Microsoft founder Bill Gates and his wife of 27 years, Melinda Gates, recently announced their divorce. This has shocked the world because the Gates seemed like the epitome of a best-friends marriage, united by three children and their joint leadership of the world's largest charitable foundation.
We don’t claim to know anything about the Gates’ divorce. We are, however, increasingly aware of a crisis point many couples reach after about 25 years of marriage when the kids are raised, careers may be winding down, and couples may look at each other and say, "Who are you?" Life can become all about the kids, the bills, the business, and other things. Couples drift apart. This phenomenon is known as the “Gray Divorce.”
Money can help take some of the worry out of life. But if the richest couple in the world is divorcing, there has to be more to making marriage work than having enough money. Here are a few suggestions:
1. Prioritize the marital relationship above all other relationships. Intentionally turn toward your partner.
2. Stay friends. With all of the busyness of life, don't forget to keep playing. If you run a business together, as the Gates did (and we don't know their circumstances), that might give you more opportunities to interact. But none of us wants everything to be about the bottom line.
3. Take time for personal development. New discoveries and growth as a person better enable you to handle the difficulties that come along, and keep things interesting for your partner. Being intelligent and educated doesn't guarantee marital bliss. However, a lifetime of commitment to personal growth and human relationships can positively impact your companionship.
4. Be intentional about maintaining passion and sexual connection. We want to love and be loved passionately and freely. Once novelty and newness have worn off, this area of life requires more purposeful attention. Don't "outgrow" passion or you may outgrow your marriage.
We can never judge another person’s divorce accurately. It is better to offer love and compassion. Sometimes divorce is the most loving choice. We can assume good intent and refuse to judge or pick sides. To learn more about “divorce stories” and how to choose a perspective that best serves you and future relationships, listen to our recent podcast.
LILY Pod Episode 12: Divorce Stories
Do you want to intentionally transform your life for the better? When it comes to the mind, everything beyond verifiable fact is perspective. The stories we tell have the power to influence our emotions, energy, behaviors, and ultimately our outcomes. We often choose our stories unconsciously and begin to believe our perspective as if it is fact and don’t even question it. Yet there is another option. We can choose our stories consciously to create intentional transformation. Our emotions, energy, behaviors, and outcomes can shift when we choose different stories. We are creators. It all begins with the thoughts we choose to focus on.
We have developed a LILY Coaching Model that we believe will be very helpful in our coaching practice. It provides a framework we as humans each need to do in order to create our best life. The acronym for our model is FSEEBO – so remember to “Forget SEEBO!” Forget the stories that don’t serve you, so you can forget the emotion/energy that doesn’t elevate you, and as a result you will forget each behavior/outcome that doesn’t benefit you! Doing this important thought work with firm intention, over time, will lead you to more purposefully create your life and find greater joy in your journey.
Here’s the breakdown:
Facts – verifiable (every thought beyond the facts is OPTIONAL)
Stories – our own perceptions and adaptations of the facts, the thoughts we choose to subscribe to and focus on
Emotions – the result of our stories, greatly influenced by our thoughts in the moment and in accumulation
Energy – the vibration we approach our day with and the world around us, also influenced by our thoughts/stories
Behaviors – naturally follow stories/emotions/energy, unless we use will-power to counteract it, which isn't sustainable
Outcomes – what our lives look like, as a result of our behaviors, which are influenced by our emotions/energy, and ultimately from our stories – the thoughts we attach to about the facts of our life experience.
Enjoy a more in depth discussion on LILY Pod Episode 11: Our F-SEEBO Model
Listen to "Our F-SEEBO Model" podcast on LILY Pod as many times as it takes to really get it down. Take notes and make a commitment to do this work in your own life. You can do a lot of this work yourself. Yet we all have blind spots so it is very helpful to meet with a coach and get personal assistance. We are happy to support you along the way! Let us know if you’d like a FREE coaching consultation by emailing us at loveinlateryears.com.
Jeff and Cathy each hold college degrees in the family science field. The principle of least interest is a prominent theory in this discipline. It simply means that the partner who is least invested in a relationship controls that relationship. This is so because the less interested partner is more willing to walk away rather than compromise or change.
We have seen many manifestations of this, such as a wife who is constantly clamoring for her husband's attention while he works long hours to avoid feeling smothered at home. It could be the husband who is pressing his wife for more couple time while she focuses on the kids and her friends, often to the exclusion of her husband.
In the realm of dating, one person may be very excited about another, while that other may still be dating a lot of other people. That dynamic creates a great deal of frustration for both of them. The one who is dating all of the other people controls the relationship because he or she is prepared to pursue other interests, while the other is willing to make the relationship a priority.
