25 Secrets About Marriage

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

By Julie D. Andrews

“Remember: Women want to be loved and cherished. Men want to feel respected….even more than they want to feel loved. This may sound odd but it’s true. Don’t emasculate your man. Don’t take your woman for granted. Life gets messy, boring and stressful. Your marriage will have seasons when it’s stronger or when it feels anemic. Whatever you did in the early days that made you laugh together, make time to do those same things after 10, 20 or 30 years. Read to each other from a favorite funny book. Watch a favorite funny movie.”–Judy has been married to Jeff for 22 years.

“Keep a date night. Since we married we’ve maintained one night a month to go out as a couple. When our children were infants (under 6 months) we’d take them along, we didn’t just sit in the house. It doesn’t have to be just you two. Go with other adults or couples. This allows you to have adult conversation and keeps you from hashing over household problems. Unless you have a baby under 6 months, no children allowed. Don’t discuss problems or major issues. The activity doesn’t have to be expensive. Have a club room in your apartment building? Host a pot-luck for some friends.You won’t have to worry about cleaning for company!”–Paula has been married to Dan for 26 years (Athens, AL).

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“Each person should seek to do good for the other person, instead of fighting over ‘what about me.’ Then the experience is one where each person is giving and serving the other. A win-win solution.” Dave has been married to Rose for 32 years (Roseville, CA).

“Facing adversity together has keept us together. Concern for our children has also been a strong force. Once you have grandchildren, the family bond is greatly reinforced.”–Chuck has been married to Marilyn for 41 years (Richmond, VA).

“Our main clue for newlyweds is to plan forward, and to look back only to the good times. Everybody has their rough spots, but if everything is focused on past hard times, your marriage can become like an albatross. Remember and revel in your successes. Ignore the times when you failed. Don’t look at problems to place blame, only to find solutions. Love is like a boomerang, throw it at your spouse and you’ll find it coming right back at you.”–Don has been married to Estelle for 50 years in July (Sacramento, CA).

“In the toughest times couples need to remember why they got together in the first place. Put your relationship first. Be open and flexible to change. Adapt. These tidbits sound ordinary but we’ve seen so many relationships break up because one or both partners refused to do these ‘common sense’ things.”–Maria has been married to Mark for 24 years (Raleigh, NC).

“Divorce is not an option – not to be thought about, said aloud, considered as an answer to a problem. Almost all problems are short-term. Divorce is a long-term answer. And if money becomes an issue, get counseling immediately. It’s not the green stuff, it’s the values that generate issues and cause arguments.”–Charlene has been married to Rick for 18 years (Georgetown, IN).

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