Successful relationships

What makes a successful relationship? What tips and advice do the happily married have to keep their relationships working?

There's no point asking me - I've been single for decades, but a number of Shipmates have celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary recently, so they must know something about this .

Comments

  • Nowhere near 30 years for me, but I'll offer a book recommendation which I very much enjoyed: The Seven Principles of Making Marriage Work by John Gottmann. Gottmann works in the field of positive psychology, applied to marriage. In other words, rather than studying couples who have problems and trying to fix them, he studies couples who stay together to see what they do.

    According to Gottmann, the main predictor of a couple's longevity is the quality of their friendship. There's lot of excellent advice on improving your emotional intelligence to strengthen your relationship.
  • BoogieBoogie Shipmate
    edited February 23
    We will celebrate our Ruby wedding (40th anniversary) in August. We met and moved in together aged 18 and married aged 22.

    I don’t think ‘successful’ is the right word.

    We are very lucky to enjoy each other’s company and both want the same things out of life, that’s all really.

    Living with someone else is always a series of compromises, some small, some not so small. Sometimes I’m on my own for 12 weeks at a stretch when he’s away on his bike tours - and I miss him, but I also enjoy being alone and having my own rhythm to the days without compromise.
  • GalilitGalilit Shipmate
    I think you have to be with someone who shares your vision of the future. As in the world you want to build as a couple/family and the wider world you want to be for everyone too. In my case we don't have a shared religion (or even religion at all in the case of Dear Partner) but we want the same kind of world for ourselves, the children and everyone. We do spend an enormous amount of time and energy of time discussing the best thing to do or say in any given situation or on any given issue.
    But I was born for a serious moral dilemma every few days and so was he ...
    so that's ok then, innit?
  • We are one of the couples who have just passed the 30 year mark; last Monday we celebrated the 33rd anniversary of starting to date and our 30th wedding anniversary.

    I'm a bit flummoxed at the idea that I might have any advice worth passing on, and will have to think about it for a bit to see if I can come up with any gems.

    I'm not sure how unusual we are, but long term marriage is what we see when we look around us. The year after we graduated -1987 - we attended six weddings of couples who had been our friends at University. Five of those marriages are still going strong. We've lost touch with the sixth couple, but AFAIK, they are still married too. I think I've attended a couple of dozen weddings over the years; two have ended in divorce and the rest are clocking up the years and decades. This is true not just of friends in heterosexual marriages but of friends in same-sex relationships, too. The years just keep ticking by.

    Divorce hasn't really featured in our families either - my parents in law's marriage ended with the death of my mother-in-law, my parents have been married for 56 years. We had / have seven aunts / uncles between us; to date those 7 have resulted in one Diamond Wedding, three Golden weddings, and the rest ended in the death of one spouse. Our married siblings are following in our wake, with a silver wedding due next year.

    Perhaps we are simply unimaginative and accepting of a culture of long term marriage?

  • We're another 30 year marker couple (last August) and one that by all the stats shouldn't have made it, being a) interracial, b) interlingual, and c) having an 18 year age gap.

    One huge thing that made a difference for us is loyalty. Both of us know that, no matter how mad we may be at one another, our spouse will defend us against outsiders and take our side, even against family members. Which doesn't stop the fight, but at least isolates it. (I have a memory of shouting at my husband when my kid decided to mouth off at him at the same time. I promptly scolded the kid for disrespecting his father (in front of his father!) and then we returned to the fight in progress.)
  • We are a 20 year couple (we got started late). We vowed from the beginning to (a) always assume the other partner is acting in good faith; (b) not tell each other what to do; (c) don't criticize how the other does a chore unless you're willing to take over the chore yourself.
  • agingjbagingjb Shipmate
    We are approaching 39 years of marriage.

    Both of us had previous marriages lasting over 10 years, which fell apart. No-one would have given us much chance of a long faithful marriage (and I suppose some of you would not call our marriage genuine).

    I think we were lucky.
  • anoesisanoesis Shipmate
    One huge thing that made a difference for us is loyalty. Both of us know that, no matter how mad we may be at one another, our spouse will defend us against outsiders and take our side, even against family members.

    What you've identified here is not just loyalty, but a shared conception of loyalty's outworking. I have no doubt of my husband's loyalty, but I've wished, so many times, that he'd demonstrate it by taking my side. I've talked to him about it, after - "We're a team, we have to stand up for one another, stand in for one another - I'd do it for you" - but he's so profoundly conflict-avoiding that he always just says - "But what would be the point? There's no use inflaming a situation." The point, dear husband, is that when you say nothing, while I'm being verbally attacked, you are, by implication, siding with them, and not with me...
  • I watched a marriage in my own family break up over this point.
  • A united front was definitely one of our strengths. We had a mantra "I have no secrets from your father / mother" and we backed each other up.

    The North East Loon was beyond delighted the day that he realised we did have secrets from one another. Our elderly, longhaired cat was finding it increasing difficult to keep clean, and I had been trimming her nethers.

    The kids and I were at the vet with her, and the vet asked what I'd been trimming her with "My husband's beard trimming scissors" I said, then added to the kids "Don't tell your Dad I've been using his scissors on Agnes' bum!" The N.E.Loon's face lit up "You have a secret from Dad!

    Of course, I then had to go home and 'fess up.
  • BoogieBoogie Shipmate
    Great story @North East Quine

    😆
  • BoogieBoogie Shipmate
    @anoesis said - There's no use inflaming a situation." The point, dear husband, is that when you say nothing, while I'm being verbally attacked, you are, by implication, siding with them, and not with me...

    I understand this. My OH also avoids conflict at all costs.

    In a similar way arguments used to be a problem.

    My OH hates arguments.

    I used to need arguments to process our difficulties and clear the air. So I’d work hard to get him to argue - never worth doing, as he ended up angry and that wasn’t what either of us wanted or needed.

    So I’ve learned to process things differently and by and large cope without arguments. Not my natural style at all - but when my son comes home we have some super arguments while OH looks on bemused. My son is very much like me (and his wife hates arguments so we both enjoy a good one when we get together)
  • CaissaCaissa Shipmate
    We are coming up on 23 years in May. We married in our early thirties. I think the secret for us is a mixture of shared interests (we both have an MA in history and love to read) and different interests ( she is learning the piano, likes to walk more than I do ) and me ( playing chess and tennis, and watching any sporting event).
  • Near to 40. We met at a time when we were just forming ourselves as young adults. I wouldn't be myself without her. As if it projects backward in time; it feels as if I knew her before I met her.
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