It’s a myth that marriage has to get tough after 10 years.
I’ve heard it put many ways…
- The honeymoon is over after 10 years (5, 3 or even 1 year).
- Things are never the same after kids.
- You just grow apart after years of marriage.
It’s all wrong. False. And deadly.
It’s amazing how many couples actually believe this misconception.
This is Part 2 of Marriage Issues After Year 10. If you haven’t read Part 1, click here to read it now.
Here’s the truth:
Marriage is only determined by what you put in it.
The health of your relationship is not dependent on (or determined by) the number of years you are married…
Or how old you were when you got married…
If you have kids or not…
Or any other factor.
It is solely dependent on what you (and your spouse) make it to be.
That, and that alone, determines the level of satisfaction in your marriage.
In This Article
- #1 Keep Sex Alive
- #2 Orchestrate Fun Times
- #3 Quality Time
- #4 Know How To Let Go
- #5 Appreciation
- Wrapping It Up
#1 Keep Sex Alive
One of the biggest factors in loss of intimacy is loss of sex life.
Intimacy is uniquely connected to sex. At least marriage intimacy.
No. It’s not the only connection. But it is a major one.
Alex Allman suggests the number one rule of intimacy is to be lovers first and foremost.
Jordan Peterson talks about how to have a great sex life in the video below.
I encourage you to watch (listen) because he distills excellent advice for couples who have been married for many years.
One more video.
Peterson segue’s into this short video on ‘Why Surprise is the Key to Great Sex.’
I love the thought, ‘Break what is typical and you enter into the erotic zone.’
Further Reading: How Important Is Kissing In Marriage?
#2 Orchestrate Fun Times
Fun and games are one of the keys to a successful marriage.
Who would have thought that goofing off can actually pay off? It does when it comes to family life.
We need to plan times for having fun.
We were invited once to a friends house for dinner.
We were given a tour of their new house, then settled in for our meal.
At one point, the wife made the statement, “After dinner we we’ve planned a time when we will laugh and have fun.“
I’m sure she was letting us know we would be relaxing after dinner, or playing a board game or something.
The way it came across was rather stoic. As if we would be laughing at 8:05 until 8:20 and then moving on to something else.
My wife and I still laugh about the comment.
Our host wanted us to have a good time, but her strict control of the agenda didn’t produce the results she was hoping for.
I bring this up because when I talk about orchestrating fun, I’m not suggesting we do what our host did.
We need to ‘make room’ for fun, but you can’t force it.
I hope you discern the difference.
#3 Quality Time
Let’s be honest; words have very little power without corresponding action.
It’s easy to say, “I choose you.”
Question is, does your actions back it up?
Are you choosing your spouse by making time – quality time – to be together?
What Does Quality Time Look Like?
It’s different for each couple.
Many times it depends on your work schedule.
For example, when I was a pastor my work load was a lot different than it is today. My children were young so there was sports, dance, gymnastics and a host of other events they participated in.
Add that to my counseling, teaching and travel schedule…it was nuts.
Today my calendar looks significantly different. I work from home (mostly). I work close to my wife (who works from home), so it’s not difficult to ‘see each other.’
My point is your ‘time together’ will look different from mine. And it will look different in the future from what it is now.
So how do you make it work?
Here’s a few pointers:
For couples to remain close, they must share experiences together. Shared experiences are what bind us and bond us to each other.
2. Quality time must include quantity.
Quality time is not just about quantity (length of time), but don’t let that lull you to sleep.
You still must spend ‘time’ together.
3. Quality time is about connecting.
The best way to connect is to talk. Open up and share life together.
Great couples have this in common; they communicate on a deeper level.
If you want help communicating, you can download our 19 Big Communication Tips for Couples‘ for free. [Dowlnload]
4. Finally, quality time is getting in sync.
Danny and Carrie Kittinger talk about a time in their marriage when they were exceptionally busy, so large amounts of time together was challenging to make happen.
One thing they did to keep their connection strong was a shared Bible reading (study) plan. They didn’t read together each day because their schedules didn’t work out, but they did read the same lessons each day so they could talk at night about what they read.
This helped them stay connected, AND helped them stay in sync.
Further Reading: The Importance of Quality Time
#4 Know How To Let Go
In 2016 Nicolas and Raphela Ordez were married 82 years. Nicolas also celebrated his 102nd birthday. Quite an achievement on both.
The secret to their marriage is discussed in this 30 second video cliip from WCVB Channel 5 in Boston.
In short, the ‘secret’ to their success is: Respect, affection and letting go of the small stuff.
I love that.
There is a powerful truth found in those three things:
Great marriages are not built on hidden magic or a special secret sauce. It’s the little things that make it work.
It’s easy to have respect and affection when you master the art of letting go of little things.
Joy Evans Peterson talks about stregthening marriages with what she calls appreciative inquiry.
Why Appreciation Works: A Little Background
The concept grew out of the business world. For years the standard practice of business consultants was to do a needs analysis by asking the potential client what the ‘did not like’ about their previous consultants.
David Cooperrider questioned the success of this method and tested a new way of doing the needs analysis. Instead of focusing on past failures, he asked potential clients to talk about successes, what they wanted to see happen, etc. He flipped the switch from negative to positive.
Joy Evans Peterson used this idea as a model of helping couples connect.
The basic premise is simple. Instead of talking about what is wrong in the relationship, focus on what is right.
This simple mind shift brought about great changes in the couples she coached.
How can I make my spouse feel appreciated?
Natalie Sayward breaks this issue down in the following video.
Here’s the breakdown of what she covers.
1. Make them feel needed.
I need to make the distinction between ‘needy’ and ‘needed.’
2. Tell your spouse how lucky (blessed) you are.
Everyone wants to feel like they are chosen.
3. Show physical affection.
We’ve talked about the power of touch before.
It’s no secret that physical contact can ignite passion.
Appreciation helps us bond and connect on an intimate level.
Further Reading: 7 Ways to Create Respect in Marriage
Wrapping It Up
Every relationship has challenges. Anytime two individuals spend time together differences and challenges arise.
Unfortunately, many couples believe the myth that time erodes the relationship and makes those challenges even worse.
Time doesn’t mean entropy.
It can mean deeper connection. It all depends on how you manage and maintain your relationship.
We discussed five things that will help you stay connected, grow deeper and keep the fire of your marriage burning.
Here’s a quick review:
Resources for this Article
For more help, ideas and tools on this topic. Check out these resources:
Sexual Communication by Alex Allman
If you are having serious marriage struggles, we recommend starting with ‘Save the Marriage System‘ by Lee Baucom.