How To Make A Marriage Last 25 Years
On a gorgeous, sunny, 70-degree day, overlooking the Pacific in Big Sur, CA., 25 years ago I married my precious Robert. As I reflect back on that amazing day that started off so foggy, but cleared just before we took our vows, I thought about how we had made it from some dark nights, stormy days, foggy mornings to now sunny days.
What can you do to make a marriage or romantic relationship last for 25 years? You need a few keys things: obviously love, patience, compassion, passion, and a sense of humor. But I think the one thing that is overlooked is this: You have to have fun together. Because without fun, marriage can get really intense and that’s draining. And marriage or romantic relationships can quickly lose their appeal if you’re emotionally drained.
So if you’re already married, and you aren’t having as much fun as you used to, decide what fun things you can add to your week. Maybe after you complete your Saturday chores, you want to go do something fun together for a couple hours. Plan a fun date night once a week – and stick to it every week. Robert and I chose Wednesday night to make sure we have a “fun” break in the middle of the week. And we also make time for some fun on the weekends.
There’s something else that I notice is missing in relationships – genuine respect. You are living with another human being who has feelings, emotions, wounds, scars, and fears, and makes mistakes from time to time. I remind myself of my mistakes if I catch myself getting at all judgmental.
Another key thing is, more than likely, you each have different strengths that can compliment each other. But that means you also have different “weaknesses” that can rub each other the wrong way. Don’t judge your partner for their “weaknesses.” Instead, pick up the slack where you can and ask him to pick up the slack where he can. If neither one of you want to do something, either hire someone to do it, or take turns. But don’t make the other person wrong for their “weakness.” And do work to turn yours into less of a “weakness” and more of a “I don’t care to do that, and I’ll make sure it gets properly done.”
Usually we make someone wrong, when we aren’t feeling great about ourselves. Right? If you’re feeling solid, confident, happy, you cut people slack. So when you’re not feeling your best, work on yourself to feel better.
And the thing I see damage more relationships than anything else: assuming negative intentions. You want to assume positive intentions. Why would you assume negative intentions from your partner? Unless they are abusive or manipulative in any way. That’s a different story.
But usually we all try to do our best. It’s just that we’re human and we make messes. So next time you assume negative intentions, or you are judgmental or disrespectful to your partner, remember, unless you’ve lived a mistake-free life or have never been unkind or unconscious, then cut your partner some slack. And you want a partner who cuts you some slack too.
My clients all tell me I see things differently than they do. I can turn things around and help them see the good. And I can also point out when things aren’t good and need to be addressed. But I can see good things because I’m assuming positive intentions from others.
So where a client might see her partner as having been lazy or thoughtless, I might see where he took on too much, or got stuck, or didn’t know how to do something and was ashamed to ask for help. I’m assuming he meant to do something, but maybe fear took over. That way, I can help my client communicate to her partner without cutting his head off and getting him defensive. Nothing gets accomplished from that place.
I’m not saying to ignore or even minimize important things. I am saying you want to communicate in a way that has the best chance of being heard. Start with kindness, and if you need to, add in firmness. It’s a perfect balance. But leave out judgment or blame or disrespect.
I’ve made as many messes as the next person. I had to learn to forgive myself and to understand that I did the best I could with who I was and what I knew at the time. And if I knew better but did something dumb anyway, well I still had to learn to forgive myself and keep working to always do better.
So please do the same thing for yourself. It doesn’t mean you do it again. You learn from your mess. And that way, you’ll forgive others when they make a mess or two or three.
We are sensitive beings and we really do care about each other. The healthier the spirit, mind and body, the more fun it is to be around someone.
So to have your marriage and romantic relationships last 25 and more years, work on yourself to feel fabulous in your spirit, mind and body. Cut yourself and your partner some slack. Forgive yourself and others for their messes. Assume positive intentions. Then go have some fun!!!
Happy Sunny Days!!
Carol C Chanel
© Carol Chanel
I teach people to overcome the obstacles that keep them stuck yet longing for romantic relationships, more self-confidence and inspiration to accomplish their dreams.
We sometimes forget what it feels like to live from our hearts and souls. We forget the thrill of taking the brakes off and flying. Life is dull if we just live from our minds.
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