5 Secrets of a Happy, Long Marriage

While every successful couple has their own recipe for a vibrant, happy marriage, relationship experts find that lovebirds who stay together happily over many years have a few basic things in common. Here are five of the keys to maintaining a lasting, loving relationship through the years.




1. Know Your Partner – Then and Now

Accept that people change, including your spouse. You can’t expect your partner to stay exactly the same over 20, 30 or 40 years. They may develop new goals and dreams over time. Make an effort to keep in touch with who your partner is now to maintain a happy and close relationship. Take the time to talk to your spouse and truly listen. Showing respect to the other person even if you don’t agree with them will help your marriage stay strong.

On the subject of change, remind yourself that while you can’t change the other person, you can change yourself. There is no sense getting upset over an annoying behavior from your partner that will likely never change, or if it does, will change very slowly. Focus on changing your reaction instead for lowered stress and more peace in the relationship.


2. Do Exciting Things Together

Getting stuck in a rut is easy. Routine can feel comfortable and familiar. However, finding new ways to have fun with your partner has been demonstrated to lead to closer bonding with your spouse or partner and high rates of marital satisfaction. Whether it’s learning to paint, volunteering, traveling or focusing on a new form of exercise together, any kind of novel, fun activity can make a couple feel invigorated and closer with each other.

Related: Six Air Travel Tips for Seniors

Engaging in shared activities and playing close attention to your spouse is a top factor for a peaceful marriage. However, some experts also point out that learning to enjoy “parallel play” with your partner is another essential ingredient for a happy marriage. Parallel play means you are close in proximity to your partner, but you are each relaxing or playing in the way that is the most interesting to you. You each get the benefits of companionship while devoting time to your own self-development.


3. Always Fight Nice

When conflicts happen, it’s important to talk them through with your spouse. If you keep things to yourself, you can start to build up resentment that eats away at the respect that is vital for you to feel for your partner, and vice versa. When you get upset, take a deep breath and be kind to your spouse. You can disagree with your spouse but still stay respectful and positive. Always avoid putting your partner down. Negatively and put-downs inevitably create an unequal relationship that generates anger and anxiety.

Psychologists have identified the “right way” to fight for a happy relationship. In the end, remember that you and your spouse are a team. Don’t say anything during the argument that could create an atmosphere of negativity once the disagreement has passed. The goal of any argument should be a mutually beneficial agreement.


4. Take care of each other

Living with a spouse or partner in later life has been shown to protect one’s health – when it’s a high-quality relationship.

Couples that stay together over the years accept that aging brings challenges, and they take care of each other. They talk about what the future holds and face the future together as true partners. Let your partner know you will be there for them no matter what physical challenges or difficulties they may face.

Related: Did you know you can get an additional alert button for your spouse so your medical alert system can cover them too?


5. Keep in touch, literally

One couple who celebrated 70 years of marriage describes their long-maintained ritual of kissing each other goodnight and good morning every single day.

Showing your affection and attraction for your partner will never get old. Couples who demonstrate to each other that they care through touch, be it by cuddling, kissing, hugging or sex, report the highest levels of relationship satisfaction. Illness or medications might mean you can’t still have the exact same kind of passionate physicality you had 40 years ago, but you can still show each other you care with a loving touch. And don’t forget that compliments go a long way!


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