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