Everyone wants to know the secrets to a long-lasting marriage or relationship; we all yearn for a love so deep and meaningful.
Sometimes, there are no real secrets. A long-lasting marriage takes hard work and effort from both individuals. There is no 50-50; you're either 100% committed or you're not.
But how can you maintain some spark after so many years? How can you and your partner still be in love with each other for so long?
It's not easy! We interviewed several couples who have been married for over 30 years and they all had the same common advice about their many years of marriage.
I know, you hear it all of the time, but communicating with your partner truly is the number one tip when it comes to a lasting relationship. Discuss your feelings, your goals, talk about your emotions, talk about your finances........ If you can't discuss the small but important things in the beginning of your relationship, what makes you think that 15 years down the road the line of communication is still going to be open?
2. DON'T SETTLE
For the sake of everything you love, don't settle! I strongly believe in the sanctity of marriage, so for me, there is only one shot at this! If you don't have butterflies in your stomach when you've been a part for a long time, if you don't get goosebumps and if the hair on your arms doesn't stand up when they get near you, if you don't tremble when they lean in to embrace you, if they're not your best friend, or your lover; then don't ever settle.
3. BE OPEN AND WILLING TO CHANGE
Time changes things, situations change. Couples in long-lasting relationships adapt to change in their environment or situations together. You are on a journey together, not alone. More importantly, don't ever go in to a relationship expecting your partner to change. You either love them for who they are or you don't. Don't love them the way you think you could change them to be.
4. IF YOU HAVE CHILDREN, PUT YOUR PARTNER FIRST
This can be a really hard thing to accept. It's easy to get lost in the blur of putting your kids first, especially when they are young. Remember that it was just the two of you before your children came along and when they're all grown up and out of the house, it'll be just the two of you again. Don't wake up 20 or 30 years from now asking where your life went.
5. BE INTIMATE
Every happy couple knows that maintaining intimacy is a key element in a long-lasting relationship! Make love to your partner, have toe curling sex, and long, deep kisses; and we're not talking once a month either or only on special occasions! Keep your flame going by creating the spark. As we get older, sometimes that drive diminishes and other problems arise, but that doesn't mean the intimacy has to stop. There are other ways to be intimate without physically having sex.
6. RESPECT EACH OTHER
This goes without saying, don't ever disrespect each other; no matter how many disagreements, arguments, or trivial fights you may have. Without mutual respect for one another it is impossible for a relationship to work.
7. MAKE TIME FOR YOUR PARTNER
Make it a priority to make time with your partner. Don't make excuses on why it's been years since the two of you went on a date. YES! Date your spouse! Take them out to eat, take them to the movies, go on a bike ride together. It's easy to get wrapped up in your career in the early years (trust me, I know), but remember that your success in your career can wait, your marriage and family cannot.
8. BE COMMITTED
Commitment is the foundation of stability on which long-lasting marriages are built. Be 100% committed, 100% of the time.
Don't hold a grudge in your marriage. People are not perfect, we make mistakes. Forgive each other. Be willing to let go and move forward with the person that you fell in love with so many years ago and whom you still love today. Accept your differences. A simple, "I'm sorry" can go a long way.
A marriage is a team, you are united as one. You deal with adversity together. You deal with crisis together. You embrace the good times together. Don't let other people drive themselves between you. They are not a part of your team. Your parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc are NOT a part of your team, your family yes, but your team consists of just you and your partner. Even with good intentions, those outside of your team can cause stress and turmoil within your marriage. Depend on each other only for solutions, not those outside of your team.