There’s nothing sweeter than seeing a couple who’ve been together a long time affectionately holding hands and still in love. At the core of every successful, loving relationship lies a solid foundation based on the work they’ve done to sustain it. We asked seven individuals why they thought their relationship lasted when so many have failed. Below are a few insightful comments we thought were worth sharing.
Katy has been married for over 20 years. She says, “Trying to change someone into what you want him or her to be often dooms a relationship. Accepting someone completely allows vulnerabilities to be embraced. By not rejecting or judging parts of your partner, you get to know and accept them completely. It is a lifelong process, but it has been essential to maintaining the magic in our relationship.”
Dana has been married for 25 years and says, “Relationships change over time. There are cycles of highs and sometimes lulls. I have learned over the years that I can change any emotion by changing my perception or perspective, my behavior, or the situation. At times I take a few slow, deep breaths and observe my internal shift. I am a huge fan of meditation, stretching, and reflection, but any activity will do: considering prayer, running, volunteering, engaging with a pet, or even getting a good night’s sleep can change everything. My husband goes to the gym and this works for us.”
Brian has been married for 30 years. He states, “The more I understand how my wife feels, what she thinks, and why she behaves as she does, and vice versa, the more fully connected we became. Our relationship is based on openness and trust, and it continued to grow when we realized that no matter what, we have each other’s back.”
Cynthia has been married for 10 years. She says, “Our relationship has grown through our experiences and in anticipation of what lies ahead, what is yet to be, and who we are yet to become. We give each other space to grow, dream, and imagine our lives in the future. Our differences have become reinforced and treasured, our love has become stronger, and our friendship continues to flourish. We make plans, but we don’t become over-invested in the outcome.”
Karen has been married for 45 years, and she declares, “It’s simple – practice tenderness and caring. By taking care of each other, it keeps us both from being too self-centered. It keeps us connected and feeling loved.”
Lori has been married for 13 years. She says, “When I learned that my husband felt most loved when I made him a great dinner, and he learned that I felt most loved when we snuggle together, everything changed. I understood his love language and now that he understands mine, our relationship is stronger than ever because we communicate in a way that we get it.”
Katherine, who has been married for 45 years, says, “Don’t make assumptions or take anything for granted when it comes to your marriage. In the beginning, we thought we knew and understood everything about each other. However, over the years, we realized there was no guarantee. We knew if we wanted it to work, we had to work at it. We became each other’s best friend, biggest fan, and greatest supporter. We have played, prayed, and raised four kids together, and in turn we learned to keep the romance alive by knowing how lucky we both are to have found each other. I couldn’t imagine my life without my wonderful husband, and I know he feels the same way.”
So many couples take the easy way out when times get rough, while others use tough times as a wake-up call. As the saying goes, “The grass always looks greener on the other side of the street” – until the same weeds come out. Learn to really listen as that will become the strength in your relationship, and seek professional help if you need to talk through a difficult situation.
All great relationships require work. If you and your spouse share mutual respect, stick with it as the rewards will be well worth it. Take some time out of your daily life to celebrate your lives together. We all make time for business, our health, and our children. Make an appointment to stay connected with your spouse in a way that works for both of you and sustain the love!
Lisa Alexander is a freelance writer