A loving partner can make all the difference as we navigate life's waters. If you think of life as a journey in a rowboat, progress can be determined by your skill and determination, but may also be hampered by wild waves and strong currents. It is a comfort and a blessing to have a companion on this journey who wants to help you to succeed and be happy.
When you find your partner later in life, you most likely have been rowing alone for some time. This can enhance your skill; you can manage just fine on your own. However, It is often exhausting. You feel solely responsible for what is happening in your life, and you have only yourself to rely on. Sometimes you wish you could just drift for a while, and let another pair of strong arms push forward. At other times, illness, crisis, or simple loneliness makes it difficult to stay afloat, and you long for a little help.
You may have had partners in the past who let you do all the rowing, even when they were capable. You may even have had to tow their boat, to the point of nearly capsizing your own. You built up your muscles, but also your defenses.
Now you are content to row side-by-side with your life partner. There are times when you will exert more effort, and times when your partner will, but you know that each of you is giving it your best. You feel most loved when the waves are coming fast and furious, or the current is pulling you toward the rocks, and your partner calmly and gently encourages you, helping out if necessary. Sometimes just having someone steady your boat a bit allows you to settle in, find your own rhythm, and begin to move forward once again.
You would never stand by and watch your partner sink; you know that you have the same assurance of support. At times, you each move off to explore an island on your own; other times, you set off on an adventure together. Watching the dolphins or the sea birds is more exciting when you can share the experience. You work to create your safe haven and welcome each other home. Being together allows each of you to be your best, strongest self, to guide each other through the fog, and to have courage in the face of storms.
Northwest authors Jennifer Y. Levy-Peck, PhD, a psychologist, and her husband Charles Peck are rowing through life together. You can participate in the creation of their book "Magic at Midlife: Your Relationship Roadmap for Romance After 40" (and enter to win a $100 Amazon gift card) by sharing your experiences in a survey: www.surveymonkey.com/s/MidlifeRelationships2
Previous Magic at Midlife Columns:
Let’s Talk About Sex
Helping Your Adult Children Accept Your New Partner
In Sickness and In Health
Step-Grandparenting Can Be Grand
Enjoy Life Together
Online Dating for the Older Set
Enjoying the Single Life
Sex in Midlife Relationships: Complicated but Wonderful!
Upgrade Your Communication Skills