In the year 2016, American people have the privilege of getting married because they want to get married, and for no other reason. No one is making us. Most of us don’t have to worry about what’s going to happen to our family fortune if we don’t have kids. So, it’s easy to understand why marriage rates are at their lowest in a century.
In terms of successful relationships, though, that’s kind of a great thing. If two people commit to building a life together simply because they want to, they have every reason to make that life a good one. And with the median age of marriage on the rise (estimated at a record high of 28.7 for men and 26.5 for women in 2011), it seems more and more likely that those people who do choose to marry are committed to choosing compatible partners. That probably has a lot to do with the fact that divorce rates are at their lowest since 1970.
In the spirit of building intentional relationships, and committing to a lifetime of love, here are 11 insights from couples who have been married for more than half a century. Talk about #relationshipgoals.
1. “Respect, support, and communicate with each other. Be faithful, honest, and true. Love each other with ALL of your heart.”
–Herbert and Zelmyra Fisher, married 86 years (in 2011).
2. “Respect, affection, and not sweating the small stuff.”
–Nicholas and Rafaela Ordaz, married 82 years.
3. “Be happy, consider each other’s feelings, and stay busy.”
–Edna and Harold Owings, married 82 years (in 2013).
4. “Marriage isn’t a lovey-dovey thing, y’know, for 80 years. You learn to accept one another’s way of life … Devote your time to understanding one another. Really, that’s the whole thing.”
–Ann and John Betar, married 81 years (in 2013).
5. “Argue. Argue lots but always remember to get over it.”
–Joseph and Sally Littlewood, married 75 years (in 2014).
6. “When you go to bed at night, it doesn’t matter how angry or sad you are, you don’t have to say anything but you always, always touch toes. Just a little reminder that I’m here and I still love you no matter what.”
–Jenny and Manny DaSilva, married 65 years (in 2014).
7. “We have no bosses in this family. You work together. It’s a hand-in-hand situation.”
–Herman and Lois Wells, married 64 years (in 2011).
8. “Do not hold grudges. Forget, forgive and remember how you fell in love in the first place.”
–Ummugul and Fikri Tatlici, married 62 years (in 2014).
9. “Never hang wallpaper together.”
–Robert and Bernadine Higgins, married 61 years (in 2014).
10. “It’s important for couples to maintain sense of vanity and take care of themselves as part of a happy marriage. It’s nice if you can stay in shape. Then you stay attractive to each other — and stay healthier.”
–Sherri and Charlie Sugarman, married 51 years (in 2015).
11. “If you want to make things work, you have to let things go.”
–Charlie and Joyce Walsh, married 50 years (in 2011).