My passion has always been helping women with their nutrition by viewing food as just one of several components of nourishment. But nourishment comes not only from food, but also from the way we live our lives.
That may include relationships with others, a sense of life purpose, spirituality, movement, and rest. When these qualities of nourishment are in good balance, we feel energetic, vital, and connected. It also is the best foundation you could have for building a healthy relationship with food.
Today I’m writing a very personal story about the relationship aspect of nourishment. After 15 years of marriage and 34 years of navigating the world as a single person, I’m getting married in just a couple of weeks.
If you add up my years of marriage and single life, you know I am well past 60. Fortunately, we live in a time when age has fewer barriers to making life choices, though some still exist.
I’m a strong believer (and speaker) about the importance of disrupting assumptions about what’s right for us at any given age. I’ve been blessed to meet a man I’d like to wed, and our ages are of little relevance to us.
In years past, I had a few very significant relationships, but somehow I knew they were not right for me. Years of maturing, hearing stories from other women, and even journaling helped me crystallize a vision of who I wanted to be with, if anyone. I believed that I would be happy whether or not I found that person.
Shortly before I met my soon-to-be husband, which happened through an online app, all those shared stories and journaling shifted my thinking and opened me up to a more positive outlook on what was possible.
I replaced negative thoughts – such as, men have too much baggage, men want younger women, men don’t want to commit, etc. – to a belief that there were some very good men out there who also would like to find a good stable relationship, and if I was open to a good man, he would come my way. Within two months of embracing this new mindset, I met Mike.
After spending time with each other, two or three times a week over several months, we decided we wanted to spend our lives together. We discussed separate homes, living together, and/or marriage options, and both felt marriage was the answer for us.
This decision brings up many emotions. Happiness is surely one of them, but there is also fear about my ability to share my space and my self with another person after being on my own since my children were launched.
Will I be able to say what I need – do what I need – to be happy? Will I bring happiness to our relationship? Am I able to make decisions with another person instead of unilaterally? Will I grow in ways that matter to me, and to him?
So, just like the problem-solving I do with my clients around nutrition and lifelong wellness, I’ve reached out and asked many people I trust and respect to give me advice about what makes a good marriage. The answers have been interesting.
My friend Patti, married for more than 30 years, recommended a book called Five Love Languages. It’s an exploration of the different ways each of us needs to be loved. One person may need to hear words of appreciation, while another needs hugs.
Patti’s husband Peter’s advice was a lot different. “Be naked,” he said and went on to explain that being naked means you let down barriers to communication; you share exactly who you are with the other person. You let yourself be vulnerable.
Another friend, a therapist, said in her marriage she believes what’s important is to put herself in her spouse’s shoes, to try to understand his point of view when it differs from hers.
I plan to keep on asking people for advice. I feel like a student embarking on a new and very important journey. I am filled with hope, gratitude, joy, fear, and excitement.
And now I’d like to ask for your advice.
What in your experience is important for you in making a relationship fulfilling? What do you do to maintain your self while you also grow in your relationship with another person? Please join the conversation. This student welcomes your thoughts.
Tags Marriage After 60