Tips From Couples Married 20+ Years On How To Make Your Relationship Last
For those who find that special someone, how do you keep the fire burning, the sparks flying, and the love in tact with burdens from the outside world, clashing personalities, kids, everyday stress, and divorce rates steadily climbing? I talked to five people, two married couples and my widowed grandmother, to get their opinions on love and how to make it last. My aunt and uncle will be celebrating their 31st anniversary this October, my grandfather and his wife hit the 48-year mark this past April, and my grandmother was married for 25 years before her husband passed. Here is what they had to say…
Every relationship will have good and bad, and your love for each other will be tested at times, but to make your relationship last, you must do the following:
This was voted the #1 factor in preserving the love. You have to know your partner inside out; what they like and don’t like, what makes them tick, what makes them happy, how they deal with problems, and more. How is this accomplished? Through communication! You and your spouse should invest time in talking to one another and figuring each other out so that you both can decide if this person is really someone you would want to spend the rest of your life with before you even think about tying the knot.
If you have an argument, pinpoint the real problem so that you’re not throwing in irrelevant topics fueled off of emotions, and squash it before it gets out of hand. Cool off, think about the argument—from both perspectives—and talk it out so that no one’s holding a grudge. Speak up when something is said or done that you don’t like so that is can be hashed out. Even pinpoint the things that you do like so that your partner will know to continue doing those things for you. Communication is also key in building a solid friendship with your other half, as well as in decision-making (whether it be finances or child-rearing). Don’t exchange words just for the heck of it, talk, listen and be honest. You can’t solve problems if you don’t know what the issue really is, nor can you build a foundation based on lies. If there’s no communication…forget about it!
As my grandfather said, “If you don’t trust your partner, you might as well go on ‘head and sign those [divorce] papers before you even walk down the aisle.” Again, you have to be honest with your other half and believe their integrity is as solid as your own. If you don’t believe a word that comes out of your man’s/woman’s mouth, can’t trust them to do what they say they’ll do or be where they said they would be, have you’re back and never betray or deceive you, it will not last. POINT. BLANK. PERIOD!
Respect One Another
Value your other half’s opinion. Consider their feelings in all regard and give them their space sometimes. Why? According to these married folks, no one wants to be smothered all the time. Overall, just respect your spouse as a person and they must do the same.
My grandmother told me that if you truly love someone and they love you, you will give and take to make the relationship work and keep each other happy. You’re not going to agree with every single thing your partner says and does, and there are going to be aspects of their personality that burns you up or annoys the heck out of you, but some things you must learn to overlook. And for the things you can’t deal with, bring them to your partner’s attention and work on a solution. Now, everyone agreed that you shouldn’t try to change your mate—again, you should already know how they are and what you’re getting into before you marry—but some things can be adjusted for the sake of happiness and peace.
Compromising not only comes into play with one’s habits, but also with matters of the household, kids, and so forth. If your husband or wife is the breadwinner, don’t be selfish and expect them to come home and mop floors, clean dishes and cook too. That should fall on you. But if both of you are working people, divvy up the household chores and be fair. It’s all about balance; sometimes you have to give as well as receive.
Have A Partnership
You and your spouse must be on the same team. You can’t have a vision for your future together with your husband’s/wife’s view on another planet. Decisions should be made together, your children should be raised together, time should be spent together, and strengthening your bond includes having things in common. If you like to hoop, your man better be a bootleg LeBron; if you love to travel, his passport needs to be on deck, and if you’re a God-fearing faithful Christian, Jesus better be his best friend!
Not everything you like, believe or do will coincide with your partner’s interests and beliefs (it’s good to have some differences to create that space I talked about earlier or to possibly open up your spouse’s eyes to something new), but if the common ground is short and thin, you’re boarding a plane waiting to crash.
Keep Sex Alive
All agreed that it’s not the end-all, be-all thing in the relationship, but having a thriving sex life is without question, extremely important. And the longer you’ve been with a person, the more crucial it is to be creative, spontaneous and throw in new tricks once in a while to keep the flame burning. If a man or woman isn’t getting it at home, they might mess around and decide to get it from somewhere else!
What The Women Had to Say On Keeping Your Husband Happy
Be supportive! Through thick and thin, always stand behind (or beside for all you feminists out there) your man. Compliment him and reward him for the good (even for the simplest things that he should be doing anyway, because men are just like pets, they need to hear it—these are my aunt’s words, not mine). Encourage him when he lacks motivation and inspire him to be better. Men love to have their egos stroked, so a little pep talk and reassurance goes a long way.
On How Husbands Can Keep Their Wives Happy
Flowers, cards, jewelry and all the other material things are nice, but they don’t compare to providing women with stability and respect. Support your wife just as she supports you, be a friend when she’s in need, spend time, and always remain honest and loyal. Oh yeah, it wouldn’t hurt to help out around the house, and with the kids too!
The Men on Keeping Your Wife Happy:
Be a man and take care of your responsibilities; you can’t make your woman happy if she doesn’t value your manhood. Shower her with loyalty, honesty, respect and understanding; help out around the house, and with whatever else she needs. A man should know what his wife likes and work to satisfy her desires. It also helps to be spontaneous in the relationship to keep things interesting.