If you are the more interested dating partner, here are a few suggestions to help you deal with a relationship where you have no power:
Listen to our LILY Pod episode which outlines dating etiquette for mid-singles and for married couples. If in addition to these free materials you would like to consider one-on-one coaching for your own dating and relationships, email us at loveinlateryears.com to schedule a free consult.
Enjoy LILY Pod Episode 7: Dating Etiquette for Mid-Singles and Married Couples
When asked the greatest commandment, Jesus answered: “…Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself” (Matthew 22:37-39). Loving God, ourselves, and our neighbors is at the root of all other commandments. When we cultivate that love, it is relatively easy and makes perfect sense to honor God’s other requests of us.
We encourage mid-singles to date and find a forever companion, but “love in later years” is so much more than that. It’s about developing the root of all other commandments, which is love. Life, with all its challenges and blessings, is more joyful as we carry the love of God in our hearts. God’s love provides us with a healthy sense of self and reminds us of our divine worth and individual wholeness. Our inherent worth is a constant – no earthly experience can ever change it. As we become love, as God is love, we have the power to develop love in our later years no matter our relationship status.
To dive deeper, enjoy our FREE LILY Pod series, which focus on developing love through honoring the two great commandments. We recommend listening to these in order (episodes 2-6). Links to each episode are provided below.
LILY Pod 5-Part Series:
It is a self-evident truth that, in the realm of human relationships, agency will always create the opportunity for truly irreconcilable differences.
During our long-term marriages, we believed we would always be able to think of an acceptable alternative to divorce, no matter what problem arose. However, in both of our cases, the decision was our spouse's. At other times, the kind of marriage a spouse might have to settle for would violate their integrity. For example, we know a man whose wife told him she would stay married to him if she could keep her lesbian partner in a separate bedroom in their house. He would not remain married on those terms.
In situations where your spouse gave up on the marriage, placed serious addictions above the marriage, or proved chronically unfaithful or abusive, you can continue to hope and pray if you wish. This may be living in denial. Acceptance of reality and of your partner's agency is the beginning of healing.
If you are broken-hearted over the decisions of a former spouse and think, "It wasn't supposed to be this way" or that something is "wrong," give yourself time to grieve. But also begin to ask yourself whether, perhaps, your situation is exactly as it should be. Consider whether a chance to start over at mid-life with all the knowledge you have gained is a tender mercy. Begin to think and dream about creating a new future with a spouse that is aligned with you in the most important areas of life – and see your situation for its possibilities.
We were married and sealed in the Provo City Center Temple on May 11, 2018. For our anniversary this year, which happens to fall on a Tuesday when we send these LILY Letters out each week, we are pleased to share with you our new Love in Later Years production: "LILY Pod." We’ve been working on outlines and recordings over the past month and we are pleased with how the first 8 episodes turned out.
Our anniversary gift to our Love in Later Years community is the opportunity to listen and subscribe to our labor of love for FREE. We will continue adding fresh new content each week. Use any of the following links to enjoy (choose your preferred method of listening):
ApplePodcasts: LILY PodApple
Thanks for being valued members of our growing Love In Later Years (LILY) community. Feel free to spread the love and share with friends and family. To learn more, visit www.loveinlateryears.com.
Jeff Teichert & Cathy Butler Teichert
Official LILY Pod Launch: May 11, 2021 – Our 3rd Wedding Anniversary
This is Cathy in Southern Utah as a mid-single. For many years, she was a single mother to two young boys. Can being a single parent feel heavy? Does it require superhero strength and stamina? It absolutely does at times. It can feel as daunting as holding up this gigantic rock.
Fortunately, we have a loving Father in Heaven and a Savior to rely on when faced with seemingly impossible tasks. We can ask God to consecrate our best efforts and accomplish far more with heavenly help than we can on our own. Sometimes we really need that divine support.
As challenging as it may be sometimes, divorce and single parenting can actually have a positive ripple effect, based on what we learn and how we grow from our personalized mortal experiences. The hard stuff is part of becoming who we are meant to be, while blessing those around us with the wisdom and skills we have acquired in the process.
For all the single moms and dads out there, doing your best to raise good children largely on your own, you have real strength only alluded to in this photo. We know, because we've been there. Keep up the good work – you are amazing. Your best efforts, combined with heaven's assistance, make you a superhero in our book!
Elder Gerrit W. Gong spoke about single adult members of the Church in April Conference:
"During this life, we sometimes wait upon the Lord. We may not yet be where we hope and wish to be in the future. A devout sister says, 'Waiting faithfully upon the Lord for His blessings is a holy position. It must not be met with pity, patronizing, or judgment but instead with sacred honor.' In the meantime, we live now, not waiting for life to begin.
Isaiah promises, 'They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint' (Isaiah 40:31)."
