Survival techniques for senior couples


Having been married for 55 years I am constantly amazed at how easily, and often, marriages in this modern era fail… it’s as though today’s population believe that once rings have been placed on fingers, then the future is simply a matter of rainbows and roses; that every night will be a ‘honeymoon’ night; and every morning an occasion in which angels and choruses, herald of a new day – a blissful future? But alas! … that is far from true!   Sad to say, that is only the beginning! In the USA 41% of first marriages fail; with the corresponding stats for 2nd and 3rd marriages being 60% and 73% respectively, and there are 100 divorces per hour. Successful marriages, require ongoing effort and hard work right until the end (In fact, given that as we get older our tolerance levels reduce… the effort required to sustain a happy marriage, may even become increasingly difficult). So here are three tips which may assist you:


  1. Stop arguing – It is not a competitive sport. Or if it is, it is more akin to a three-legged race? So often normal conversations start to sound a little like the lyrics of Irving Berlin song in the film… “Annie Get Your Gun!” The ones in which the chorus goes something like…

Anything you can do I can do better… I can do anything better than you
[Frank:] No, you can’t / [Annie:] Yes, I can
[Frank:] No, you can’t / [Annie:] Yes, I can
[Frank:] No, you can’t / [Annie:] Yes, I can! Yes, I can!


  1. Learn to accept advice… you are far more likely to survive with more than one party keeping watch. And this is especially true in respect of driving motor vehicles. As we age our sensory abilities; such as hearing, vision and reaction times, tend to diminish. Surely it makes sense for both drivers and passengers to keep an eye open in regard to approaching hazards… or perhaps even just to give advice such as …” If you were intending to drive to Johannesburg – we have just passed it?” Or… “ You have just turned right and headed North… if you were intending to travel to Cape Town, we needed to turn left?”


  1. Stop pushing your partner’s buttons… People think that after 55 years of marriage, one would automatically know which buttons not to push. Not so! To the contrary; after that much practice, when in a retaliatory mindset, you instinctively know which buttons to push! And as hazardous as that may seem, who can resist it?