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Tips to keeping the romance young

May 25, 2012, 8:07 a.m.

Far too many older married couples take the wrong approach to keeping the romance alive. The fact is, coming up with romantic ideas for anniversary celebrations and dreaming up unexpected surprises to thrill the love of your life are only a portion of what makes for a successful, long-lasting relationship. The best advice for couples is to pay close attention to the small details. Here's a list of the top five things all super-successful and happy older couples have in common.

  1. They don't fight dirty. You can't expect that living with someone for the majority of your life and spending all of your time together won't eventually wear thin. While there are some couples in this world who never, ever fight, the vast majority of them do. This isn't a problem. It's fighting dirty that's the problem. Arguments are inevitable in any relationship, whether that relationship is with a spouse, a sibling, a friend, or a child. The best advice for couples who want to last the test of time is to use disagreements as a way to come closer, not to drive each other apart. If you're not fighting fair and you're coming away from disagreements with hurt feelings, you're doing something wrong.
  2. They allow each other to grow. People change. It's in our nature to do so. It should also be in a person's nature as a good spouse to allow their life partner to grow and to express interest in new things. Just as the same-old boring patterns of life can eventually drive a person to absolute distress, so can the failure to have the one person we care about most in the world support us in our endeavors.
  3. They know how to break away from the tired and predictable. This is where dreaming up romantic ideas for anniversary celebrations comes in handy. But the best possible advice for couples who want to achieve maximum longevity in their relationship is to not wait for special occasions to do something new and unique. Keeping alive a sense of spontaneity and willingness to try new things is critical to staying happily married into your sunset years. Nobody wants to be tied to a ball and chain -- unless that ball and chain knows how to go out and have a good time.
  4. They're committed to taking care of each other for the long haul. The words "in sickness and in health, 'til death do us part" aren't just inserted into typical marriage vows because they sound romantic. These are actually words to live by, and staying committed to those words by caring for one another as the challenges of aging make their presence known, is absolutely indispensable when it comes to staying happy and keeping the spark of romance alive.
  5. They "get busy" regardless of the obstacles. Aging can be a cruel thing, especially when it comes to the human sex drive. But the happiest and most successful couples in the world understand this and embrace it. Not only do they embrace it, but they don't shy away from taking the bull by the horns when it comes time to make changes to accommodate their frisky natures. As you age, skin sags, body parts droop, and medicine can play havoc on the sex drive. But those who take creative approaches to dealing with such obstacles and don't let aging get in the way of making love or being affectionate are the ones who'll outlast them all.

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