- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 23, 2003

CHAPPAQUA, N.Y. (AP) Love and sex are more important to a happy marriage for men in their late 50s and early 60s than at any other time in their lives, a new survey says.

Unfortunately for them, that's just when intimacy becomes less important to women.

The survey, being published in the February issue of Reader's Digest, found that between the ages of 57 and 64 men become more attentive to their wives while women, finally freed from family responsibilities, find more goals outside of marriage.

"The guys are saying, 'Now I get it. I want more intimacy,'" said John Gottman, a marriage expert who analyzed polling data for the magazine. "And the women are saying, 'Sorry, bub, I've already done that. I've got my own goals now.'"

A 60-year-old New York woman in the survey said she was finally getting the chance to travel, but her retired husband didn't want to. "What am I supposed to do? Stay home?" she asked. "Life's too short."

The nationwide telephone survey was conducted in June for the Chappaqua-based magazine by the Ipsos-NPD research group, which randomly chose 500 married men and 500 married women, but no couples. Questions were designed to determine how happy their marriages were and find out about specific behavior and attitudes.

Mr. Gottman, who teaches at the University of Washington and is the author of "The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work," then compared the answers to find the relationship between marital happiness and particular behavior and attitudes.

Women in the 57-to-64 age group rated good sex at 46 on a scale of 100 for its importance to a happy marriage. Men rated it 62. For the 44-to-56 age group, the importance of sex got a 66 from women and a 54 from men.

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