Tips On How To Stay In Love For 35 Years

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Thoughts on Loving for a Lifetime

In the blink of an eye, I stand on the verge of 35 years of marriage and somehow I can't quite believe it. It all went by so quickly and even though I'm happy to have shared so much time with Bob, I'm also sad because too much time has passed too quickly. Yet I think that is a good thing after all because if I did not feel badly, I would not feel that I had loved. Every moment of it was precious and even though some of it was a mix of good and bad, I wouldn't trade a second of it.

Reflecting on these past 35+ years, what is the secret of staying not only married but in love all that time?

I gave it some thought and here are a few of the 'necessary ingredients' to staying in love for 35 years though they apply every day. I've found them to be true in my own relationship though as in all things, it takes time to 'grow into' who you eventually become.

  • Communication/Talking. Being able to discuss absolutely anything and everything with Bob has made our marriage work and vice versa. No matter how unpleasant a subject might be, our ability to consistently be able to hash things out without fear of judgment or grudge has been vital to our marriage. Don't get me wrong - we sometimes and often disagree on how we see things or what we think should happen. We are completely different people and our pasts are about as different as they get. However, usually in talking about things and going over them together, even heatedly if we feel strongly about something, we somehow always manage to come to a mutually agreeable decision. I don't ever feel like anyone wins or anyone loses this way because at least we agree in the end. It is beyond comforting, however, to know that anything I want to discuss with this man, I can!

  • Laughter.  If you can laugh at yourself and you can laugh at each other - and most
    importantly, if you can laugh together I think you have a shot at it. They weren't kidding when they said laughter is the best medicine. The sexiest thing I found in Bob from the beginning was his sense of humor. It helps that both parties have the ability to be funny and see a humorous turn to things. In our case, if one isn't able to see the lighter side of it, usually the other can convince their counterpart to get a giggle out of it. Laughing together at whatever it is bonds us together and makes us closer as a couple. Our sense of humor is something we have shared from the moment we met and I think it has been one of our best gifts to our children.

  • Communication/Talking. Being able to discuss absolutely anything and everything with Bob has made our marriage work and vice versa. No matter how unpleasant a subject might be, our ability to consistently be able to hash things out without fear of judgment or grudge has been vital to our marriage. Don't get me wrong - we sometimes and often disagree on how we see things or what we think should happen. We are completely different people and our pasts are about as different as they get. However, usually in talking about things and going over them together, even heatedly if we feel strongly about something, we somehow always manage to come to a mutually agreeable decision. I don't ever feel like anyone wins or anyone loses this way because at least we agree in the end. It is beyond comforting, however, to know that anything I want to discuss with this man, I can!

  • Romance.  A huge part of marriage or a loving relationship includes a healthy dose of intimacy but it isn't just about the sex.  It is about the whole package and if you have the right mix between you, intimacy only gets better.  Especially in today's fast-paced world, it is vital to a marriage to make sure that you set aside time for each other and that you speak to not only your needs but also those of your partner.  Scheduling dates together keeps the romance alive or coming up with a surprise rendevous - even if it's in your own house - is magical because it means the other person cares enough to set aside special, quality time for you.  No matter if you have kids, no matter if you are 21 or 61, don't buy into the thought that the honeymoon is over! It never is if you take the time to nurture that vital part of your relationship and keep it alive.

  • Touch and be touched often. The simple act of holding hands is such a wonderful gesture and something I never get tired of. A stroke on an arm or a brush on the cheek for just an instant says in so many ways 'I love you' all over again. Sometimes words are insufficient and just a sweet hug from the person you love best in the world can make you feel like a million bucks. I was never a huggy kind of person before I met Bob and I have to say, I love this! I love hugging and I love being hugged - or kissed - or held hands with for no reason whatsoever because it makes me feel young all over again.  It makes me feel that he is there and he cares and I know that likewise, if I just reach out and hold his hand or give him a kiss on the cheek, he feels better knowing I care.

