Family & Pets

The secret ingredient for a happy marriage

The secret ingredient for a happy marriage

As you get older relationships change, the spark may have fizzled a little and life can get in the way. Queensland-based counsellor, Marian Spencer, says there are a few factors at play, like, “dealing with an empty nest and being rusty in spending lots of time together”. If you are finding you are crossing these hurdles, you’re not alone. What you shouldn’t do, though, Marian tells Over60 is work against each other. “Focusing on all the negatives and not the positives of what lies ahead,” is a mistake she explains. As is “Not seeking help to resolve any problems that may occur with new found freedoms.”

Whilst transitioning into a new phase of life has its challenges, there are many positives, too. Melbourne-based relationship counsellor, Margie Ulbrick, enthuses, “Don’t take each other for granted or fail to communicate. See each day with your partner as new, appreciate that every morning when you wake up the person next to you has had new dreams, thoughts, ideas, feelings or experiences, in other words, let the freshness of life into your relationship.”

Marian and Margie both agree that keeping the love and spark alive in a marriage can be hard. Here are their words of wisdom on the matter:

Make plans

“Make plans for the future together. Make your own lists of what you would like to do and talk through them and plan how you are going to get through them together.” – Marian

Child’s play

“Behave like teenagers again or the way you did when you first met.” – Marian

Do nice things

“Buy your wife/partner flowers or chocolates. Tell her how nice she looks without her having to ask you. Ladies, tell your husband how much you still fancy him and love him. Book a night out at his favourite venue or restaurant. Most of all, respect each other.” – Marian

Plan sex

“Start the chase first thing in the morning and talk and flirt about it all day. Tell each other what your sex needs are. Take the time to dress for bed. Nice lingerie and body spray. Plenty of foreplay and don't rush. Make it special. Use today’s technology to send each other flirty messages and sexy texts.” – Marian

Make eye contact

“Look into each other's eyes regularly and pause, really notice and take in your partner, you will be amazed how you feel when you acknowledge truly the gift of this person in your life.” – Margie

Fight fair

“Don't avoid fights but make them worth it! Avoidance of all conflict is diabolical for relationships. But of course so too is constant bickering. Learn how to negotiate your differences and learn how to speak up about things that matter to you. Refuse to criticise or ignore each other. Rather take responsibility for raising issues in a calm manner at an appropriate time. Repair quickly, it doesn't matter whose fault it was.” – Margie

Seek help

“People leave it too late to get support for their relationships when they are in difficulty. Many issues can be solved with a neutral and experienced counsellor and you are never too old to learn new relationship skills.” – Margie

For more help of advice, visit Margie's website or Marian's now.

Are you a long-married couple that have some helpful tips to share on how you’ve maintained a happy relationship? We’d love to hear your story. Please email our editor, Alexandra,


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