When I first came up with the idea for this story, I grossly underestimated how difficult it would be to find couples who have been married for over 40 years to get their best marriage advice. I started asking around in my circle of friends (in the hope their parents might qualify) and was quickly reminded that the statistics were not going to speak for that long unions.
This means that the people listed below belong to the very special percentage of women who make love work for the long term. I don’t know if I’ve ever enjoyed working on a story more or if I was more inspired by the wisdom and advice.
No matter how long you’ve been with your partner (or if you’re like me and still looking for that special person), the ideas below are sure to inspire you. Happy Valentines Day!
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Selia Salgado, married to Albert Salgado for 48 years and counts:
“First you have to be friends and trust one another. Heard too each other. You have to keep talking. It won’t always be sweet and sugary. There will be bumps along the line. You need to feel that there is trust in trusting one another – both the good and the bad.
We have been married for almost 50 years. It seems like we’re almost the same now. What I like, he likes and vice versa. We grew together to be … almost the same. As God says. “
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Evelyn Gor, married to Henry Gor for 45 years and counts:
“In our marriage there is love … love for God … love for one another … love for family and love for friends. 45 years of marriage have taught us to communicate with one another. Believe me, it’s not easy, but that’s what kept our marriage going – communication. Grandchildren are a bonus in our lives these days! “
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Nancy Jackson, married to Craig Jackson for 49 years and counts:
“My husband Craig and I will be married for 50 years in September. With the exception of our children and grandchildren, I am particularly proud of our anniversary! There are so many things that can help a marriage, but the main thing is that it works! And then to realize that it will take a lot of work and that life is not perfect (and neither is marriage).
1. Marry your best friend.
2. Always look for the good in your spouse.
3. Don’t compare your relationship with others.
4. Always put your spouse first and tell them how much you appreciate them.
5. Don’t have high expectations and know that there will be bad things as well as good things. “
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Jennifer Cumberbatch, married to Ashton Cumberbatch for 38 years and counts:
“We first met at Brown University and got married in 1979. We’re not quite at the 40-year mark yet, but we’re on the way. We learned that the sweet things we do for one another outlast the effects of the harassment. You are building a memorial to what the other person has done to demonstrate their love over the years and even during the times when you get upset about him / her you find that it exceeds the harassment, and it is the means by which you pardon transgressions. “
5 out of 10
Bonita Speer, married to Clay Speer for 50 years and counts:
“We both have the feeling that we don’t have a great secret of success. We believe it’s about respect, not taking each other for granted, being friendly to one another … and you don’t always have to say everything you think! “
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Diane Smith, married to Mark Smith for 42 years, and counts:
“I entered marriage with love, but also with a careful decision to be together for a lifetime. To believe that a family that prays together stays together. Knowing that no one is perfect to keep a heart of patience Understanding, forgiveness and most of all love.
Here are some tips that helped me:
1. Try to put your partner’s feelings before yours.
2. Maintain good communication. Don’t just guess that you know what they’re thinking.
3. Have common projects and interests, but keep your own projects and interests.
4. Tell each other that you love each other every day.
5. Be patient and never shout.
6. NEVER go to bed angry or crazy.
7. Maintain a good sense of humor.
It takes work to keep a good marriage going. Remember that in the end it is worth every minute! It’s nice to have your love and boyfriend by your side as you get older together. “
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Anne Marguerite Baird, married to Mote Baird for 49 years and counts:
“Mote Baird and I will celebrate our 49th wedding anniversary on February 15, 2018. This is a photo from our wedding anniversary on February 15, 1969. We look very young and very happy. We had no idea what the future would be like, but we looked forward to starting our journey together. We had a wonderful, challenging, adventurous marriage, and while I think each couple’s formula for a long, happy marriage is unique, there are certain characteristics that stand out for us.
I saw Mote for the first time when we were in 8th grade and both were only 13 years old. I liked him right away and thought he was cute. We dated in high school, split up for a while to date others, and then reconnected our junior year in high school. Mote first asked me to marry him when we were 16 years old and I said yes. We were married three years later when I was 19 and he was 20 during our sophomore year.
When we look at our wedding photos, we look very young and vulnerable, and our parents must have been afraid of us, but to their credit, they did not show or voice their concern. We were not aware of the dangers lurking in the shadows. We only knew that we were in love and that together we could face any challenge or misfortune. 49 years later we still have the same attitude.
What is our secret
It is very helpful when a couple really loves each other. It makes everything easier, including forgiveness, empathy, and encouragement. We have weathered some storms that could have torn apart a marriage that was not based on a deep and constant love for one another.
We share a sense of humor that enables us to laugh at the absurdities of life, even if it means laughing at ourselves.
We respect each other and what everyone does to make this union work. When I see couples in trouble, there is often not much mutual respect.
We share values that we learned from our parents early on, and our shared history and experience help us express and understand each other’s concerns and viewpoints.
Before our wedding, one of Mote’s well-meaning brothers put his arm around Mote’s shoulder and told him to reconsider the impending marriage, that it could never last, that we are too young and that the ups and downs of life would inevitably wear us down apart. Fortunately, that warning was completely wrong and all the ups and downs in life have strengthened, not weakened, our marriage.
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Barbara Jones, married for 44 years and counts:
“Divorce was never in our vocabulary. Out of love, respect and sheer determination, we just stayed there! We have all changed and grown and now we are happily satisfied. “
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Jan Elder, married to Jack Elder for 40 years and counts:
Choose someone you have a lot in common with. Jack and I have always had so much in common … he’s a doctor and I’m a nurse and help people in the orthopedic field together. We love everything outdoors. Jogging, skiing, golf, sailing, boating, horses and all kinds of guns. Above all, we are best friends who have been married very quickly for 40 years! I also forgot to mention beach vacations and gourmet dining … maybe there aren’t a lot of things we DO NOT like. No wonder the 40 years have passed! Oh! I forgot road rods and dirt bikes! “
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Gail Powell, married to Rick Powell for 43 years, counts:
“We were only together six weeks before we were engaged and were engaged two months before we got married. It was love at first sight.
A long and healthy marriage is multifaceted. A key factor is engagement. Get married with the idea that it is forever, then strive every day to make it a reality! “
This post was originally published on February 14, 2020 and has been updated since then.