Unfiltered Love:

Stoking the Fires of Romance

in Your Senior Years


How old does one need to be before they lose interest in love and companionship, when passion becomes a thing of the past?


According to recent research, there is no such thing as being too old to be in love. In fact, research indicates many seniors are often capable of loving more deeply.


That doesn't mean the flames of passion do not ebb and flow as concerns related to age begin to demand more time and occupy the mind. Without question there can be circumstances related to health, for example, that can be limiting.


For some that are plagued by bothersome health concerns, their schedules and the extent of their active life often suffers. That could result in shorter walks rather than the long walks that were once standard, or limitations on engaging in other rigorous activities the way they may have done in their younger years. But that doesn't mean they are incapable of experiencing the same satisfaction they have always known when it comes to the joys and benefits of romantic companionship.


Seniors understand and accept - with varying degrees of grace - that long walks may become short walks, steamy romantic encounters may be toned down with time, or not. But love lives in the heart, in the mind and in the soul of men and women regardless their age. So say the poets.


As Elizabeth Barrett Browning so aptly put it:


I love thee with a love I seemed to lose

With my lost saints, I love thee with the breath,

Smiles, tears, of all my life! and, if God choose,

I shall but love thee better after death.


Contemporary poet Bruce Lee may have said it best:


"Love is like a friendship caught on fire. In the beginning a flame, very pretty, often hot and fierce, but still only light and flickering. As love grows older, our hearts mature and our love becomes as coals, deep-burning and unquenchable."


While we must admit that with age comes distraction, retirement can actually provide more time to rekindle relationships, some strained by years of hard work and the need to manage the family. Jobs or business activities, churches and schools and raising the kids, managing the finances and paying the mortgage and taxes, even mowing the yard and washing the clothes and mopping the floors and working on the car demanded most of our time when we were younger.


In truth, we get busy in life during our prime years, and far too often romance gets put on the shelf or reserved for infrequent moments when we manage to escape the burdens of modern life to steal a few precious moments alone together.


But love for many seniors is  a chance for renewal, a chance to escape the rigors of life in the fast lane and to rediscover those quiet moments alone with the one we love, who has spent so many years sharing in the joys and responsibilities of life, its many successes and failures.


Certainly there is more time to be active for hobbies and adventures together, but romance also needs to be exercised And what better time in life to catch up than than during our retirement years?


Here's our recipe for renewing the love you and your wife or husband have worked so hard at preserving through all the many years of your life together:


Find time to spend together doing nothing more than enjoying each others company. For husbands, that may mean spending time watching one of those romantic comedies she likes at the local theater or taking her to a special candlelight dinner or scheduling time to relax in lawn chairs on the beach just to watch the full moon rise.


For women, they might try taking the love of their life to a live baseball game or to the coast for a fishing adventure in the bay.


But no need to be creative. Not there is anything wrong with being creative in a senior relationship, but every day can be a romantic day if you take the time to think about the things that make your special someone smile. Caring words of encouragement often do the trick. And you never get too old to hold hands with the person that has given you so many years of warmth and happiness.


One might argue that love is, among other things, an attitude. We decide each day how much we want to continue our journey of love with our spouse. Sure, on many days we just feel like sitting in the shade and reading a good book. But even on such days how many opportunities to smile or speak soft words of appreciation or encouragement to the one we love slip by?


Don't allow that to happen. Exercise your right to love and live happily with your spouse. Certainly you have your own interests, and so do they. But we should never forget the fires only burn low when we fail to feed it with new fuel.


Don't let your love engine run out of steam. Stoke the engine of love. Plan on a day doing nothing more than making your husband or wife smile. Surprise them at every turn, take them to lunch or dinner, buy them a solitary rose or a dozen flowers, it doesn't really matter, or pick up a card that reminds them that your love still runs true and deep.


Never fail to take the time to remind your loved one that they still mean the world to you, in spite of the wrinkles or the sagging skin or receding hair line. Life has always been too short not to cease the day, to fight for the affection of the one we love, and that is true in our senior years more than in any other time in life.


Never hesitate to say I love you in as many ways as your mind can think, for truly no joy so great and wonderful has ever come your way than in the form of the one who has loved you the deepest, and the longest.


Love, you see, never retires.  It never ceases to grow if you nurture it properly, and it never ceases to please if you allow it and are willing to work at it.


Here's our advice: If the beach is not too far away, take him or heart or out early one morning and watch the sunrise, then head off to breakfast and the start of a wonderful day. Or if you prefer, spend an evening by the lake or on a hill top to watch the sun change the sky a dozen colors of splendor as it sets low into the west.


If noting else, read your life-partner a verse or poem at bedtime, and never forget to shower them with smiles, and kisses are rarely a bad idea.


How old do you have to be before the need and desire for love dies? No one knows, because no one, so far, has ever reached that age. Keep love alive in your life -- and live happy!

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