When you reach one hundred years old, I am sure it is common for people to ask your secret to a long life. I would expect that is not an easy question to answer. Is it the yogurt, the water, luck, genetics? How can one really know?
When you have been in love with the same person for many years and people ask, what is your secret for a lasting relationship, it is a challenging question as well. I have been asked enough times that I have searched hard for a response. In the end, I think there are as many reasons as there are relationships, and I have thought of a few, but I believe there is one common factor.
One thing you both want is compatibility. If you don’t like the same things and don't find similar joys in life how can you identify with your partner’s passions? Now my darling husband doesn’t knit or sew or decorate the house, but he loves creating things. He sings and plays several musical instruments, as well as writing his own music. He paints and does carpentry and can envision even the most elaborate project simply from a description. He knows and understands art and the passion that comes from the need to create. He is always a valuable and supportive contributor in my writing endeavors. In that way we understand one another. When I hold up a pair of socks I have designed, and explain what it took to learn how to turn a heel, he might not really care all that much about every stitch, but he understands that I worked and learned and earned that sock. When I hear him practice a song to arrange it to his talents and liking I understand what drives him to spend that time and energy. It is something we both have in common.
There must be honesty. A good relationship of any kind must have open communication. That doesn’t mean stressful conversations on Sunday night into the wee hours of the morning where one partner is frustrated and the other confused and hurt. It has to come before that. It means being able to say whatever comes to your mind, knowing that your partner understands your true meaning. If you say something blunt, that person knows the difference between openness and being malicious. This is hard to find with other people at any time and priceless in a marriage. If one or both partners don’t speak their minds or can't be their genuine selves then how can one expect genuine love? You would be asking a partner to love the person you are pretending to be and not the real you.
In that same vein there must be respect. In love it is essential. This brings to mind the several hen parties I once attended where there seemed to always be one wife who spent the evening complaining about her husband. I always got the feeling that by belittling her man she somehow thought she made herself look better. Wrong. If he’s so bad then why are you there and who is really wrong? Without respect there cannot be a partnership… ever. My man is who he is. Did I choose him? You bet. Did I only want some aspects of who he is? No. I wanted him, good and bad and always as his own person. I wanted him to want me for the same reasons. I have never once felt that my partner ever made excuses for me being who I am, to anyone, ever, no matter what. I am my own person and he is his own as well. Anyone who tries to form a relationship expecting that partner is going to change into a different person is better off looking elsewhere. Better for both of you.
You need to have the same morals. They don't need to be high morals, but for the rest of the world it is nice. When you share a life and a partnership it does no good if one partner feels morally compromised by another. With similar morals things like political differences, religious beliefs and making everyday choices in life fall into place much more easily. When you have the same general sense of right and wrong you are better mates.
And then the most important factor of all, commitment. Truly devoted commitment makes you both want to be there through thick and thin. If you are not ready to devote yourself to a relationship 100% you will never survive when life presents its inevitable hurdles. You won’t stay when the money is tight, when the children are exhausting or when the passion wanes. And if you are not both committed in the end you will only resent one another. If, throughout even the worst of times in a relationship, you feel that there is no other person in the world you want to be with, you will make it. Real commitment is never part-time or fair-weather. It takes hard work and has fantastic benefits.
When you see that old couple walking side by side in the supermarket aisle, spending their final years together, having survived wars and families and hardships, take a moment to show them respect. They are the best of people and have accomplished something that is not always easy to do. They made a commitment and are seeing it through. For that they deserve a smile and a nod. With those who can keep a promise like that, the world is a much lovelier place.
Thank you so much for visiting!
Thank you so much for visiting!