These long-married couples share their relationship secrets!
If you’re like me, whenever you see a loving couple that’s well into their 80s or 90s, you can’t help but be impressed. I mean, through everything they’ve undoubtedly been through together and their still going strong? Wow. Talk about being deeply in love…but it’s clearly more than that.
Love and marriage, while dependent on deeply rooted emotions, is also based on a lot of hard work and commitment. It’s about promising yourself to someone and doing everything in your power to show them how dedicated you are. So, to see a couple of that age still as passionate and loving as the day they married is truly an inspiration…and absolutely adorable.
So what’s the secret? How can a couple stay that way for that long? Karl Pillemer, gerontologist and author of 30 Lessons for Loving: Advice from the Wisest Americans on Love, Relationships, and Marriage, aims to answer that very question.
As part of the Cornell Marriage Advice Project, Pillemer attempted to understand what makes these longstanding couple work. In all, he interviewed more than 700 people who’ve been married for an accumulative total of 40,00 years.
As it turns out, his research turned up 8 tips and tricks for maintaining a happy marriage for literally the rest of your life. Check out the advice he received from these happy, enduring married couples:
1. Never settle
This seems like a no brainer, but with the divorce rates seen in modern society, maybe it’s time to listen up and expand our minds. You shouldn’t even be considering marriage if you’re absolutely head over heels in love with someone and they feel the same for you. Don’t marry someone as a last resort, or just because you’re at a time in your life where it seems practical. Let true love dictate when you get married, and never settle for anything else.
This is not the first time you’re hearing that communication is key in a good marriage. While it is cliché, Pillemer found that one of the most commonly shared pieces of advice was constant communication. This means talking about all of the important and little things in life with your partner. Not just talking either…you’re going to need to lend a listening ear and learn how to be honest through your communication. Express your feelings and thoughts and you’re on the right path.
3. Put your partner before your kids
Before your kids came around, it was easy to put your spouse at the top of your list. Now that you have kids, that can be a little trickier. In fact, with a job, kids, and a spouse, it can be a bit challenging to juggle everything that’s important to you. What’s important is that whenever it’s appropriate, you put your partner above all else. If you don’t you run the risk of growing apart which will obviously be a huge detriment to your marriage later in life. It may sound selfish to even consider putting your marriage above your kids from time to time, but a healthy long lasting relationship doesn’t just affect you—it affects your kids.
4. Don’t fight when you’re hungry
This was the most interesting recurring piece of advice that Pillemer unearthed in his research. But, then again, it makes sense. People get cranky and argumentative when they’re hungry and little fights can lead to bigger problems. Don’t let “hangriness” get the best of you. Bite your tongue until you can bite into some food if you want to make your marriage last forever.
5. Be willing to change
Of course, you shouldn’t change who you are to accommodate your partner, but that doesn’t mean you can’t improve on some of your lesser qualities. Keep an open mind about adapting and growing as an individual in ways that benefit both you and your partner. It’s the best way to overcome obstacles in a marriage.
Pillemer found that many of the interviewees understood the myriad of benefits that come from paying close attention to their partner’s level of satisfaction. The couples that last are the ones that are willing to do what it takes to please their spouse. Better yet, the ones that last are the ones that prioritise their partner’s needs and put their spouse first.
7. Take good care of yourself
Just because you’ve found someone with whom you wish to spend the rest of your life with doesn’t mean they’re responsible for taking care of you. Well…they are, but not completely. If you want to keep optimal levels of happiness through the decades, you should work to take care of yourself. Stay groomed, stay healthy, and recognize the importance of your overall well-being. After all, it’s hard to love someone who doesn’t love and care about themselves.
8. Think of it as a long-term commitment
Marriage isn’t something that you should just opt out of at any given point. Maybe that’s the problem with many marriages today; divorce is a simple fix for a serious problem. Alternatively, these enduring couples walked into marriage realizing what they were signing up for. There will be hard times, but there’ll also be good times. No matter what, if you want to stay together forever, you have to look at marriage as a long-term commitment. One you wish to respect.
[H/T] Real Simple
Be sure to check out theAsianparent Community for more insightful stories, questions, and answers from parents and experts alike. If you have any insights, questions or comments regarding the topic, please share them in our Comment box below.