We all know what romance is – or do we? It is that mysterious attraction, fascination and enthusiasm for another person. Sometimes we call it love, but romance is more nuanced, more of a foundation on which everything is built.

Maintaining romance in a marriage is an art that is learned over time on a subtle level and then maintained with deliberate intention over time. Those couples who are passionately in love after decades together maintain romance by approaching their marriage with some basic activities grounded quite simply on mutual respect and good attitude. But they also add planned activities like couples retreats or meaningful trips, community involvement, and play secret games. Here are a few ways to sustain the romance and have a happy marriage in your 60’s and beyond.

Attitude: Develop a Reciprocal Relationship

Marriage and committed relationships come with their own set of responsibilities and obligations. These are things that happy couples agree and choreograph so that they do not feel like work. In fact pleasing each other, doing things to make life easier, is always a pleasure.

Happy couples listen to each other, noticing comments made in passing and then surprising each other by acknowledging the earlier conversation with an answer, solution or gift.

By bringing a reciprocal attitude to the relationship, it’s a lot easier to remember that little things mean a lot, and even the smallest acknowledgement is treasured. Many couples consider this to be an important expression of romantic love, creating a deep and lasting intimacy.

Go Exploring

Sitting at home, living in routine and boredom does not cultivate romance. If you want to keep your relationship romantic, you’ve got to step out of your comfort zone and try new things. Go be tourists in your back yard, or take a road trip to a place you’ve always wanted to see but never have. Plan surprise trips. Just be sure to let your partner know when they’ll need to clear their schedule to avoid any raining on your parade and add an element of intrigue and curiosity!

I know a couple who always takes their partner to a city or place that they have never been to on their birthday – that is romantic. Building excitement is a sure fire way to kindle sensual feelings as well.

Help Others

If you’ve been retired together for more than a few months, you’ve probably discovered that sitting at home creates a sensory deprivation that slips quickly into boredom with the situation and as a result with each other. One answer is to each choose some different volunteer work, if only for one or two days a week. You’ll have new stories to tell, challenges to excite your creativity and causes to evoke your humanity.

When you champion a cause, it triggers feelings of romantic admiration in your mate, and is a great way to remain intriguing and engaging in the eyes of the one you love.

Live to Laugh

Getting the giggles with your partner is a guaranteed way to release dopamine and inject a feeling of happiness and satisfaction with your relationship. So, watch a comedy together. Tell jokes. Do silly things just for fun. And most of all, remember to view each new event in your life with a sense of humor.

Romance is a lens through which a relationship thrives in the real world – it is a foundation, not what is idealized love which can be full of expectations and conditions. So appreciate your partnership and value the fact that romance helps you bring out the best in each other.

In your opinion, is appreciation the key to a happy marriage? If not, what is? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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