old unhappy coupleLet's take a look at the future of your marriage.

Say you've been married 20-plus years. You and your husband have made it this far, past the long, tough parenting hours you put in when your kids were little, past the point of having to find your way in the working world.

You're still young-ish. And you're ready to enjoy the freedom that comes from having raised your kids and sent them off to become productive adults.

Do you want to explore this freedom with your spouse or without him?

Hopefully you want to do it together. But there are no guarantees, even in a long-term marriage. I've been privy to the break-ups of some long-term marriages, starting with my own parents' marriage after almost 20 years. (I was 15.) And I have some friends and acquaintances who have recently gone through this.

And I see a common thread running through these failed relationships: The husband and wife grew apart. So far apart that nothing could bring them back together and they truly just wanted different things.

It happens. People change. Each time you enter a new phase of life, whether it's marriage, having kids, or getting a new job, you're going to change.

The strongest marriages are those in which the couple is able to change together and to grow together. But that's not easy. It takes a lot of work, communication, and compromise.

One way to try to keep your marriage strong? Try new things together so you continue to have shared experiences. Whether it's taking a cooking class together or throwing a dinner party. My husband and I love to entertain. And we make a good team while we're doing it; from planning a menu to food shopping and even cleaning up.

Another way? My husband and I work out together. Not only does that give us time alone, but it also keeps us active and in shape, which in turn fosters our healthy sex life.

I hope to emulate my grandparents. They were married 69 years. They loved to travel, take long walks together (always holding hands), go to the gym together, and really enjoyed their later years. And they had an active and extremely pleasurable sex life.

How do I know? My grandmother told me. And then she told me to make sure that I did the same.

How do you plan on keeping your marriage strong in your later years?

 

Image via *martin*/Flickr