We don’t often think of asking our parents or grandparents for relationship advice. But couples who married their childhood sweethearts must have some secret relationship advice to keeping the flame going!
How does a relationship survive the excruciating ‘meet the parents’ stage never mind many, many years of marriage? We’ve searched near and far for couples’ top tips. The dos and don’ts of long-lasting relationships are here for you to peruse…
1. Communication is key
Okay, so you’ve heard this one before. But the importance of communication in a long-term relationship seems to be the number one tip from the reddit community. One user commented about the importance of opening up when sometimes you might feel vulnerable and unwilling to do so:
“The best thing you can do is communicate. Early in the relationship, I wouldn’t communicate my feelings because, as a man, it made me feel weak. This almost ruined it altogether. I opened up more over time.”
Active listening is also vital. It’s hardly rocket science, but it turns out that remembering that your wife likes to eat dinner together, even if it means waiting for one part of the couple to come home late, is a sure-fire way of showing you care!
2. Welcome and encourage change
Often, we don’t realize just how much we change as the years go by. It’s tempting to think that couples always change together because they’re, well, together. But this is so not true. We each change according to our personality and circumstance, so having too great an expectation of your partner to remain the same, or to change in a certain way, can ruin a great relationship. So, yes, it would be nice if your husband *finally* learnt how to cook something other than pasta, but being a little more realistic is a healthy way of giving each other space.
“Recognize that you’re both going to change over time, and enjoy that journey together.”
Couples are also keen to remind us that alone time is key. Giving each other space, and a much-needed break from the kids, helps couples stay together. Not that you want to live separate lives, or license too much man-cave time, but it sure helps to have a breather or even take a trip alone for some me-time.
“Accept that — no matter how long you’ve been together — you are not the same person (meaning you’re not ONE single person). You will have different interests. Trips alone are okay. Give each other space.”
3. Surprise your spouse as often as you can
When you’ve been together for a long time you will see each other at your best and worst – yes, even when you’re eating ice-cream out of the tub in sweatpants! So it’s vital to avoid losing the spark of the early days. Our couples were keen to surprise their spouses with gifts or little actions to brighten each other’s days.
“I try to make a point to ask her about her day, talk things out calmly, and pay attention to what she wants/needs. I keep a list of things I catch. Being able to listen to your partner and do something to make their day/hour/minute is something that really makes people cherish each other.”
4. Compromise is key: separate duvets!
We’ve all been there. We like our space, but they like to cuddle. They want fifteen tog duvets in summer, while we just want a sheet. They want the window open… in winter! But one couple came up with a great solution that highlights the crucial component of any relationship: compromise.
“Separate duvets on the same bed! I can wrap myself up all nice and snug and be warm, and she likes to move around and have ‘fresh air.'”
5. The hanger is real…
Yep. Never say something in hanger. Fill your boots first.
“Weird tip, but: Before you go and speak (or yell) in anger towards them, eat something. I have learned ‘hanger’ is real and the person I’m most likely to take it out on is my spouse. Also, when I’ve seen that he’s mad for seemingly no reason, I’ve made him a sandwich and he’s totally fine. I’m pretty sure it’s made our relationship and communication 100% better.”
And finally, this piece of heart-warming advice about sacrifice and compromise:
“Get married with the intention of making someone else’s life better, have children with that person because you want to care for them together, and always give more than you take.”