My opinion of this study on divorce...
I recently heard a report on the news that divorces were decreasing in every demographic except those over the age of 60. This surprised me because I don’t see this happening with the friends and family that I associate with. The commentators felt that it was because many people of that age group married younger than we as a society do today, and so they find that they have less in common when they do have time to get to know each other.
Well, I want to give my opinion based on my experiences with friends and family that I know.
Almost three years ago, my husband was forced to switch jobs. Before he was out of work, I had a very structured life that I had shaped for myself. I NEED a regular schedule or I do not function well. The first 6 weeks that he was home, I was feeling very “invaded” as far as my schedule and daily life. I sometimes felt that he expected me to work my schedule around his now that he was home, even though we both knew it was only temporary. I really felt that our future goals of serving missions for our church together were not going to be possible because he was driving me crazy always being around! But after that first 6 weeks we began getting in sync with each other. By the end of the 7 months when he started the new job, I was surprised by how much I missed having him around. It again took about 6 weeks for me to get back to the old schedule and before I stopped missing having him around all the time.
Now from this personal experience, and seeing friends and family that have gone through the stage of retirement, I have seen that the difference between those who make the transition smoothly or not depends on the goals a couple has both together and as individuals.
Before we ever marry, I think it is important that we should know what the goals are in the life of a perspective spouse. Not just the short-term goals like college, and family etc., but the mid and long range goals also. If you have no goals as a couple past the time of raising a family, then when that family has gone, what is the plan? What if his goals don’t match yours? If you have not been working throughout your marriage towards those long range goals, it is easy to see how couples drift apart due to separate interests. If one partner sees their golden years as a time to relax and golf, or travel, or whatever, and the other partners sees it as time to do community or volunteer work, or spend time with grandkids, or whatever, then it can easily happen that you are living separate lives. Especially if you each do what you envisioned your golden years to be you will eventually drift apart.
I have seen many couples grow closer together by spending time together doing things like travel, activities, volunteer work either in the community or church, and also by having separate interests also. I think having the separate interests are important so you have something to talk about together at the end of the day. The one thing that I have witnessed that is the most important activity is the service that older people can give. They have the wisdom and experience to share talents in so many ways, that it benefits everyone they are around.
So my advice, and I am taking it myself, is to strengthen your marriage after 60, find mutual interests, and in particular, to serve together whether in your community or your church or wherever!
At least that is my opinion!