Enjoy Your Stories
As you develop a committed relationship, the two of you have a story to tell. Your stories—how you met and fell in love, how you knew you were right for each other, and how you decided to become a couple—are important. As you begin to shape your story, you deepen your identity as a couple.
When you first met, you told each other the story of your lives. Our individual stories are how we present ourselves to the world, and they show what we think of ourselves and others in our lives. With each shared tale, you began to know each other better and to understand the world view and the character of the person who would become your partner.
This sharing is especially important for older couples, because so much of the river of life has already flowed past, and learning about each other brings you to the spot on the shore where you can begin traveling that river together. Don’t get impatient if your partner tells the same story more than once. It may just be a “senior moment,” but it also may mean that a different aspect of that story is important right now. Ask questions to enhance your understanding of what happened and how it affected your sweetheart.
The story of the two of you can be a source of joy. Have fun laughing at the humorous events and bringing back the electricity you felt early in your relationship. Use your story (only the G-rated parts!) to help family members and friends understand what drew you together and why you chose to combine your lives.
Be kind and respectful when you tell a story about your partner or the two of you. You may think it is hilarious that your partner’s clothing split a seam while the two of you were dancing at your wedding reception, but that may be an embarrassing memory for your spouse. If it’s not funny to the person at the center of the story, it’s not funny. Stop telling it.
We have found that even strangers enjoy a good love story. So many times, when people learned that we were newlyweds, they would smile and ask about how we got together. They often sought advice on finding a partner in midlife themselves (hence, this column and the book we are writing). We enjoy hearing others’ stories as well.
Your story is unique and beautiful, and it can shine some sunlight into darker times. Remembering why and how you fell in love can help you to overcome momentary irritations and to focus on the joys of being together.
Northwest authors Jennifer Y. Levy-Peck, PhD, a psychologist, and her husband Charles Peck are write a weekly column on midlife relationships. They are working on a new book, "Magic at Midlife: Your Relationship Roadmap for Romance After 40."
Previous Magic at Midlife Columns:
Older Hearts Break, Too
Reimagining Your Life Together
Memory Loss and the Midlife Couple
When One of You Retires
Money - One Pot or Separate Accounts?
Falling in Love Later in Life
To Marry or Not?
Conversations About Death for Midlife Couples
The Couple That Laughs Together, Stays Together
Vacation Time! Leave Your Baggage at Home
Your Place or Mine? Moving In Together
How to Help Your Partner Calm Down
Creating Shared Goals
Having the “Senior Safer Sex” Conversation