The recent death of singer Eydie Gorme at age 84 brought to light her long-lasting marriage (55 years) to fellow musical star Steve Lawrence. They’re one of a handful of couples – both celebrities (count the late Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward among them) and regular folk – whose long and happy marriages (50 years and more) not only teach valuable lessons, but also give the rest of us hope.
Interviews with happily married couples across the country reveal common threads, as far as how their actions and attitudes contribute to their wedded bliss. What’s more, their message applies not just to marriage but also to relationships with friends, family, and society at large. Here is what they advise.
Be considerate. Many happy couples say that kindness is the key to success. Putting the other person’s needs before your own, tolerating one another’s quirks and idiosyncrasies, knowing and respecting each other’s preferences, letting minor irritations simply slide by (instead of making mountains out of molehills), saying please and thank you even for the littlest favors. Now, these may seem minor things but, done in the course of a lifetime, all add up to major harmony.
Do things together. It’s great – and healthy – for couples to have their own set of friends, their own activities, and even time apart from each other. These just make a relationship more lively and interesting. But it’s also critical to have commonalities, to spend time and do things together. Not for nothing do people talk about “building a life together.” And this is especially important when the kids have left the nest and it’s just you and your spouse asking each other, ‘What do you want to do today?” Set little goals (even if it’s as open-ended as “to take time-out to have fun”) and work together with your spouse to achieve them.
Show your love. Yes, you may feel it but how do you show it? Remember, it’s all in the details of everyday life. Guys, be sure to put birthdays, anniversaries and other significant dates into your smart phone/desktop calendar. Women, be sure to keep the pantry stocked with his favorite snacks and update him on important messages and happenings. In short, it’s up to both of you to try your best to create a system that will allow you to remember the big and the little details of life.
As time passes and the excitement of those first years together dissipate, it’s important to remind each other of why you got together in the first place. Doing little things to show you care makes an abstract emotion such as love very real indeed! (And by the way, it’s almost always a good time to hold hands and/or say I love you!)
Learn to adapt. Couples are often advised to adjust to each other and to make compromises. After all, they say, you cannot change your spouse. But guess what? Spouses may change as they go through life! Their needs, priorities and what they want from their relationships may be different now than 30 to 40 years ago. Your ability to adjust to your current situation, instead of resenting or regretting it, will help ensure that your relationship can withstand the test of time.
Forgive and forget. No one’s perfect. Not you or your partner. Marriages will be tested. Strained. And let’s not kid each other – some will break and some will grow stronger. Is the capacity to forgive and forget a sign of weakness? Or an indication of someone smart enough to realize that he or she has something worth saving and preserving?
As we mentioned previously, most people aim for harmony in friendships, relationships, and day-to-day contact with the rest of the world. There’s a great product that, by its very nature, helps achieve amity, goodwill, and meeting of minds. Today, millions of smokers have turned to electronic cigarettes. This smokeless, odorless, and ash-less alternative to traditional cigarettes lets you enjoy an authentic smoking experience without offending or annoying people…filling your surroundings with unpleasant odor…or messing up the environment. A great idea for achieving long-lasting harmony!