It comes as a surprise, mostly to me, that I will soon be celebrating my 30 year anniversary with my husband. While we’ve only been married for five, the story of “us” started long before. 30 years! I hardly feel old enough to say that I’ve spent that much time doing any one thing – let alone be in a committed relationship for that long. But here I am.
So what are the things one needs to know to have a “successful” relationship? And I qualify my relationship as “successful” because, well, I still want to be here. I still think it’s worth working for. I still enjoy being with my husband.
I think the most important thing to know about long-term successful relationships: it’s a slog! A real hard slog. (I asked for permission to say this). You have to show up, not just for yourself, but for your partner, for the couple. It’s hard. There will be times when you think “what the hell am I doing here – still??”, and there will be times when the comfort and security of your home base are what carry you (both) through a tough time.
Life throws a lot of punches. It can also be a wonderful, love filled, exciting time. In truth it’s a bit of all of that. None of us get away without adversity or suffering. None of us get away with not feeling sad, lonely, wanting … we also get to feel happy, loved, secure.
How will you allow yourself to be authentic with your partner? How will you find a way to communicate what is going on with/inside you without using blame or criticism? How will you listen? How will you carry your partner around on the inside? How will you let them know they are cherished? How will you maintain respect even when you are angry or lonely or hurt? How will you remember to share and to give of yourself, to let them into your world – whether you are happy or struggling?
Another important factor in long-term relationships is keeping a part of you for you. While the couple certainly needs shared interests, you also need to be your own person and to nurture and cherish that as well. You’ll need resources (your own friends) to vent to when times get hard, and interests to report back with to keep things, well, interesting.
And finally, you have to remember to have fun, together, to play, and to remain playful. That’s key.
So much to think about, lots of work to do. All so very worth it. 🙂
Happy Anniversary Honey.
Peace to you.