Happy Sunday Friends!
It has been a lovely weekend so far here at Casa Beebe. The weather started off a little icky yesterday morning, but cleared up and turned out to be a fairly sunny (although cool) afternoon. We spent most of the day running errands and doing projects and chores around the house. It feels good to have my house clean and the laundry and dishes “done.” Not sure yet what is on tap for today, but the sun is shining!
Do you read Dear Abby, or another advice column? I do. I have for years and years. I also read Dear Prudence. I find them both to be an interesting insight into the world of people and what they think are problems in their lives.
I was reading Dear Abby this morning and woman wrote in to say she is getting married in two months and wanted some advice on how to have a lasting marriage. Dear Abby said never go to bed angry. That’s pretty good advice, but it takes a whole lot more than that to have a lasting marriage.
I do get asked periodically how Chris and I have stayed together so long, usually by my younger friends. So, I thought I would share what I think are some *key* aspects to having a lasting relationship.
Love – The most important thing is to love each other, and yourself. There is more to love than infatuation or sexual attraction. Love entails wanting the best for the other, caring about their opinion, and supporting their dreams. There is so much to Love, but it is the basis: love yourself and each other.
Respect – You have to respect yourself and your partner. You can’t belittle or demean them (or yourself). I think many people today don’t understand what it means to respect someone, but you can’t have a lasting relationship without it.
Communication – Okay, outside of love and respect, communication is number one. In fact, at times in relationships when the love and respect might be hard to find, communication becomes THE most important piece to keep the relationship alive. All relationships go through difficult times. Some in the early years, some at the 7 year mark (the 7 year itch is a real thing!) and some much later. Love and respect can be hard to find during those times, and it is communication (not fighting and hating, but truly trying to share feelings whether they be good, bad or indifferent) with each other that helps weather those rough patches.
Trust – Without it your relationship will wither and die faster than a plant without water. Without trust there is no relationship, even if you stay married for 40 years. If there is not trust you are just two people living in the same space.
Truth – Trust and truth go together because without truth there is no trust. You cannot lie. You cannot hide things. You cannot omit information. Without truth there is no relationship because without truth there is no trust. Lying to your partner means you have no love, respect or trust and you can’t communicate with them. All of the foundations of a good lasting relationship are missing.
Friendship – It is really helpful if your life partner is also your best friend. You don’t have to be identical, or have the exact same interests, but if you can find commonalities, enjoy each others quirks, personality and sense of humor (even if it isn’t your own) these things help build a strong foundation for a lifetime relationship.
Have Fun Together – Find things that you both enjoy doing together. It doesn’t matter what it is. But DO things together, have fun, laugh and build stories together. Be silly. This is where the lifelong bonding happens; this is where you build the relationship and bind yourselves to each other.
Have Fun Apart, Too – Do not lose yourself in your relationship! Maintain or find your OWN hobbies and interests. You don’t need to be a carbon copy of your partner, in fact you shouldn’t be! You will be a much more interesting and interested partner if you have your own things to talk about and share. Don’t give up who you are. And encourage your partner to maintain their own interests and hobbies, too. Support each other in your separate interests.
Have the Tough Conversations Early – You and your partner need to have common ground on a few really important topics like money, religion, and children. A significant percentage of arguments, and ultimately failures in relationships are due to arguments over money, religion and children. Don’t wait until the wedding day to find out what your partner thinks about these things. And, don’t think you will be able to change their mind “after” the wedding or “later.” These are critical components of a successful relationship: you have to be on the same page about these things.
Present a United Front – A combining of families happens when two people make a commitment to each other. This often (not always) creates conflicts with the in-laws or relatives. I don’t know why this is, but it is common. Just like having the tough conversations early is critical, so is presenting a united front in the face of outside family challenges. If your family is critical or rude to your spouse YOU need to step up and say it won’t be tolerated. This is part of the respect piece. Just the same if their family is rude to you, THEY need to step up and make it stop. If the family doesn’t stop, it may require a removal of yourselves from the family or a minimization of contact. Here’s why: Your Relationship Must Come First. Period.
Lastly….laugh together. Laugh at each other. Laugh at yourselves. Laugh at life. Share your laughter with each other. Don’t take life too seriously.
Like the saying says: Live. Laugh. Love.
Did I leave anything out? Is there something you feel is critical to a lasting relationship? Share in the comments.