While newlyweds are still in the honeymoon stage, marriage can seem easy. It feels romantic, beautiful, and overall, perfect. However, as the years go by, it becomes increasingly difficult as life presents you with challenges and obstacles. With time, couples understand that marriage takes so much more work and effort than they initially thought. While there is no single “secret” to a long-lasting and successful marriage, several couples who have been married for over 50 years spoke to Best Life and shared their wisdom.
They shared 20 marriage tips that can change your life.
1. Accept your partner for who they are.
When you marry someone, you need to accept them for everything that they are. Accepting them means not trying to change them. Everybody deserves to feel like who they are is enough.
2. Learn how to compromise.
You cannot have a successful marriage if you cannot make sacrifices and compromises. Anna Pallante, a woman who has been married for over 50 years explains: “When you love each other, you commit to make the bumpy road of life smoother together. When you do that each day, you put the love and each other first, instead of yourself. That keeps things peaceful.”
3. End the night on a positive note.
Never go to bed angry at one another. Make sure that you resolve the conflicts that you have had during the day before going to sleep. If you do this, you ensure that every new day is a new, happy beginning.
A marriage cannot last long if you and your partner do not have a strong friendship. Friendship is just as important as romance. Therefore, you need to take time and put in the effort to keep it alive.
5. Find beauty in every moment.
Another happily married woman shared that living in the present moment is key. “Simply stopping at Wawa for a coffee on our way to run errands makes it special,” Barbara Adoff shared. “We often take time to make things fun, or enjoy the moment. If a good song comes on at home we’ll stop and dance, we go to the movies and for walks.”
6. Make everything a date.
Reinforcing the previous point, Barbara’s husband Bill explains that it is important that you and your partner can turn even the most boring of outings into a fun date. “Just going to the grocery store together should be treated like a date,” he claimed.
7. Don’t be afraid to give each other space.
Even when you are married to the love of your life, you will often need some time to yourself. Do not be afraid of asking for it. When people are forced to be in the same space for long periods, they are bound to argue. Maureen McEwan believes that living in a big house has made her marriage easier. Speaking to Good Housekeeping, she shared: “I need space. I need to know that I can be by myself and [have room to be] artistic.”
8. Realize that you will fight.
No marriage is perfect and every couple fights. While arguments are generally viewed as a destructive thing, they can actually help your marriage become stronger. Of course, this is only if you and your partner can communicate properly, take each other’s feelings into account, and be respectful.
9. Don’t be afraid to seek professional help.
Marriage requires a lot of hard work and there is no shame in needing the help of a professional. In fact, it can be the thing that saves your relationship. Do all it takes to make it work.
10. Understand that patience is a virtue.
Ann Yedowitz revealed that her marriage is resilient and strong as a result of patience. “Patience has made our marriage resilient, and has been one of the most important reasons that we are still living happily ever after, enjoying our gold years,” she revealed.
11. Know that you’re a team.
Understand that your partner is the only one who will always be by your side. They will hold your hand when times are difficult and support you when you feel alone. Being a team is what makes a marriage last.
12. Have a daily mealtime check-in.
When you and your partner are busy throughout the day, it is important to have one meal together. Carol Gee disclosed that she and her husband have always shared at least one meal daily. “As a working couple (before both retiring) with different work hours, it’s typically dinner. Not only do we enjoy a meal together, but we also use this time to talk about our day,” Gee explains.
13. Keep the romance alive.
To keep the spark alive, you need to be romantic. Plan a trip, send them flowers, surprise them with a gift, etc. Do whatever it is that you know will make you and your partner happy.
14. Show gratitude.
Taking your partner and your relationship for granted is one of the most dangerous things you could do. To be truly happy, you need to learn how to see the blessings in your daily life and to show gratitude for them. Let your partner know that you are grateful to have them in your life.
15. Take time to cool off if things are getting too heated.
Beverly Solomon notes the importance of taking some time to breathe when your argument becomes too much for you to handle. Speaking from experience, she said: “If one or both of us feels that we are too upset to discuss an issue in a sane and respectful way, we give ourselves some time to cool down.”
16. Speak using “I” statements when you argue.
When you explain how you feel, use “I” statements. For example, say “I feel as though the things I say do not matter because you are always on your phone,” instead of “You are always on your phone!” The main difference between these two statements is that the latter sounds like criticism and can make your partner defensive. In other words, using “You” statements can cause more arguments and issues.
17. Learn to really apologize.
If you want a long-lasting and successful marriage, you need to learn how to swallow your pride and apologize when you are wrong. Your partner and your relationship are more important than your ego.
18. Say no to distractions when you’re communicating with one another.
To make room for proper and meaningful communication, you need to stay away from your phone and all other distractions. If your partner is talking to you, make sure you show them that what they are saying is important to you.
19. Pursue some of the same interests.
While it is important that you and your partner have different hobbies and interests, sharing some of them can make a huge difference to your marriage.
20. Remember that opposites attract.
Learn to love each other’s differences. When two partners are complete opposites, they balance each other out and find harmony in the middle. Gayle Carson discusses her marriage, sharing: “Although I was the extrovert and he the introvert, it worked because we didn’t push each other in either direction.”
Keeping these 20 tips in mind can strengthen your relationship and bring you even closer to your partner.