I am not a psychologist or therapist and have no formal training on how to counsel others. What I do have is a very happy marriage of 30 years and that is what qualifies me to give advice…….experience.
Ask couples who have been married many years what the secret is and you will get a variety of answers. “Respect”. “Friendship”. “Never go to bed angry”. All good answers, all valid. But I believe that my answer to the question trumps all of those answers.
My advise is different and if you follow it, all those other pieces will fall into place. My advise is to be grateful.
Remember why you fell in love and all the things about your partner that you are grateful for and tell them. By telling them you remind them, and yourself, of what it is you love about them. Gratitude is the key to happiness and to staying in love. Unexpressed gratitude is useless. It must be expressed. Otherwise it is like buying someone a present and never giving it to them. Useless.
The opposite of gratitude is taking things for granted. Whenever things go awry in a relationship, one of the parties always feels taken for granted. Don’t let that happen.
Make expressing gratitude a habit. It has taken some of us a long to learn this, but I can tell you from personal experience that it works. Gail and I just celebrated our 30th anniversary, and I can honestly say that I am more in love with her today, then I was on the day we married and I am more grateful too. Rarely does a day go by without me telling her that I love her and why. And guess what? She does the same with me.
The last several years, and in particular, living with a disability, has taught me more about gratitude than I ever could have learned in a life without incident. But don’t wait for a life changing event to learn these lessons. Remind yourself, and your partner, today why you fell in love and do it all over again.
You, and your partner, will be glad you did.
Happy anniversary, Gail. I love you more today than yesterday.
Participate. Make a difference. Live a life that matters.