25 Secrets About Marriage | Reader's Digest

25 Secrets About Marriage

Couples who've been married up to 50 years share their tricks to making wedlock work.

By Julie D. Andrews

These real-life couples have been in the marriage trenches and they’re still laughing, smiling having a ball. Here, their secrets to making love last for the long haul.

“We’re best friends. You really have to like each other to last. When the sex becomes less important you better enjoy doing things together (while still doing things apart). We drive for days to car shows sometimes. So we better like each other.”–Ralph has been married to Teresa for 17 years.

“A key to success was my willingness to give up the home decor I had brought into our relationship. This included my neon-light beer signs, a Jethro Tull poster, a bedroom set collected from at least four non-matching sources, a bamboo sofa, a brick-and-wood bookcase and a roll-top desk from my youth.”–Steve has been married to Barbara for 24 years (Irvine, CA ).

Read: Move In Together, Fight-Free

Happy couple© iStockphoto/Thinkstock

“We made a pact to never fight about money. Financial problems lead to divorce. We didn’t want our relationship to deteriorate over something as inconsequential as money. We’ve been through financial ups and downs, including bouts of unemployment and significant credit-card debt. But we never cast blame and remain calm during financial discussions.”–Lisa and Brian celebrate 12 years in June.

“Never discuss sensitive subjects when hungry or tired. And eat marshmallows to improve communication. What’s the one thing you can’t possibly do with a mouthful of marshmallows? Talk. Communication is more about listening than talking. I tell my wife, if something I say can be interpreted two ways and one of those ways makes you sad or angry, I meant the other one.”–Steven has been married to Sheryl for 20 years (Longwood, FL).

Read: 4 Ways to Nurture Your Relationship

“I once read in an old book on marriage: ‘Always treat your husband as an honored guest in your home.’ In other words, be on your best behavior. This has rubbed off on me and he reciprocates. It works! My own saying about marriage is: ‘A good marriage is made up of a thousand small kindnesses.’”–Trudy has been married to Paul for 35 years (Yuma, AZ).

“We purposely sit next to each other on the couch each night. My father told me to be sure to do this when I got married. It makes it impossible not to physically touch each other!”–Stephanie has been married for 18 years.

“Always find things to laugh about. Laugh together. Times are tough. Tragedy happens in all families. Things will go wrong. But if you find ways to laugh about “it” you’ll form a special bond and can overcome anything!”–Dawn has been married to Tony for 32 years (San Francisco, CA).

“Couples should have separate bathrooms. It’s not a luxury to have one place in the house that you don’t share. Forty-five years of hearing your partner gurgle his way through the theme song to Bill Dance’s fishing show is guaranteed to start you off in a bad mood. There’s nothing romantic about watching your hubby dearest attack the hairs in his ears or yank out an offending nose hair. His scream is guaranteed to send chills down your spine, and put off your hunger for that yummy meal he’s cleaning up for.”–Connie has been married to Fred for 44 years (Bellevue, NE).