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Two Ways to Cultivate Marital Vitality in the Golden Years

“It’s been 45 years since we said, ‘I do,’ Stan mumbles, “but lately, I’ve wondered if I didn’t make a mistake.” Stan’s sentiments represent a disturbing trend among senior couples. 

In the early years, Stan and Lisa shared many interests and were best friends. But when children came, and Stan’s job became more demanding, those special moments became harder to find. As empty-nesters, Stan plays pickleball, and Lisa loves being Nana. She wants to slow down. He wants to be more adventurous. The marriage feels lifeless.

According to Dr. Susan L. Brown, divorce for couples fifty and older doubled between 1990 and 2010. Among the eldest segment of seniors (sixty-five and older), divorce continues to rise. Increasing emphasis on individualism and self-satisfaction, along with “growing apart in midlife,” contribute to what Brown calls “gray divorce.” 

How can happy Christian couples maintain vibrancy and mutual satisfaction throughout the golden years of marriage? Here are two ways to keep marital vitality fresh and sustainable.

Remember Your First Vows

The first vows in most Christian weddings include promises to live with your new spouse “according to God’s holy ordinance,” to  love, comfort, honor, and forsake all others “so long as you both shall live.” It may surprise some, but in this part of the ceremony, the couple makes a vertical commitment to God before making a horizontal commitment to each other.

Knowing your marriage is built on a covenant with God—who never breaks a promise—is reassuring if marital energy begins to wane. Couples drift apart when they rely on human will and emotions alone. Trusting God together through prayer may sound trite, but it is a crucial component to a lasting marriage.

Attend to the Little Things

The Bible cautions, “Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it” (Hebrews 2:1, ESV). This warning against spiritual complacency provides a powerful principle for marriages—be consistent in the basics. In marriage, the fundamentals include forgiveness, unselfish love, and friendship.

Aging couples may face challenges, such as hearing, memory, and decreased libido. However, for those who master the essentials of a biblical marriage, transitioning to new and fun ways to enjoy life together in the golden years can be seamless.

Do you want to experience marital vitality until “death us do part?” Rely on the Maker of marriage and focus on the fundamentals of godly love.

This article first appeared in the Birmingham Christian Family Magazine.

© 2024 Biblical Marriage Institute