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Man bemoaning to bartender: "My wife understands me."

It'll be Tish's 62nd birthday in a few minutes. She's 9 years older than me and that never made any difference to either of us. It bothered some others way back when we first got married but we were always trend setters. We'll be married 25 years this next spring and together a few years longer on top of that. Our relationship has always been strong and close. We've had some bumps along the way - who hasn't - but what a ride!

Now that we have kids in our day to day lives again, it's put a strain on intimacy. We don't have the energy we used to, our very different schedules don't give us as much time together as we'd like, and when we finally do have an evening or a couple of hours we may not both be in the same mood as the other. In the past, when things were similar, we tried scheduling 'dates' a day or so in advance. Not such a great plan when you have no idea what mood you'll be in and it sucks any spontaneity out of romance.

Dont you think it's strange that human beings are sexual creatures all their lives. Most animals have heat cycles that run a couple of times year and the male isn't interested until the female says so. Not so the human creature. Even after menopause we still stay hot and bothered. I suppose that's a good thing for the length of life we lead but at the same time, sexual anxiety can be a burden on a long life filled with so many other anxieties. And this is from a man who loves his wife and thinks she's the sexiest broad in the world. I love sex and intimacy, but like everything else, it has it's place and I think for many couples, it can become a confusing and even a burden because its place in the relationship changes - and not always equally for each partner.

When you think about it, a long life with a single partner is a modern phenomenon and not so easy. Life expectancy when marriage was invented was 30 years. That only gave you 15 to 20 years with a 'lifelong' partner. Imagining 50 years together was an exception. Surviving it with an exclusive sexual partnership seems to be more than most couples can manage.

That's where Tish and I seem to luck out. When things are good, no one has a problem but we've had a symbiosis in our love over the years that synchs when we need it most. I guess that may be part of the secret to any long marriage - sychronicity. Some of it comes naturally, much of it comes with sacrifice and hard work on the part of both partners at different times.