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Why Marry After Age 65?

by Kathryn Rateliff Barr, studioD

Many couples age 65 and older marry. People often outlive spouses. Some seniors prefer to live together without marriage, sharing love, companionship and expenses. Others decide that being 65 years old -- or older -- leaves plenty of time to enjoy the advantages of married life.

Health Benefits

Happily married senior couples are more likely to enjoy good mental and physical health. You can care for each other, often easing the burden on family members or the need to move into assisted living. Seniors feel healthier and younger, according to a Psychology Today article by Nancy Kalish, professor emeritus of psychology at California State University, Sacramento. They exercise together and motivate each other to eat healthier, take medication on schedule and make regular health care appointments.

Financial Benefits

Caring for each other reduces health costs. If you are a widow or widower, Social Security survivor benefits are not denied if you wait until at least age 60 to marry, according to the Social Security Administration. Family members may worry that your marriage will disrupt inheritances, so Kalish suggests that you have a frank discussion about finances with your kids. Set up provisions in a will or through a prenuptial agreement to ease concerns. Once financial concerns are addressed, the kids often have an easier time adjusting to a new spouse.

Love and Happiness

Many senior couples enjoy the status and privilege of being married, and they object to living together on moral grounds. Finding love can be a welcome surprise. A new spouse can also challenge children if they feel you have forgotten your former spouse in the process. Assure your kids that their other parent isn’t forgotten. Mention that you have a right to be happy. Stress how much you enjoy the companionship. Remind them that romance is not reserved for the young.

Freedom and Connection

With your kids on their own, you can travel, take classes, connect with your friends and keep your own schedule. Encourage your kids to stay connected and make time for them. Addressing relationship issues up front could ease tensions as you make time for grandchildren and visit through telephone calls, emails, video conferences or in person.

About the Author

Rev. Kathryn Rateliff Barr has taught birth, parenting, vaccinations and alternative medicine classes since 1994. She is a pastoral family counselor and has parented birth, step, adopted and foster children. She holds bachelor's degrees in English and history from Centenary College of Louisiana. Studies include midwifery, naturopathy and other alternative therapies.

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