What individuals who’ve been married for 25 decades or more desire young couples to know.
I’ve been married for 36 decades. Wow. While I write that or say it out loud, I’ve got exactly the same visceral reaction — shaking my head in question and stating, “Really? How did this occur?!”
Though that’s a portion of it, it’s not only since the time has flown by. It’s also an acknowledgment of All the Gorgeous, painful, heart-expanding, rage-producing, exposed, foolish (the list is endless) experiences, and discussions I’ve had with my spouse Peter over all those years, along with the fact that we are still at it and going strong.
And then there are the very real, however somewhat slippery, statistics about the current divorce rate that’s hard to discount. Based on what study you see, it’s currently although it’s not actually clear whether it’s climbing or falling.
Psychology Today released a fantastic post in February 2017 looking at the nuances of specifying the divorce rate, but the main point is, there is an uncomfortably large likelihood that you won’t be observing your 20th anniversary with exactly the identical person you had been madly in love with if you walked down the aisle.
It does make me somewhat sad that we are constantly shocked and awed while we run into couples who’ve been married 25+ years. And since a Relationship Coach, I acknowledge that I consider my 36+ years of marriage since a portion of my prouder “credentials”.
However, does this mean I have the secret sauce for a thriving marriage? Surely not.
In actuality, I think that that it propels me further to read and study together with the pros and to question different long-timers so that I will offer a outlook.
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So, in the spirit of sharing a tiny bit of this gathered wisdom, I can tell you that a few of my preferred dating professionals are John Gottman, Harville Hendrix, along with Patricia Love (yes, that’s really her name), and also that my go-to book on the attributes of longterm marriages is Maggie Scarf’s September Songs: The great News About Marriage at the Later Years.
But where I’ve really had fun, is reaching out to a sample of friends and family to get their pearls of wisdom and that’s what I wish to pass on for you here.
Allow me to be clear this is by no means a scientific study. I discovered from one man and 7 women, two of whom were wed for many years until their husbands died. Several have been together for 45 years, which caused me to feel as a newlywed!
Unsurprisingly, there are a few themes. I’ve zeroed in on four of these and have woven in the quotes and impressions in my “long-timers”, together with my own, with a tiny bit of the “tales” as well. I believe that you’ll see as I did so them as fascinating to see.
So here are 4 most important relationship Advice for newlyweds from senior married couples:
1. Communication, communication, communication.
I really laughed when I see this by my buddy since it had been the identical answer when requested my parents always gave.
Donna is observing her 45th anniversary next month and met with her husband in Miami Beach during college break. Here is what she said: “We all lead very busy lives, but it’s imperative that you take some time daily to share what is going on in your own life, to speak, to laugh, to voice what is happening both the good and the bad.”
And talking of my mom…she and my dad were married 44 years until he died. They met in college, and obsolete 3 years prior to becoming married, breaking up and getting back together at least 3 occasions (unlike my friend Guy who proposed to his wife after a week! More about these later).
Quite simply, “Somehow, we were totally honest with each other which frequently resulted in disagreements which we always managed to resolve, although not without sometimes protracted discussion… it’s known as ‘agreeing to disagree’. Communication was constant and necessary.”
My friend Minx, married 49 years this year, also had classic guidance from her mom: “My mum’s best advice has survived the test of time: ‘Do not go to bed angry even if this means you have to stay up all night!’ Develop decent listening and sharing abilities so that you are able to express your ideas and feelings calmly and clearly.”
While I’ve always heard that guidance also, I have to mention that there were times when Peter and I had been simply too tired to hash it out and ended up falling asleep on opposite sides of the bed (usually we are large “spooners”). In the early hours, we’ve been able to see things more clearly and finally workout.
The important issue is to agree that you’ll always return together to resolve the matter at some point (even it’s to “agree to disagree”) and not let it fester.
Probably our earliest couples-friends are Jack and Leslie. They met in high school and celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary this past season.
Leslie’s information was: “Never say anything you may regret. I always believe you’ve got control over everything you say when you are angry. Lashing out with ‘I hate you’ or some other destructive language is not forgotten. We are. I don’t recall Jack ever saying something to me that caused me to feel awful about the character or heart of who I am.”
2. Do not expect perfection.
This is the very first thing my wise husband Peter provided once I asked him and he moved on to say, “Stay as elastic, flexible, and open minded as possible. Know there will probably soon be personality differences that will be bothersome, but not as crucial as the loving bond that makes it all worthwhile.”
Needless to say, I wish to know instantly how I’m “bothersome”, but after all these years, I’ve got a fairly good idea of the ways we can still trigger each other. (We’ll talk more about the value of self-knowledge in a connection somewhat later.)
My daughter-in-law’s mom, Kathy, and her husband were really large school sweethearts. They met in a St. Patrick’s Day party when they were 15 and 16, obsolete for 6 decades, and were married 32 years until he died.
She describes it simply and beautifully: “We grew up together learning a lot about life…we moved through good times and bad but always stayed committed to one another. Always remember it’s a 50/50 venture!”
My friend, Guy, also highlighted the subject of give-and-take: “It isn’t about being right, it’s all about compromise and also being willing to hear, I am really listen. Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus — just one of the greatest gifts you can give each other is to see this novel by John Gray and actually know how each is programmed so it is possible to deal with one another in your terms.”