President M. Russell Ballard expanded on this theme of waiting on the Lord as follows:
"[T]he precise time and manner in which the blessings of exaltation are bestowed have not all been revealed, but they are nonetheless assured. President Dallin H. Oaks explained that some of the circumstances 'of mortality will be set right in the Millennium, which is the time for fulfilling all that is incomplete in the great plan of happiness for all of our Father’s worthy children.' That doesn’t mean that every blessing is deferred until the Millennium; some have already been received, and others will continue to be received until that day.
[W]aiting upon the Lord implies continued obedience and spiritual progress toward Him. Waiting upon the Lord does not imply biding one’s time. You should never feel like you are in a waiting room. Waiting upon the Lord implies action. I have learned over the years that our hope in Christ increases when we serve others. Serving as Jesus served, we naturally increase our hope in Him.
The personal growth one can achieve now while waiting upon the Lord and His promises is an invaluable, sacred element of His plan for each one of us. The contributions one can make now to help build up the Church on earth and to gather Israel are much needed. Marital status has nothing to do with one’s capacity to serve. The Lord honors those who serve and wait upon Him in patience and faith."
These are reassuring promises that the blessings of marriage and exaltation are assured, notwithstanding any pity, patronizing, or judgment you may receive because of your single status. Yet waiting is not simply biding our time in a “waiting room.” It implies action. Our mid-single years were a time of tremendous growth. We testify that your personal growth combined with acts of service will prepare you to be a better dating partner and a better spouse. Treasure this time for the gift that it is; focus on building yourself and the kingdom of God.
The greatest example of God’s love for His children is found in the infinite Atonement of Jesus Christ. Love is a powerful gift that we all came to earth to develop and our Savior is the perfect example. When asked the greatest commandment, Jesus answered: “… Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself” (Matthew 22: 37-39). Loving God, ourselves, and our neighbors is at the root of all other commandments.
“Perfect love casteth out fear” (Moroni 8:16). Mid-singles are no stranger to fear that comes from loss associated with painful breakups, divorce, or death of a spouse. This can lead to self-doubt, self-loathing, and sometimes even self-destructive behaviors. We can also go looking for love outside ourselves, wanting a partner to validate our worth instead of first finding love and compassion for ourselves. Our worth is a constant, no earthly experience can ever change it. All we need to do is remember our divine worth and allow God’s love to help us conquer our fears.
God sent us here with all the love we will ever need inside of us. As we tap into His love, we find an infinite well-spring of heavenly help to support us as spiritual beings in our mortal journey. “God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him” (1 John 4:8). As we cultivate love in us, we stand in holy places and our access to the spirit is supported by the high vibrational energy of love where God resides.
“There was no contention because of the love of God which did dwell in the hearts of the people” (4 Nephi 1:15). This offers a beautiful vision of what marriage and family life, and even the world around us, has the potential to be in a future filled with love!
“Love in Later Years” involves all of the most important elements of love – love for God, love for ourselves by receiving the love He has bestowed on us, and sharing that love with those around us. Yes, we encourage dating and finding a forever companion, but love in later years is so much more than that. It’s about developing the root of all other commandments, which is love. Life, with all its challenges and blessings, is more joyful as we carry the love of God in our hearts.
At our recent General Conference, President M. Russell Ballard and Elder Gerrit W. Gong both highlighted the fact that a majority of adult members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are now unmarried, widowed, or divorced. Among other things, Elder Gong emphasized that, “Our standing before the Lord and in His Church is not a matter of our marital status but of our becoming faithful and valiant disciples of Jesus Chris” and that, “Adults want to be seen as adults and to be responsible and contribute as adults.” So often, mid-singles of our faith have been treated by other adults as if they had returned to a state of adolescence. Many of you have been lectured about the law of chastity the way we were in our teen years, as though we had not matured in our ability to make moral decisions or to create evolved relationships.
Often people assume that singles must have missed out on the secret possessed by married members of the Church. It is comforting to believe that divorce cannot happen to us. We were among those who sometimes judged divorced or unmarried members for not getting married or “not making their marriages work” – before we, ourselves, were divorced. “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” (1 Corinthians 10:12.)
We are living in an era where a universe of possibilities is open to mid-singles of the Church. President Ballard made clear “that eternal life is not simply a question of current marital status but of discipleship and being ‘valiant in the testimony of Jesus.’” He quoted President Russell M. Nelson, “In the Lord’s own way and time, no blessing will be withheld from His faithful Saints. The Lord will judge and reward each individual according to heartfelt desire as well as deed.” If an eternal marriage is your heart’s desire, the Lord has promised that it will be yours, in this life or the next, if you are true and faithful and remain on the covenant path. As President Ballard reminded us, “The hope of all who are single is the same as for all members of the Lord’s restored Church - access to the grace of Christ through ‘obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.’” Love in Later Years is here to help you achieve the spirituality, personal development, and relationships you desire.