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6 Pearls of Wisdom for a Lasting Marriage

With the divorce rate for 1st marriages in the U.S. estimated somewhere between 40 - 50%, many have begun to question the institution of marriage. It's easy to lose faith in a marriage, and our society seems to have evolved to the point that if it seems too difficult, it's perfectly okay to give up and quit.

There are couples, however, that have stayed married for 50 years or longer. I wondered, were all those years happy? How did they stay married so long? Why didn't they divorce? Might they be on to something? I combed their stories for pearls of wisdom about how to make a marriage last and would like to share it with you in this week's blog post.

Model the phrase "for better or for worse".
Many of the couples said that divorce was never an option, though they all seemed to have ups and downs in their marriage. Some cited moments of wanting to flee, but their attitude and determination to keep the marriage alive never wavered. One couple said as their marriage evolved, there was a realization that something "strong and reassuring was being established."

A sense of humor is a must.
Pretty much all of the couples talked about what happened when they had a disagreement, or something went wrong. Many cited laughter as the best anecdote for problems. Little disagreements need not be blown up into big disagreements, and many times, they said, they chose to chuckle over the situation rather than chastise their spouse for what happened.

Be flexible and willing to make changes.
Many things and events impact a marriage over the years: children, careers, and health, just to name a few. One couple said the key to surviving all the changes, both planned and unplanned, was the ability to adapt to the change. And, they wisely said that the formula changes over the years. What worked early on in the marriage may not work later in the marriage. These couples were able to recognize that and make changes accordingly.

Lean on each individual's strengths and weaknesses.
Marriage is often talked about as a partnership, or a team. A winning team is often seen capitalizing on each member's strengths, and that's exactly what some of these couples did. They pooled talents and skills, likes and dislikes, and found they were able to do almost anything they set their mind to with this approach.

Love yourself, so you can love others.
Relationship experts and these couples agree that a healthy self-love, self-respect, and contentment with oneself is a requirement for one to be able to navigate a lasting marriage based on like, love, and respect for one's spouse. Along with this, some couples cited separate interests as one of the keys to their marriage. Cultivating mutual and individual interests keeps marriages lively and interesting. Being "tied at the hip" is not essential, and can be detrimental for some relationships.

Forgive and forget.
Ah yes, the familiar adage "forgive and forget". So hard for many, yet so beneficial according to these couples. Navigating fights and disagreements was a critical element in these couple's marriages. Learning how to 'fight' constructively may be one of the hardest things to master, but according to these couples it was key for them to be able to argue, get it out on the table and negotiate it, and then let go of it. Additionally, the couples used compromise and communication, as well as patience and understanding to restore harmony to their marriage. Ultimately, the marital bond became more meaningful, sacred and rewarding.

I hope you enjoyed these pearls of wisdom and maybe found some things to apply in your marriage!

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