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Lessons From 60 Years of Marriage  

My parents celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary in the month of June. I sat them down and interviewed them about their life and their marriage. I asked what advice they had for couples who hadn’t yet been together for 60 years and thought I would share with you some of their responses.

First, remember the commitment. Both of them spoke of the commitment they had made to each other being important and staying focused on that commitment helping them through difficult times. They say there are times when you don’t feel very loving, and your spouse probably doesn’t either, but when you remember love is a commitment and stick to it, you will find that you get back to the place where you feel “lovey dovey” again. They recognize it isn’t the feelings of love that have kept them together for years, though I can attest to them having plenty of those, but more the commitment that has kept them together – and led to the feelings of love as well.

If there is a problem, sit down and work it out. They spoke of frustration and misunderstanding and a need to work on communication and sort issues out. You can’t just let things sit and fester. If there is a problem it needs to be addressed and resolved, or at least put to rest.

Listen to each other and try to understand each other. Again, they put an emphasis on communication and acknowledged that it takes work, and an open and understanding attitude, to understand each other. They even acknowledged that you may not always understand each other but it is important to try.

They also talked about the importance of compromise. You don’t always see eye to eye and they spoke of honoring what each of them wanted or valued at different times. It is important to approach the marriage as belonging to both of you. Neither is more important than the other.

Toward the end my father told a story of someone telling them, before they were married, that people think of marriage as a 50-50 proposition, but it is really 75-75. Mom jumped in at that point and said, “I think it is 100-100.” It worked for them. I think we can all learn a lesson from them.