As a Portland couples counselor, I can tell you that aging affects marriage. We all change as we age – mentally and emotionally as well as physically – and these changes can negatively affect our relationship with our spouse. You may find that you or your spouse start to have different goals in your life than when you first married, or that anger and depression have arisen due to an inability to attain your original life goals. Both of your sex drives will likely be altered, which can lead to feelings of confusion, hurt, and disappointment. And the simple act of physical aging can affect how you view yourself and your spouse and give rise to bad feelings. If you’re experiencing any of these problems with your spouse and find yourselves unable to work through them alone, find a couples counselor.

Save Your Marriage by Communicating

In my experience as a Portland couples counselor, I’ve helped many couples through the challenges of aging together. The goal is always to save your marriage. The two biggest problems couples face regarding aging are a lack of understanding and a lack of communication. When our bodies start changing or failing us, we might intellectually know what’s going on, but that doesn’t mean we emotionally accept it or deal with it in a productive way. Putting on weight due to a slowing metabolism, losing hair as you get older, or finding that you have a lowered sex drive are things that many of us find embarrassing – even shameful. Because of this, you don’t talk about your feelings with your partner and a rift can grow between you.

Find a couples counselor who can work with you to share your feelings with one another and work through these changes together. As a Portland therapist, I can tell you that this works when discussing the physical changes aging brings as well as changes to what each of you want out of life. When confronted with big shifts that we don’t understand – whether physical or emotional – the tendency is to think that a drastic change like divorce is the only thing that can fix the problem. Don’t fall for this trap. If you’re unhappy with yourself, leaving your spouse is likely to only make you more unhappy. Changes in your outlook and desires now shouldn’t be a deal breaker – they should be an opportunity to learn more about each other and discover new things to love together. Working through these changes in a safe environment with a professional is the best way to save your marriage. Feel free to contact me if you are looking for a Portland therapist.