"One personal secret from my 11 years of marriage: make time to 'prioritize' -- and by prioritize, I mean HAVE SEX! 'We've got to prioritize' or 'hug' are our code words for making time for Mom & Dad to get busy. It's amazing the power of prioritizing to reconnect a couple -- no matter what stress, B.S. or stupid fights you may have had during the day." - Kris, Marina Del Rey, California
Gary and Betty Hillery, who were married in 1943 and now live a the Mayflower Retirement Community in Winter Park, Florida, know that extraordinary love is based on mutual respect, understanding and flexibility, emphasizing that each spouse must be willing to give more than they receive. Of course, this means that both partners constantly put the other before themselves -- it's all about give and take.
For example... during their 65 years together, Gary -- an avid golfer -- would frequently join his friends for a day on the course. Although Betty didn't have much interest in the sport, she
eventually tried a few golf lessons and learned more about it. Here are some quotes they shared with me:
"Betty always made an effort to experience my hobbies and interests," says Gary. "Both of us remain open to new things, and that has played a key role in our marriage over the years. It's really paid off because we've experienced wonderful things together. That's what keeps marriage exciting."
As the couple has progressed through their golden years, assisting each other with daily tasks has become very important. When Betty was diagnosed with macular degeneration a few years ago and could longer see or read clearly, Gary was there to help. Now, always by her side, he reads newspapers and magazines aloud to her.
"Every morning, Gary starts with the funnies," Betty says. "It's a wonderful way to start the day together. Some mornings they are funnier than others. Sometimes he'll say, 'Betty, you didn't laugh at that one.'"
She adds, "Couples cannot be expected to keep a romance going full-tilt like it was when we first married, but a good, healthy marriage rests in the ordinary details of life. Also, it's amazing how much having children will bring you together. When you have children and grandchildren, they truly make life worth living. That just makes life so nice."
And Gary says, "Our grandchildren are always in touch -- and that keeps us going. It's so important to have close contact with family."
Not quote up to the inspirational path of Gary and Betty yet? "When things get hectic, a busy couple I know does a ten second kiss," says Dr Trina E Read, a noted sex expert. That is, when one or
the other of you is in a stressful situation and they start taking their frustration out on their partner, one or the other says, "ten second kiss." They immediately drop everything and kiss for,
well, ten seconds.
Why this works: Kissing raises oxytocin levels; our bonding hormone. It also shifts their focus from seeing their partner as the source of their unhappiness to a, "We can get through this together" team effort. Couples who look on the bright side of things are much likely to be successful in their relationship. Plus, this is super easy for any couple to do!
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