Remember, Guy is the person who knew he wanted to marry his wife a week later he met with her. They met in San Diego in a pub if they have been 23, ” he phoned her dad to ‘ask for her hand’ over each week and they had been married one year after, to the day.
The concept for me because lovely, though highly rare, “cute-meet” narrative is that, by some stroke of chance or instinct or destiny, some couples simply know this is it if they lay eyes on each other.
However, unless they are still consciously work on their connection, they’ll only become another one of these divorce figures.
3. Honor your differences, for worse or better.
As an Interfaith Minister, I really like creating special ceremonies with my couples and one of the questions that I always ask is what they love about each other.
Besides all their favorite quirks, shared values, along with common interests, easily half of these also include some form of “We complement each other so well”, then move to list all the ways they’re different.
I always respond with, “That’s excellent. And on your great days, these differences will stretch and grow youpersonally, but on your bad times you’ll want to strangle each other!”
It’s a openness to slog through these terrible days that will determine how successful your marriage is.
Minx states it eloquently:
“They say that opposites attract and that could be true but knowing and appreciating the ways we are different rather than trying to alter each other is most likely one of the most significant keys to remaining married to the very long haul. According to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI), Mel is an ESTP and I am an INFJ. Recognizing how completely different our preferences are was a true eye-opener and enabled us to learn to accommodate one another and (sometimes) even enjoy and enjoy our different ways of being and doing.”
Which brings us to my number 1 part of marriage information: that you and your partner make the dedication to do your individual growth and self-discovery work.
I summarize in detail some of the ways you can do this in my recent article on Your Tango, therefore that I won’t go into detail here, but the fundamental message is that if all you knows yourself and another quite well and truly honor all those ways you “match” each other, you also won’t be as likely to fall into the painful spiral of blaming and shaming that may be the death of a loving partnership.
You can remind yourself, “Oh, right…that’s just who he/she is”, and maybe respond with a little more empathy.
Lynne, my sister-in-law, talked about how to get through these tough times when it looks like you can’t find any common ground. She ought to know…she and my brother really split for a year, about 4 years in their marriage, but made their way back to each other and also celebrated their 41st anniversary this season.
“Do not give up. And if you think you need to waitpatiently. Give yourselves the time to keep working on it, possibly with a time limit of 6 months. One is that we each saw the therapist not to get back together, but to be sure we did not the very same mistakes again. There wasn’t a point once we thought it might be safe to start dating again, as we learned more about ourselves through therapy, and we continued visiting the identical therapist. Marriage is a verb…it’s all about action and working through it together.”
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4. Create space for yourselves.
In addition to “communicate, communicate, communicate”, my parents’ other big article of marriage intelligence was: “Marriage isn’t about being dependent on the other person; it’s a partnership based on mutual interdependence.”
That usually means that you and your partner should be dedicated to nurturing your own individual growth and needs as you’re to supporting the others’.
Mutual love and respect for one another is a priority, but so is keeping your own sense of self. Be sure to maintain interests that are exclusive and your own friends, different from your spouse.
Dating pro Iris Krasnow demonstrates this brilliantly in her 2011 publication, . She discovered that one of the critical components to a marriage is that both partners had fulfilling lives outside of the connection and questioned. Definitely a interesting read!
And once again, my friend Minx nailed it: “Kahlil Gibran [writer of ] was suitable. ‘Let’s be (BIG) spaces in your togetherness.’ Give each other room to grow. In a long marriage, there are plenty of changes as we all reach up and out into fuller versions of ourselves and find ways to flourish. Be broad and adapting”
Donna echoed that sentiment as well: “It is very important to bear in mind that you’re both still people. Do not expect to do everything together, and don’t concentrate on doing things you love because your partner doesn’t join you.”
There are so many others they mentioned personally, although I touched that this handful of partners shared with me personally. Listed below are a few bonus quotes:
- “Recall how you fell in love and let this be where you return when things get challenging. It is the small things we forget (cards, flowers, etc.) if we get in the pattern of that which we call life.” — Guy
- “After all these years, Jack can still make me laugh.” — Leslie
- “Do not take yourself [and] your remarks too badly. Laugh frequently with one another. — Minx
And two closing nuggets to give you:
First, from Minx: “Someone wise once said that it’s simple to be peaceful and pleasant onto a mountaintop. Then the real test is being able to do so in the boundaries of a marriage stake and there are many more confrontations and struggles to throw one off 46, should you wish to hone these skills. Let kindness be your compass.”
Then, from my friend Bobette (going strong after 45 decades of marriage) who met her husband if he knocked on her apartment door searching for someone else: “In my experience, there is a small fire (such as a pilot light on a gas stove) which is constantly burning ‘undercover’. That is authentic profound love. If you’re lucky enough to have that, you are able to call upon it if you require it.”
Let some of these wisdom provided here be your own unique “gasoline” to maintain that pilot light burning steady and strong throughout your marriage.
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Deborah Roth is an Interfaith Minister and Relationship Coach, that has been married 36+ years to the identical complicated, lovely guy and enjoys supporting couples in broadcasting the ebbs and flows of nurturing and maintaining powerful, longterm relationships. To learn more about her job, you may go to Spirited Living or email her at Deborah@SpiritedLiving.com to schedule an introductory couples coaching session Decisionr to find a listing of her favorite dating books.