25 Secrets About Marriage

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

By Julie D. Andrews

“Key word of advice for a long, happy marriage: If you marry a Jewish man, you must always have separate bathrooms. There are pleanty of co-ed spa opportunities to take advantage of—jacuzzis or champagne bubble baths a deux—at resorts where you can (as P . Diddy says) keep the sexy.”–Gail has been married to Matthew for 14 years (New York, NY).

“We are both left-handed. That was one of my criteria in getting married. Our three children are unfortunately handicapped—right handed.”–David has been married to Dee Dee for 25 years (Memphis, TN).

“Be passionate, supportive and accepting of what the other person is doing in their personal life. We knew it was important to still be individuals. We each had things we wanted to get done personally. We wanted our work goals not just supported but understood and facilitated. It hasn’t always been easy. My husband put up with my two rounds of higher education and five startup companies. Today, I put him on a plane for a tour of duty in Iraq. I might not personally believe in sending troops overseas but I believe in him and know this is important to him.”–Julie has been married to Mark for 15 years (West Linn, Oregon).

“Forget your old ‘best’ friends. You have a new best friend now. Make sure to have ‘your time.'”–Rick has been married to Jenn for 14 years (Arlington, MA).

“What is most important for a long-term marriage is knowing yourself before you marry.”–Nancy has been married to Don for 16 years (Temecula, CA).

Read: What’s the Key to a Happy Marriage?

“Dump friends, family and situations which have a negative effect on your life and marriage—and expect your spouse to do the same. Keep your sex life interesting. Listen to each other’s fantasies. Do not be afraid to dress and act sensual in the bedroom. And plan exciting vacations together.”–Beverly has been married to Pablo for 33 years (Lampasas, TX).

“Mind your manners. Too often we show more respect to strangers than to those we love. Parents often expect manners from their kids but don’t use them with each other. ‘Please hand me that plate’ is kinder, gentler than ‘Hand me that.’ Would you, could you, please, sorry, these are magic words. They’re not just for dating.” LaRita has been married to Kurt for 27 years (Indian Shores, FL).

“We are about as different as a couple can get. But rather than be irritated by our differences, we revel in them. We find each other’s foibles endlessly amusing, much like watching exotic animals in a zoo. Not a day goes by without my laughing so hard I cry, at my husband’s making fun of something I’m doing. We tease each other a lot. It’s never mean-spirited. And we’re both psychiatrists to boot!”–Doreen has been married to Tim for 20 years (Boulder, CO).

Read: 8 Marriage Busters to Give Up Today

“We took a lot of trips without our children and both feel this has made all the difference in the world. We had friends who judged us for leaving our kids so often. They are now divorced.”–Becky has been married to Jay for 26 years (Twin Cities, MN).

“Share a common dream. When couples have that, every bump in the road is on the way to somewhere that matters. Without the dream, every bump in the road is a mountain to climb over. Finding your dharma, or what your unique service is to the planet, creating a larger context of meaning in life, puts the little stuff in perspective and makes it easy to process.”–Lanny has been married to Christine for 23 years (Albuquerque, NM).

“If you’re in it for life, you’re both going to do a lot of growing up and maturing over the years—you have to stay intimately in touch with each other’s growth over all this time or you end up not knowing the person you’re married to as he/she changes over the years.”–Ann has been married to Dean for 25 years (Slidell, LA).

Read: True Love Stories

From YourTango.com: 25 Secrets to a Loving, Lasting Marriage

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