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.
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.