits of understanding and demonstrating their wife/girlfriend’s love language! I see an Amazon book delivery in your partner’s future!