 

  • Create a family. I realize that having children is not always the right answer for every couple but creating any form of family between people who love each other keeps love alive. The shared memories that Bob and I have of raising our children, experiencing the joys and the disappointments along the way are priceless. No one can take those from us and it is yet another level of intimacy that we share. We have so many common threads in our lives because of the children we created and they have given us so many happy moments that it will last us a lifetime. Sharing it all together has been the greatest gift as well. Now that they are grown, sharing our grown family and extended family keeps us happy and participating - and if we did not have enough there, creating our nuclear family with our dogs and sharing our lives with them on a daily basis has given us a different form of family perhaps but a bond nonetheless.

  • Play/have fun.  While family is always important and the obligations we all have are usually first and foremost in our lives, taking time out to do things just for the two of you is vital and breathes life into marriage.  Honoring birthdays and holidays is one way Bob and I have always made sure to keep the fun in our relationship.  No matter what else is going on in our lives, we set aside specific time and put combined thought into what we want to do for each other and together for birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays.  It is our way of not cheating ourselves and at the same time, it keeps some of the spark and happiness in our relationship no matter how many years we have been married.  The key is to play and have fun together - no one should always get their way and we have always found it easy to compromise.  We can be equally happy going to a ball game, watching it on TV, going to a movie, or going to a concert.  We can be happy going to the shore or we can be happy going to the mountains.  It is all about the time we spend together and making the most of it. 

  • Be appreciative/be kind. That may sound totally silly in a marriage but I believe that that is a vital part of our success. It can be as simple as saying 'thank you' for a cup of coffee or giving a compliment 'just because'. After 35 years, I don't expect Bob to tell me I'm beautiful but when he does, it's like the sun came out. It is the most flattering and endearing thing to hear someone you've been with all those years tell you something so sweet and so surprising. Doing little things for each other because we know the other person would appreciate it is another way that we show each other that we care without words. If I know that Bob is overworked in one area, I pitch in and help him out whether it involves painting, housework, or computer work and he does the same for me. We treat each other as friends - we would do these same kinds of things for a friend so we can easily do them for our best friend.

 

  • Don't be afraid to argue.  Part of marriage is disagreement because any two given people cannot agree on everything all the time.  Remembering marriage is supposed to be about compromise has helped us solve many problems over the years.  However, that said, that doesn't mean we have not had some major disagreements along the way.  The most important thing to remember in my opinion is this - love means you know how to say you're sorry.  Sometimes in the heat of arguments or in the emotion of the moment, it is always easy to say things we wish later we had never uttered.  Too late - but the key to a successful marriage is being able to realize that there is a way back and that an apology has to be the fence mender.  Resentment and revenge have no place in a healthy marriage but by the same token, in my experience, duking it out verbally sometimes clears the air and gets things back on track.  It's not as vital to never argue as it is to argue with a purpose.  If the argument means that you straighten something out between you or make things easier as a couple, then that blowup doesn't seem so monumental.  Fortunately, Bob and I have always been able to admit to blame where it is due and respect each other enough to want to go on in harmony but for some, it is not always so easy to apologize.  It isn't for Bob and given the fact that he does apologize when he knows he is wrong, it makes it even more precious.

  • Be spontaneous. Whether it is bringing home a bouquet of flowers for each other or a bottle of wine to suggesting a new way to make love - keep it alive and keep it interesting. The key to not getting stuck in a rut is to create a new road every day - or at least a new path. Recreate who you are by always growing in terms of learning new things and sharing them together or at least with each other. By not buying into the theory that life is over because you turn a certain age or are married a certain number of years, you will always have romance. Just doing something for the joy of doing it for Bob gives me great pleasure and knowing that he did not expect it or that it flabbergasted him to have me do it is all the reward I need. Thinking of what each other would like rather than what we think the other should have is a way that Bob and I have always shared to bring each other contentment. There are things I know he would never do for himself and likewise, he is always thinking outside the box. If he sees that I'm having a terrible month for work and I'm stressed and tense, he surprises me with a massage or a gift certificate. If I see that he is struggling to get something done and needs some piece of equipment that would make it easier for him, I take the initiative to get it for him as a surprise. Or if I think he needs a special pick-me-up, a special dessert or treat gives him the message that I care and I'm thinking about him.

