Welcome to the final installment of the responses to my informal survey about long and successful marriage/relationships. These responses were collected over the summer and fall of 2022, after being inspired by an invitation to a 70th wedding anniversary celebration and our own 40th.
I am so grateful for those to took the time to share their candid personal views and lived experiences.
Whether you are just starting a new relationship or are currently in one, I hope the information you have been reading about over the last few weeks has given you new insight and inspiration. We can all take a look at our own relationships and see how to improve. In this article, I have used the full quotes of every respondent.
Here, from their authentic, wise, inspirational, and practical voices, is their advice.
Be a ‘good friend’ to your partner for life.
A quote from Kahlil Gibran: Let there be spaces in your togetherness.
You need to work at being married; open and continuing communication, sharing household & yard chores and child care even if only one spouse works outside the home (a mother at home has a plethora of challenges thrown at her everyday). Have your own interests as well as joint interests. Support for each other and the challenges that occur. Healthy relationship with extended family if possible. Make every special occasion count (birthdays, anniversaries, etc.). Create traditions in your family that everyone can look forward to. Do not take your spouse for granted.
Commitment to your vows even when the going gets tough. Marriage does require work, some stages more than others. Don’t take each other for granted. Let your spouse know they are a gift. Happy parents, happy kids. Don’t let children “rule” your relationship. Make time to have fun together. Have each other’s back.
Consider yourself blessed to be with your spouse, every day. Tell your spouse you love them every day and show them you do by your actions.
Accept the fact that your wife also has an opinion on the “Journey of life” and although it may not be quite the same as yours, it is still to be respected and accepted.
Have good communication, forgiveness, don’t expect perfection and laugh together.
Keep a sense of humour, understand the other’s point of view, sacrifice and compromise.
Learn to accept imperfection. You will make mistakes; they are not all fatal to the relationship. Learn a sense of proportion. Remember, perfection is not achieved this side of the grave.
Pick a friend. Talk money and job/work first. Be reasonable. No one is perfect, even yourself. Everyone will screw up. Remember looks and first impressions aren’t cast in stone. People change as they get older. The ugly duckling did become a swan.
Patience. There is no running back to Mommy and Daddy, get rid of that safety net. Stick it out, work together. Everyone is not the same, and we cannot expect the other person to be the same as we are. (You need to have the same morals and values, however, differing opinions is very healthy).
Don’t blink, be forgiving, go to logging camps often and give the better half a vacation, fight once in a while and make up with gusto! Have some laughs and take a tease.
The best advice of all is to marry your best friend… Now we must remember and reflect on what comes next. Nothing stays the same forever, but I am sure we will always be together.
Trust in each other and each other’s ideas. Trust! And LIVE UP to that trust! Respect: for each other and each other’s ideas and opinions. We LISTEN to each other and this is important because we don’t always agree on everything… Don’t ever part without saying “don’t forget!”[which for us means] “don’t forget I love you” because it is possible you may not have a chance to say so in person again. My Mother taught me “never let the sun go down on your wrath”. Even when I am so angry, I say “I love you with all my heart but I am really mad right now”… We feel we were meant to be together… If I had one wish it would be that everyone had a love like ours. If only.
Don’t take things too personal and have big shoulders. We are shaped by our past and how we grew up. We all have different values and experiences in our lives so need to realize what is important and what to dust off those shoulders and make things not a big deal. We all have certain expectations…Don’t overestimated your abilities, share in the problem solving, don’t spend too much time dwelling on the negative….most of all keep their trust. Keep things simple, set obtainable goals and don’t over spend (be aware of finances).
Marriage means you want to create your own family. Don’t let in-laws dictate YOUR marriage… If you’re getting married then make your own decisions, do not rely on others.
Always remember how much you loved him when you got married even when sometimes you could have killed him. Do romantic things for each other. You have to work at a marriage and don’t give up.
Every working day we would wake at 5:30AM, sit in the living room and have Coffee, then Breakfast and leave the house at 7:30AM. Try it, you might like it. We are retired now but have not stopped morning routine. The only change is we now start at 7:00 AM.
Give each other space to grow and explore. Trust each other and be very respectful of boundaries.
[My] advice is for couples to work on their own empathy. Try not to act defensively when differences arise. Try to be open to putting yourself in your partner’s shoes and seeing the situation from their perspective. It’s not always easy, but worth the effort.
Consideration, love, and understanding.
Remember marriage is a PARTNERSHIP.
Think long and hard about having kids or adopting any children vs. having money for lots of meals out and travel instead. Be kind and listen and talk.
Marry someone that you have hobbies/interests in common; that the spouse is happy when you are off doing your own thing; who has the same values (politically, financially, treatment of others, etc.). People change physically so if that is important to you, you need to openly discuss that. E.g. years ago I met a man on a tour whose marriage contract wrote that if his wife gained more than 5 lbs. he could divorce her without any problem/alimony hassels.
Respect each other’s space and interests and share what you can happily share. Be honest.
One thing I would note that it is important to live within your means—we were lucky to have had steady paycheques so budgeting was easier for us than for some others, I’m sure.
Ensure you have time to communicate about the things important to you and just be with each other. Have patience to work things out, do not expect to agree all the time and respect your differences.
Active listening, and approaching marriage as an open-ended collaborative project.
The Golden Rule: say sorry when you should; laugh; give each other plenty of space.
Our communications from large to small matters is also important to us. We make time to do this and be guided by well-thought approaches.
Be friends, be respectful, share interests, share food (harvesting, preparing, eating, inviting guests for meals), volunteer doing community work…
Find someone who has similar goals, is flexibly minded, and is self assured.
Don’t sweat the small stuff, help each other with all domestic tasks, jump in and help, don’t wait until your partner asks for help.
Possibly our marriage has remained solid because neither of us have [focussed] on jealousy, and we have never argued over money. We see this in others, and feel badly for them. Meanwhile, we tolerate each other and enjoy our time together.
Treat each other gently, as if your partner was precious (no matter what the circumstances are). The foundation that is built in the beginning in a marriage, of respecting each other and extending consideration & kindness, will be the place to which couples return when challenges arise, and be the tools that allow the relationship to find balance when the connection between the partners is stretched. You can never go back and retrace steps that have wounded someone you love.
Remember what attracted you to each other; laugh at at least one thing with your partner every day; never part with anger towards each other.
Express your opinions but be willing to compromise. Respect independence. Enjoy each others company. Have laughs.
Respect each other’s opinions, be willing to compromise, provide support when needed but don’t dominate.
Once again I thank the generous respondents.
Thanks to you, my readers, for dropping in and reading my blogs; I hope you will keep coming back and share this website with your friends and family.
Thanks to Leighann Blackwood for the feature photo from Unsplash.
I wish you all long, loving, supportive relationships/marriages and a Happy and Healthy New Year!