Every happy couple has their own secret recipe as to why their relationship has lasted so long. Some say it’s because they’re best friends first and foremost, others say having separate bathrooms or even houses is the secret. Relationships take work and compromise and every couple is different and no one size fits all. But when 100 married pensioners were asked to share their secrets to a long and happy relationship, here’s what they had to say.
Maintain your friendship
Your partner should be your best friend and that friendship isn’t something you should take for granted but should nurture and cherish.
Be nice to one other
At times it’s easier to be nicer to strangers or people who we don’t particularly like at work than it is to our partners who we love. Choose to be nice.
Always show respect
Everyone argues and feels irritated by their partner from time to time, but the important thing is to never cross that line and to always show your partner respect, both in private and in public.
Enjoy being together
It’s important to enjoy each other’s company and to spend regular quality time together having fun, laughing and just ‘being’ together.
Say “I love you”
You can never overuse the phrase ‘I love you’. Don’t let a day go by where you don’t say it to your partner.
Never go to sleep on an argument
It really isn’t worth going to bed on an argument. You end up sleeping badly and in most cases wake up angry. Life is too short; just kiss and make up.
Be honest but kind
It’s OK to be honest and to tell your partner what you think from time to time, but always dress your honesty up in kindness. Being honest isn’t more noble than being kind and considerate of their feelings.
Make sure you’re on the same side when battling both the big and small issues in life. Having solidarity and knowing your partner has your back is extremely important.
Don’t compare your relationship
Every couple’s relationship is different and nobody knows what really goes on behind locked doors. Don’t measure your relationship against others’.
Romance can mean different things to different people but ultimately it’s about showing the other person that you’re thinking about them through small little gestures. Don’t think big bunches of flowers or expensive gifts, think, little notes left around the house or love texts in the middle of the day.
Don’t take each other for granted – make sure you show each other affection every day by hugging, kissing, laughing and touching.
Have time apart
Spend time alone or catch up with your friends and have your own interests. You’ll have more to talk about when you are together.
Don’t expect too much
Rosamund Pike recently said “In my grandmother’s day, you wouldn’t expect your husband to fulfil the same need in you as your sister, or girlfriends, or colleagues at work. You’d have different needs met by different people. Now we want all our needs met by one person, and I don’t believe that’s possible.” She is right of course. No partner will ever give you a 100 percent of what you need in life. Maintain good relationships with your family and friends and colleagues and be realistic about what your partner is able to bring to the relationship.
It can be easy to lose yourself, especially in the early days of a relationship when all you do is spend time in each others company. Maintain your own identity and your own freedom.
Don’t bottle things up until they burst out of you. Talk about what’s bothering you and then listen.