I am always intrigued by relationships and how people make them work with each others’ quirks (you know you have them!). I love hearing how couples met and what they love most about each other, but I equally love hearing about what keeps them together.
So with that, I canvassed friends and family to get their opinions and advice on what it takes to make a relationship last….
“Being best friends first and foremost.” — Sue Harrington, married 33 years (friends for 42)
“A long lasting relationship is a two way lane. One has to give way so there won’t be a collision! Give and take. Sometimes one would feel she or he is the one always giving but in the end, it’s a two way street. Don’t insist your right of way….communication!” — Marco’s Mom, married almost 44 years
“Well I guess to start, it’s realizing that there isn’t a secret as a secret implies an easy solution.” — Sean Cusson, together 16 years
“Always thinking and considering your spouses feelings, lots of talking and communication on what you both want and feel is important, so you can work on a common goals. Spend time together, you don’t always have to be doing something big or spend lots of money, a nice walk, playing games, fixing up your home/yard, making a meal together. Simple things can be just as much fun and enjoyable, as long as you are together.” — my Mom, married 37 years
“We are happy and allow each other to do what each other wants to do and we do things together too.” — my Grammy, married 64 years
“Anyone can get married, but it takes a lot of commitment and effort to make your marriage a perfect one for both of you. I think at the foundation, it boils down to positive behaviors, such as expressing appreciation or honoring each other’s dreams, repeatedly and frequently. In terms of issues that arise when two lives come together – its normal and healthy to have conflicts. If you are not prepared to put the work in and take the rough with the smooth, you are going to struggle to find that ideal long lasting marriage. I always bear in mind to fight for the relationship as opposed to against each other. And never cross the lines of disrespect either in the form of words or actions that run so deep you cannot find your way back.” — Cassandra Spencer, married 9 years
“Talk to each other & mutual respect. Once you lose the talking, you lose the relationship.” — Rita Martinez-Perez, married 26 years
“Allowing your partner to stay true to who they are as an individual. Everything else falls into place in a relationship if you uphold that rule. Don’t try to change them. Let them always be comfortable in their own skin. If one partner feels like they have to modify their behaviour or likes to appease the other, resentment will eventually follow. Support your partner as they grow and change in this life, and encourage change and growth. You’ll both better from it.” — Marco’s sister in law Lisa, together 15 years, married 10
“We write down our needs/wants in order of priorities so that we know what we are working on together as a team, and we both see that our own needs and desires have been heard and will be achieved. The number one thing that we will never waver on is being 100% supportive of the other persons dreams. We never have to worry about being criticized or having to justify our reason for pursuing our own individual passions.” — Janet Alexander, together 5 years, married 2
“Always remember that family is number one, your Wife and her family members should always be treated with respect, and be cognizant of, and empathetic towards their needs. Once you and your Wife have kids, you must support each other, even if you think they are wrong at the time. Think of your Wife when you are apart and think of what she might be going through at work or with kids so that you can understand better. Try not to criticize. Help with family and home so your Wife doesn’t get worn out. Remember she is a person with all the same fears as you. Keep it simple. Discuss, and plan, and compromise. Spend lots of time together sharing everything.” — my Dad, married 37 years
“One really important aspect for us is making sure that regardless how busy our own personal daily lives become, we make the effort and set aside the time to converse about our day with one another face to face. If there is a problem we are facing we trust in one another to be open minded to converse and count on one another for that support and guidance. It is a time in our digitized world to go back to the basics of how our relationship first began by conversing face to face which makes us feel that we’re falling in love with one another all over again.” — Jaleh Safaee, married 8 years
“Well I’m no expert, but I try and always be conscious of how I treat my wife. I love loving her. I don’t need reassurance on what she does in return. I don’t expect anything from her. I used too, but that’s when I realize that she doesn’t owe me anything. It’s more simple that way, I’m just as happy that she’s here with me and we have a family. I love making her day easier. That means she has more time for herself and the kids. That’s good enough for me.” — Marco’s brother Marvin, together 15 years, married 10
“(1) Have sex. Make love. Do the horizontal mambo. It’s an extremely important way to stay connected in a way that you can’t with anyone else. (2) Appreciate the other person. Never take the person for granted. Easier said than done sometimes, but try to make a conscious effort. Because he/she doesn’t have to stay with you. That person chooses to do so, therefore don’t take it lightly. (3) Never fall out of love at the same time. I read this somewhere-an elderly gentleman said it about his long lasting marriage- and it resonated with me. There were times when I felt I was “done” with Dave, and times when he felt he was “done” with me. He fought for me when I felt like that, and I fought for him when he felt like that. Thankfully neither of us felt like that at the same time, so we had each other to fight for one another and not give up. But if we had both felt like giving up at the same time, I don’t know where we would be right now…” — Cara Smetana, together 11 years
Photo from a 2014 Christmas party.