“Maybe I can do everything alone, but I sure prefer doing most things with him.”
By Ronnie Ann Ryan
Last updated on Sep 19, 2023
Photo: Yana Gayvoronskaya, Lisa5201, RossHelen | Canva
I was a midlife bride.
I married for the first time at 43, and I can vouch for the effort it takes to successfully intermingle two lives already in full swing.
Many women wear their independence as a well earned badge of honor, unaccustomed to relying on anyone else, and hesitant to consider there could be benefits to becoming part of a we. Let’s face it, women don’t need men today — we’ve fought for the right to be independent.
However, the question remains: do you really want to do everything alone?
I went through the shift from independence to one of interdependence. Romance had been sparse for me between 22 and awaking to still being single on my 40th birthday. On that cold January morning, I realized something had to change, or I might remain single for the rest of my life.
I was having a good time, enjoying my freelance marketing business, raking in the dough, traveling with girlfriends and socializing up a storm. Just not with men. I thought I had never met any interesting men, but the truth was I just wasn’t open to them.
Cresting 40, I assessed my single status, did some soul searching, and decided to change my romantic karma. This sparked the start of my journey to find love. I dated 30 men in 15 months and found my husband, Paul. Connecting with Paul is when the real journey began — learning how to manage my life with another person involved, and the happy results followed.
Here are 6 delicate ways to balance you, me & we in midlife marriage:
1. Change from me to we
After dating for a year, Paul moved in so we could more deeply test our compatibility. We set up cohabitation with an exit strategy in case things didn’t work out as planned. Paul moved in for three months without giving up his place, so we could decide to either get married or part ways. We’ve been together now for 15 years, so you know the outcome. Arriving there required learning and unlearning, compromising, and understanding.
2. Change in socializing behaviors
When Paul first moved in, that caused a ripple of changes. Obviously, I had to make a physical room in my closet, bathroom, and kitchen.
But living with a man impacted several other less obvious areas of my life as well. For one, Paul and I hadn’t been seeing each other more than three times a week, so the move changed my desire for socializing. I continued getting together with friends, but not at the same pace. My normal week often included about six nights out, but now I wanted to stay home more often.
3. Change in mealtime
We didn’t eat the same kind of food, which turned dinner into a negotiation. I ate mostly vegetables and fish whereas Paul enjoyed typical bachelor fare including pizza, burgers, fries, and Chinese takeout. Over time, he learned to enjoy healthier meals, but it took some doing. In the beginning, we ate together, but not always the same food.
4. Change in schedules
We also had very different work schedules. Paul had to be at work by 6 AM, so he went to bed at 10 PM and set the alarm for 5. Being my own boss, I usually shut off the lights around midnight and woke at 7 AM. I had two choices: going to sleep later than Paul or with him.
Since I wanted to snuggle before falling asleep, I had to shift my time clock to make this possible. After some adjustment, I discovered I loved waking early and getting so much more done and leaving my early evenings free for fun or relaxation. A few of my girlfriends found this horrifying. They could not believe I would make such a sacrifice for a man. For me, the modification paid off.
5. Change in consciousness
Other subtle situations came up that required growth. For example, Paul was a gentleman and let me enter a restaurant first.
That meant the hostess saw and addressed me as the leader, cutting Paul out of the loop. I had to learn to be first in, but make way for my beau to take charge. I wrote an article about this called Dinner Date Feng Shui, with additional lessons on choosing a seat, ordering wine, handling the bill, and the like.
6. Change in chores
Lastly, when the time came to take care of household chores, I needed to learn how to divide and conquer. Maybe that sounds obvious, but it was harder than you think. One time we went to Home Depot to buy replacement filters for the water filtration system.
The store was out of the model we needed, and we had to figure out an alternative. My instinct was to get help from a service person. Paul preferred to figure it out himself (just like a typical man’s desire to refuse to ask for driving directions, right?)
Once back in the car, he explained his humiliation as I talked to the Home Depot guy while he stood there. He expressed that didn’t need my help to figure out how to fix things, which is very true. But I was used to getting things done myself. I had to open my mind to the best course of action for the future — let Paul get supplies on his own, rather than get in his way or embarrass him.
Each one of these situations represents an opportunity where I learned to shift my behavior and make room in my life for the man I love. I could take care of myself, but liked having a partner and relinquishing some control of our life together. Subduing my “chick-in-charge” persona might not have been the easiest goal I ever accomplished, but, I can tell you the journey to find love pays off in countless and wonderful ways.
Maybe I can do everything alone, but I sure prefer doing most things with him.
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Ronnie Ann Ryan is an Intuitive Coach and Past Life Reader. Her audio course, How to Ask the Universe for a Sign is available for anyone looking for answers.