Long-Lasting Love
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Long-Lasting Love

Couples share the success secrets of their long and happy marriages.

Wise Words

On their wedding day, most couples are starry-eyed, imagining marriage as a series of candlelight dinners and romantic weekends away. But once the champagne bubbles are gone, there's an awful lot of life left to get through as husband and wife. Just how do long-married couples successfully navigate the years together? We asked men and women married for more than 20 years for their best advice.

Never go to sleep mad at each other. But also, never leave for work mad at each other. It can really ruin your day, and it's not worth it. --Roger C., married 45 years

If he helps around the house -- washes the dishes, cooks, vacuums -- and it's not quite up to your standards, don't complain. Be happy he is making an effort to help. --Margaret C., married 45 years

Respect and a sense of humor are key. The sense of humor needs to kick in when the respect is temporarily wavering. --Bonnie W., married 35 years

Accept that you can't change someone. You have to learn to live with whatever annoys you, and remember that you have as many faults as your spouse does. --Russell S., married 40 years

You have to be best friends, have mutual respect, trust, and be truly comfortable, not just complacent, with each other. --Marianne S., married 40 years

Respect, honor, cherish, and nurture your partnership while supporting one another in the pursuit of personal dreams. --Lisa M., married 20 years

When she gets mad, I just shut up, and she gets tired of talking. After a while, it's over. In all our years being together, we have never had an argument! --James P., married 56 years

More Words of Wisdom from Long-Time Couples

He always thinks of me first which helps to keep our romance alive. We also talk things out and do everything together. We even make the bed together in the morning. --Patricia P., married 56 years

Love each other, of course. You also need trust, patience, and lots and lots of compromise. --Elaine K., married 41 years

Ever since we both retired, it seems we need a good explosion over a situation, whether major or minor, every so often. It clears the air and puts us back on track -- until the next time. --Frank S., married 40 years

Surviving a long marriage and working on it daily is like building a home over a long period of time. You add one piece at a time, and every piece has a different meaning. Even as the home gets old and creaky, you would never think of tearing it down or leaving it because of all the love and memories and emotions that belong to each piece. --Carol S., married 40 years

You have to respect the other person, and keep a sweet mouth. That is, always have something nice to say. --Mary S., married 55 years

Our secret to a long marriage? Hiring a good cleaning person. --Ted N., married 30 years

Saying "yes" a lot helps, of course, but after a long time together, I find we agree on so many things that saying yes gets easier as the years pass. --Peter F., married 34 years

Still More Words of Wisdom

Do little things to show him you're thinking of him, even corny things like slipping a note in his coat pocket. I do that, but I don't call attention to it, because I wouldn't want him to feel bad about not doing the same things. You can't expect someone to love or care for you in the same way you love and care for them. He takes care of things around the house, and I see that as him loving me. --Michelle T., married 37 years

If your spouse asks you to do something, just do it, right then. It's easier to do that than it is to argue over it. --Frank S., married 40 years

Always be grateful to your spouse. And say so, often. --Anne B., married 28 years

Don't expect the lust to carry you through. It doesn't last, but friendship does. --Marianne S., married 40 years

Honestly, we've made it by having two different comforters on our bed. He's always warm, so he has a lighter one. I'm always cold, so I have a heavier one. Why fight over something so silly, when there's such an easy solution? --Amanda Y., married 23 years

We've always put each other first. If you don't do that, especially with children in the picture, you're lost. Your top priority is him, and his top priority is you. If you get that right, everything else will be fine -- your children will be fine, your home will run well, and you'll both feel loved and important. --Carol S., married 40 years