Cornell doctors, including head gerontologist Karl Pillemer, completed the Cornell Marriage Advice Project, the largest in-depth interview study ever done of people in very long unions, surveying more than 700 individuals wedded for a total of 40,000 years. The findings are detailed in Pillemer’s book, “30 Lessons for Loving: Advice from the Wisest Americans on Love, Relationships, and Marriage.”
To capture the voice of lived experience, Pillemer conducted a random national survey of nearly 400 Americans age 45 and older, asking how to find a compatible partner and other advice on love and relationships. In subsequent in-person interviews with more than 300 long-wedded individuals — those in unions of 30, 40, 50, or more years — Pillemer captured more insights for overcoming common marriage troubles. His team interviewed divorced individuals, too, asking how others might avoid marital breakups.
So without further ado, it may take a little extra effort to keep the love alive through the years, but with some relationship advice, the spark is sure to ignite again!
Consider the relationship advice gathered from hundreds of married couples over the age of 45 below to add to your relationship:
- Get back to the basics:
As an experienced couple, you know what makes your love tick. It could be surprise kisses, breakfast in bed, watching the sunset together, or enjoying old movies. The relationship advice that I encourage you to consider is to think back to the little things that made your partnership exciting over the years. Even holding hands or taking the time to express specific things you love about one another can make a big difference.Leslie Stubenvoll, director of social services at Palm Terrace Healthcare and Rehab in Laguna Woods, CA, said, “The couples that shine the brightest are the ones that make the effort to hold hands, be extra nurturing, and pay attention to the other’s needs.” Sometimes, the most romantic thing you can do is give simple reminders and signals that they’re on your mind.
- Go on a walk together:Quality time is a must when it comes to romance. Walking is the perfect way to spend quality time, share meaningful conversation, and even do some of that hand-holding! You’ll have the opportunity to reconnect, get some exercise and fresh air, and take a break from your usual routine.
- Have a photoshoot:Over the years, you’ve probably taken many family photos with kids, grandkids, and a wide range of color-coordinated outfits. Try doing a photo shoot of just the two of you. Dress up in your favorite clothes, drive to your favorite spot around town or in nature, and have your photos professionally taken. Not only will this be a fun way to spend time together, but it’ll also give you romantic photographs to hang up around your home. Not to mention, during the photo shoot, you’ll be reminded of how her eyes sparkle or how his smile makes your heart skip a beat!
- Take a road trip:Your favorite tunes, good food, new sights, and the endless road add up to one great date idea. A road trip could be just the trick you need to rekindle your romance. Try adding a little excitement by making the destination unknown or researching a bed and breakfast where you two can spend the night.
- Go on a scavenger hunt:This romantic idea is a fun twist on a road trip. Map out all the places that are significant to your relationship, including favorite restaurants, places you love to walk, or locations of good memories. You can design it as a scavenger hunt with the final location being somewhere new to both of you. By the end of the day, you’ll both be reminded of the history that’s made your relationship strong
- Explore new hobbies:Learning something new is a great way to bond and make exciting memories with your loved one. Take up golfing or attend an art class. The two of you will have something new to share while spending meaningful time with each other. This kind of experience can help shake up the routine and reignite the romance.
- Learn about your love language:Sometimes, the best way to increase romance is to learn how you and your partner want to be loved. One of my favorite books is The 5 Love Languages. The book outlines the five possible ways most people want to receive and give love. Understanding how your partner wants to be loved, whether it’s through acts of service or words of affirmation, will help you connect and feel the love on a deeper level.
It’s never too late to turn up the heat in your love life. Try out some of these tips and you’ll be living a happy relationship for years to come!