You're best friends. You're in love. Now you're making the commitment to be there for each other for the rest of your lives. But after many years of being together through life's trials and tribulations, how do you keep that promise?
Regardless of entertainment magazine and tabloid headlines and reality TV couples' drama, marriage continues to be one of the most maturational steps people take. Maybe marriage is still desirable because human nature has an instinctive, spiritual or cultural need to partner. Besides, a healthy partnership allows for old wounds to heal and individual growth to happen, especially if each person honors the other exactly as they are and allows them to follow their own path while continuing to strengthen their bond.
My paternal grandparents were married for 68 years before my grandmother passed away in 1995, a month before their 69th anniversary. At their 50th wedding anniversary party, I asked them what they believed was the secret to their partnership's harmonious longevity. My grandfather simply answered, "Compromise." My grandmother nodded with a smile.
We asked married couples to share their best piece of advice for newlyweds, and maybe now have a greater grasp of how to make a marriage work for the long haul.
Here are some pearls of wisdom worth taking to heart:
"Laugh — a lot."
"Be each other's No. 1 cheerleader. Hang in tough together to work through the difficult times."
"No name-calling or belittling, ever."
"Extend grace — and a lot of it."
"Be present, kind and respectful."
"It's not 50/50 — it's both doing 100/100."
"Make sure you truly care and are interested in the well-being of your partner. Enjoy each other's company even if it's just watching TV."
"Work as hard with each other as you do your career."
"After 30 years of marriage, I can confidently say that the No. 1 thing to remember is that you cannot change your spouse. Accept them for who they are. Look deep into yourself first before getting angry at your spouse or partner for the things that you're not happy with in your life. Remember, when you point your finger at your spouse, there are four more digits pointing back at you."
On a lighter note:
"The answer is always, 'yes,’ “ according to one husband.
"For men, the key to a happy relationship is never put yoga pants in the dryer."