The #1 Secret To Creating Vibrant Relationships From Your 40s Onward
This month we're celebrating our 34th wedding anniversary in a special way: It coincides with the release of our new book on how to create thriving relationships in the years from 40 onward. In this blog and several more to follow, we want to share our key discoveries, the how-to-do-it essentials of relationships in the second half of life.
In our office and seminars we've had the opportunity to work with several thousand singles and couples from 40-80 years of age. From this experience we can definitively say: This stage of life requires an entirely new set of ideas and tools for optimizing your relationships.
The Key Ingredient
The secret to creating relationship magic in the second half of life is to make a specific, new commitment. The commitment, however, is not to your partner but to yourself. In order to take your relationships to a new level at midlife and beyond, you need to make a deep, sincere commitment to the full flowering of your own creativity.
The issue is the same for singles and couples both. For example, if you're single and want to create a new relationship that thrives, the first essential action is to make a new commitment to the full expression of your own creativity. This commitment is a huge step in attracting the kind of relationship you really want, because ultimately our ability to love others rests on our ability to love ourselves.
Creative Growth vs. Stagnation: A Daily Choice
In the years from 40 onward, we are all faced with the same choice every day: grow creatively or stagnate. When creative stagnation happens, people slip into despair and begin to take it out on others around them.
Sometimes when people see words such as creativity, they immediately think of tools such as journaling or hobbies such as gardening. However, the kind of creativity that renews relationships is much more varied: it's anything that has the power to surprise you. You don't have to be a writer, a gardener or a musician to get your creative juices flowing; daily life is full of opportunities to grow creatively. Assembling a salad or a soup in a new way -- a way that surprises and delights you -- can be as creatively exhilarating as writing a poem or composing a song.
"We're Having The Best Sex Ever"
Couples we interviewed in the 50s and 60s age group, and even with some 70=80, often echoed an intriguing refrain, "We're having better sex now that we ever did in the first half of our lives." We had noticed the same thing in our own relationship, but we were heartened to hear it from others. In our next blog we'll share with you the key factors we think make the difference between so-so sex and exhilarating sex after midlife.
Kathlyn and Gay Hendricks are the authors of Conscious Loving Ever After: How To Create Thriving Relationships At Midlife And Beyond. The Hendricks Institute is based in Ojai, California.