We're Luckier Than Most
Domestic violence is up. Those "til death do us part" couples have found out that their love has limits. Patience with each other and with family members has worn thin to the point of nearly sadistic physical and emotional abuse.
So why are my husband Chris and I not at each others' throats?
Why are we still holding hands at the breakfast table after being married 6 years (one year after the country's normal divorce rate).
Why do we still say "I love you" to each other as the last words before we go to sleep?
Love, Respect, Communication.
In a sense, we've been prepped for times like these: in the last 7 years we've never been apart from each other more than 18 hours. And no jobs requiring travel. Being seniors, "stuck with each other" was an early reality we learned to cope with. A reality aided by love, respect and good communication.*
Of course, stay-in-place has caused the same frustrations as it has for most people, but these frustrations have meant a change in daily living, not a change in relationship. In a married senior couple, the relationship has weathered just about everything: petty jealousies, character differences, emotional and physical setbacks. And the "driving-me-crazy" limit was reached long ago. Senior experience counts: putting up with your life partner's faults and foibles is already ingrained.
Such a relationship as ours is also a comfort to one's relatives: the pangs of separation are eased knowing that your loved one is fairing better than most.
Love may not conquer all
But in times like these, it makes living more tolerable. Chris and I love to snuggle. Usually done for an emotional respite, it sometimes takes on the role of "you and me against the world." We're each other's safe haven, sometimes shutting out everything else. It also helps that we had fate on our side finding each other relatively late in life (52 and 64 respectively when we met). We cherish every day together.
It's a deeper love, bolstered by living through other relationships both physical and emotional.
Again, senior experience counts. It makes us stronger. It makes us love each other more. It helps us through times like these.
*Early in the relationship, we took a precautionary view and signed up for couples counseling. The counselor concluded: "You two have the best communication with each other I've ever seen."