Couples over 50 married more than 20 years think about money, family, health, and the future. Aging prompts urgency in an era of uncertainty. Couples who have sown together and grown together are not immune. Human life has no guarantees at any age or stage. We do the best with what we have to work with and hope for the best. Here are some things we can do.
An important thing couples can do at any time is affirm each other. Let each other know the security of continued commitment to each other. Affirm to each other what your love accomplished. Affirm your excitement and enthusiasm to continue sharing love and life. Feel the full impact of your feelings for each other.
Many couples have not managed well together because they could not manage having enough or not having enough money. Many couples harbor a secret fear of being only one catastrophe away from financial ruin.
Identify your individual and shared fears. Ask the tough questions. What happens should you lose everything? How would you manage life – threatening illness? How would you survive the other’s death? One of you will likely survive the other. Money matters. Design a plan you can agree on.
You adore your grandchildren. You do not want to raise them. Some children assume their near retirement parents are their built in child care.
Make sure you negotiate an understanding here or your grandchildren can be used to manipulate you into feeling guilty. Do not let it happen. You have raised your children. Your job is to spoil your grandchildren occasionally. It is not your job to raise your children’s children to make life convenient for them. You paid your dues. Now they pay theirs. Their children are theirs.
Good health is not a constitutional privilege. Good health is the new sexy and most of us want to feel that as we mature. Couples over 50 and married more than 20 years must work very hard to live in and maintain good health.
One or both of you may develop chronic conditions over time. That is life in the fast lane. There is no avoiding it.
We do not have to surrender. We can continue to have medical observation, annual evaluation and personal plans to stay strong for as long as possible.
Futures unplanned for arrive too soon. Futures well planned come with no guarantees. The future comes with every breath. Work on ways to enjoy it, together.
If possible, do some of the things you never had time to do. Visit another country. Take music or art lessons. Write a book. Make a movie. Do whatever you want that is manageable for you and makes you feel good about your individual and couple self.
Keep up the love. Keep on living. What you still sow together, you still grow together.