If you have been blessed like me to have been with the same partner a long time—24 years of marriage for us—you know it takes compromise, humor and patience to get there. Maybe it’s not always a sunny walk in the park, but getting through those times of turmoil really help you appreciate the strength of your bond as partners.
I read an old man’s advice on how to keep your marriage alive over 60 years of marriage. He said one key was to accept the woman his wife became after personal growth and changes she went through. We all go through perspective changes as we grow older; we experience the loss of loved ones, our favorite things to do change, our sleeping habits, our diets, our goals.
For some of us, we learn to live together while raising our babies, then our teenagers, then learn how to let them go as they begin their new lives. All the while sharing our ideals as individuals, as a couple, as a family, and hope that we stay the course together through all the ups and downs.
Sometimes people just grow apart, sadly. We see a lot of that these days—people fall out of love and seek to change partners. Many separations are clearly warranted. Emotional health is important. When your bad days outweigh the good days, it’s time to figure out what needs to change.
I’ve gone through a lot of changes, mentally, oh and physically, some good, some bad. I’ve been blessed with a man who has stuck by my side through it all and I thank my lucky stars for that. But it takes a lot of give and take, it takes laughter and sometimes tears.
Communication is key, for anything and especially in intimate relationships because silence turns to assumptions. (You know what they say about assuming anything.) Arguments are growth opportunities. Take advantage of the communication even if it is born out of disagreement. It helps you understand how your partner is thinking.
There is no manual for how to manage a lifetime partnership. The rules I’ve come to learn include respecting one another in public, disagree in private. Tell each other “I love you” a lot. Even if we know it, we like to hear it. Compliment each other and encourage each to reach their life goals. And always, always offer support when your partner needs you most, no matter what.
Cheers to many more years!
Email Paula at paulaparisot@gmail.com.