I’ve had people tell me they’ve never known someone married this long. That makes me sad in a way. I feel blessed and lucky, but don’t get me wrong, it takes hard work and commitment. Here are a few of our secrets to a long-lived love life.
1. Remember. There was something about your honey that caught your eye and took your breath away. Work to remember those things. Focus on those things. I believe that one of the biggest dangers to a relationship is to compare. Comparing your spouse, house, body, relationship is a dangerous path. I believe comparison is a thief of gratefulness and a deceiver. It makes you evaluate your blessings from a place of dissatisfaction. It positions your focus on what you don’t have. Work hard to remember what you have!
2. Protect. I’ve had lots of friends who have relationships that just didn’t work. And in some moments of trying to support and be a listening ear, I have provided our own stories of how we have fought, broken trust, etc. In my attempt to support, I have left my own spouse vulnerable and unprotected. Not that I am suggesting we pretend, but there is a risk to making more of things than they are. I need to instead protect our union, our commitment and our relationship with my conversation. I have a great relationship and I don’t need to make more or less of it to make someone else feel better.
3. Give. When we were first in love, we wanted to do things for the other. We would go out of our way to be in each other’s path, to see each other, to spend time together. Life is busy, but don’t let that die. If it’s been a while, dust it off and begin to find ways to give. A text that says you’re thinking of them, holding hands in the car, a surprise lunch date, a favorite drink at the end of a hard day. Something, anything, that says “I still want to go out of my way for you.” “I’m thinking of you and how much I love you.” Don’t let laziness have its way. Make giving a priority.
4. Enjoy. Don’t let work, stress, kids, [insert your excuse here] suck the joy out of life…or your relationships. I am told that I take things too seriously. This is something I have to work on. I used to be more fun and spontaneous, and if I let it, life will crush that right out of me. But I know my sweetie fell in love with that me. It’s important you are silly, tease, be playful…just have fun together. Don’t let life become an excuse for being no fun. Don’t let your love life become a chore. Enjoy the moments – ten minutes or hours – enjoy your time together.
I know you might be thinking that we are different. It’s easier. Nonsense! Relationships are hard work. But if you focus on small investments, I know you’ll reap the rewards. I’m so grateful to be married to my best friend. I wish for you, a long lasting love!