 

  • Write love letters.  As silly as that sounds, I have boxes of cards and notes that we have written each other over the years that I will never part with.  Last year for our anniversary, I wrote Bob a letter of what I loved about him and another year, I wrote a list of characteristics or memories I held near and dear from our many years together.  I put each one on a tiny slip of paper and had him read every one by candlelight with a bottle of wine.  Bob is famous for the 'Hallmark moments' because somehow he finds just the right card for the right moment and then manages to put a personal message in that will either make me laugh or make me cry.  In other busier years, we both adopted the practice of making each other coupon books and always made sure that we honored our coupons with no expiration dates! I think it is important to a marriage to say the vows that we took over and over in big ways and in little ways and writing things to each other is just one more way to say 'I love you and I always will'

Just Say Yes

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Comments 13 comments

Written Word profile image

Written Word 4 years ago from Wandering.

What a lovely hub. Wishing you many more years. That depth of love is what I am searching for and have faith I will find. Thanks for the inspiration that it exists and is totally possible.


akirchner profile image

akirchner 5 years ago from Central Oregon Author

Totallyrandom - Wishing you as much love and success as we have had and then some! Thanks so much for taking the time to read and write such a lovely comment.


totallyrandom 5 years ago

That was truly inspirational and a beautiful read. I've been with my boyfriend for 5 months and the way we communicate, people around us assume we've been together for years. Thank you for the effort of putting this all down for us to read and look forward to a very optimistic future...


akirchner profile image

akirchner 5 years ago from Central Oregon Author

Thanks so much for the read, Epigramman - you are too kind and could turn an old lady's head with your praise! Much appreciated!


epigramman profile image

epigramman 5 years ago

...I've only been in love for 3.5 minutes - and that is just a start - your writing and much appreciated efforts here are hubtastic!!!!


akirchner profile image

akirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon Author

Thanks so much, Dolores - from where I came from, I have been blessed many times over. Meeting Bob was the best thing that ever happened to me and loving him all these years just a treasure. I only hope we have many more to go! Those first 35 went by in a blur and I'd do it all over again in a flash. I always say he healed me and that was no easy accomplishment. He is just a wonderful person and that is what I love most about him.


Dolores Monet profile image

Dolores Monet 6 years ago from East Coast, United States

Audrey - what a beautiful hub! You sound so wise yet it all seems so simple. Being kind, communication, and thinking of the other person with a warm and generous heart. You are fortunate to have such a marriage, though I realize that it takes a lot more than good luck.


akirchner profile image

akirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon Author

Thanks, Holle - ya gotta feel in this day and age like it is definitely priceless to have someone you can trust and loves you for who you are...and that you can actually WANT to grow old with! I see so many couples and I wonder how the heck (or why) they stay together because they are so dang unhappy! I am truly blessed - Bob makes me laugh and in my book, that is the sexiest thing ever and even though we are such opposites, we just have the best old time. That is my life's greatest gift I think - and having his children....just don't know where the heck all that time went because in actuality, I'm really only 42! How I wish.


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia

To use your term - priceless! Seriously, sound advice. It's what has gotten Johnny and me through the years!


akirchner profile image

akirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon Author

Thanks - and it is the truth - I often wonder though how hard is it to just be kind or to treat someone the way YOU would want to be treated? That's what I love about Bob - he is kind back so that makes it very easy. He is one of the kindest persons I have had the pleasure to ever know and thankfully, I'm married to him! Thanks for stopping by - Audrey


sunflowerbucky profile image

sunflowerbucky 6 years ago from Small Town, USA

Audrey, I loved this hub! My favorite part was the be kind advice. It seems to me that a lot of people are ruder to their spouses than they would ever be to a stranger. Great hub!


akirchner profile image

akirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon Author

Thanks - that would be lovely! Audrey


Hmrjmr1 profile image

Hmrjmr1 6 years ago from Georgia, USA

You are indeed a lucky pair to have each other, GBY and 35 more great years to you!

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