Marriage experts, therapists and counselors can give lots of great advice. But perhaps the best people to give advice on having a lasting marriage are the people who are doing it. There’s a great article on YourTango.com today by Julie Andrews and it features the 25 top pieces of advice on having a lasting marriage, from couples who have been married for decades. We want to share our three favorites here:
1. Don’t fight about money.
Fights over money have been the leading cause of both counseling and divorce for decades. But one couple decided early on that they wouldn’t let money come between them.
We a pact to never fight about money. Financial problems lead to divorce. We didn’t want relationship to deteriorate over something as inconsequential as money. We’ve been through financial ups and downs, including bouts of unemployment and significant credit-card But we never cast blame and remain calm during financial discussions.”
This commitment to rise above money troubles is working for the couple, who have been married for 12 years.
2. Understand that communication is a two-way process.
Communication is more about listening than talking. I tell my wife, if something I say can be interpreted two ways and one of those ways makes you sad or angry, I meant the other one.”
When we’re angry, hurt or defensive, it’s easy to assume the worst about what our partner says. If something sounds critical or hurtful, take a deep breath and run through it again. Is there a kinder, and more likely, interpretation? Being open to that possibility has kept this couple happy for 20 years.
3. Treat your husband or wife as an honored guest.
We sometimes treat strangers and acquaintances better than we do our spouses, giving them whatever is left over after a hard day. But that can wear on our partners and our marriages.
I once read in an old book on marriage: ‘Always treat your husband as an honored guest in your home.’ In other words, be on your best behavior. This has rubbed off on me and he reciprocates. It works! My own saying about marriage is: ‘A good marriage is made up of a thousand small kindnesses.'”
This advice from a woman who is still happily married after 35 years.
The article includes 22 more pieces of advice from couples who have made their marriages happy and made them to last. Check out the rest of the article for more great ideas to help you have a lasting marriage.