I love meeting couples who’ve been married for decades, but it always makes me wonder, “How do you love one person for decades? Don’t they piss you off?” More importantly, how do they navigate long-term relationships without losing that “spark”? 

I asked seven Nigerians who’ve been married for over a decade to share how they spice up their relationships, and here’s what they said.

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Juli*, 55 — Married for 25 years

Our children are in university, so my husband and I have the house to ourselves for the first time in about 23 years.

We’re relearning how to bond, and sex is a big part of that. Raising children can make you feel like strangers if you’re not careful. There’s almost no time to be together with kids around; someone is almost always tired by the end of the day. 

But now, we’re taking intimacy seriously. It takes more effort because menopause is dealing with me, but we try not to let three days go by without having sex.

Omoh*, 41 — Married for 20 years

We consciously foster intimacy by bathing together. We’ve done it every day for the 20 years we’ve been married, as long as one of us didn’t spend the night outside the house.

It’s helped us settle many disagreements. You can’t be keeping malice with someone and bathing together. You’ll have to open your mouth and ask them to pass you soap or something. So even when we disagree, it never escalates to not speaking to each other.

Akin*, 42 — Married for 11 years

I like to surprise my wife with lingerie and clothes I think are sexy. And it’s made it easier to build excitement in our marriage. I don’t have to think of how to say I’d like to see certain things on her; I just buy and she wears, and it helps us stay attracted to each other.

Yvonne*, 35 — Married for 12 years

We used to leave each other little love notes around the house for the other to find, like a treasure hunt. But now our kids can read, and we don’t want to risk any of them finding the notes. So, we moved our treasure hunt to the bedroom about a year ago. Just the thought of finding new places to hide the notes is so exciting. 

I once found a note hidden inside my shoe. We were even fighting then, so he’d obviously hidden the note some days prior. It melted my anger away.

Psst! Have you seen our Valentine Special yet? We brought back three couples – one now with kids, one now married and the last, still best friends – to share how their relationships have evolved in the last five years. Watch the first episode below:

Grace*, 44 — Married for 18 years

My husband cooks for me every Saturday and brings me breakfast and lunch in our room so I don’t have to step out till I’m ready. We have a large home filled with children and family members, and it quickly gets overwhelming. But on Saturdays, we get to relax together, and I feel taken care of. I honestly think it’s one of the things that’s kept us together this long.

Comfort*, 38 — Married for 11 years

I get random credit alerts with the narration “From your sugar daddy” from my husband at least once a week. We joke that he’s old enough to be my sugar daddy (he’s ten years older) all the time, and I think it’s sweet how he’s consistently kept it up. The transfers are never huge, but just the thought behind it is great.

Kunle*, 50 — Married for 15 years

My wife makes pounded yam for me every week. She knows I don’t like the poundo version, and I like how she pounds hers so there aren’t any lumps. So, even though our help does other things in the house, my wife always makes sure she pounds the yams herself. That’s just how selfless she is. Every time I eat pounded yam at home, I remember how lucky I am to have her.

*Names have been changed for anonymity.

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