We always speak from the female voice because that's who we are. However, we've taken a poll and, over the next few weeks, we'll be sharing comments from men about their perspective on long-term relationships.
Often it's a struggle for marital partners to maintain commitment to each other. However, many men recognize that the outcome is worth the effort. Henry talked about his secret to success. "We've never lost our focus – we knew we had to work to stay together. It was the two of us in the beginning and it would be the two of us when the children grew up. We took at least one trip a year by ourselves and tried to go on a date every week or so, to reconnect. I guess it worked – we’re still together after 25 years."
Bill was determined not to make some of the same mistakes with his second wife that he had with his first. "I used to believe that my partner would be like my mother - with the added component of sex. That she would be there to take care of me, no matter how I treated her. I grew up after my first marriage failed. My second wife made it perfectly clear about what she needed and wanted in order to make the relationship work."
Shared interests have made it somewhat easier for Gary and his wife to feel like a team. "We share major goals and support each other in our individual pursuits. We just started taking dance lessons – we both love music and want to stay in shape. Collaborating on creative projects in and out of work is important for us."
Shortly after they were married, Ed and his wife came up with a plan to help them maintain their commitment. "We decided to make Wednesday nights 'divorce night.' We knew that we had that time to talk about whatever was going on between us. That way we never felt trapped – we each knew that we had an out if we wanted one."
The meaning of intimacy can change over time. Rich misses the exciting sexual encounters of their courtship and early marriage. "Sexual intimacy is important – the relationship would have never started unless we were on the same frequency. Now aging and illness have brought problems and we are experimenting with different ways of being sexual." Matt has been married for 32 years. "Our sexual relationship is just as juicy but less frequent. We are more affectionate, but have fewer moments of passion. My current libido feels like I’m 35 but my mature mind overcomes dangerous ideas every time." David feels that, although the sexual relationship with his wife is still important, affection plays a bigger part in their intimacy. “We are very close and physical. We like to touch, hold each other. We are as intimate as ever even though we are not as sexual."
Which statements apply to your relationship? Let us hear your reactions.