It was a lazy Monday, most commuters craned their neck downwards while browsing through endless webpages on their mobile phones, and some dozed off. The train ride back home from my college campus was just like any mundane weekday.
Just then, a faint voice emerged from the stillness, and as I traced my attention towards the sound, I saw an old couple. Sitting diagonally across me was a lady in her floral cashmere dress, smiling fondly at her husband while they talk about their day out. It was such a rare sight among the “lifeless” commuters that I couldn’t help but eavesdrop their conversation.
It went a little something like this:
Lady: “That was such a hilarious movie, isn’t it? I almost laughed my dentures off.”
Man: “What? You’re exaggerating, but I think it’s funny too. What was your favourite part?”
Lady: “It’s definitely the scene where Hugo popped a champgne bottle and the cork darted across the room.”
It was a simple but hearty conversation, and I thought to myself, “How cute is that? To be in love, even after years of being together.”
Falling in love is a beautiful experience, but maintaining a healthy and long-lasting relationship with your partner takes a great deal of work.
We often see our grandparents very much in love. Back in those days where Tinder and messaging platforms weren’t a thing, what was the secret sauce that kept their love alive?
I’ve compiled some of my favourite pieces of relationship advice from videos and websites where older couples were interviewed.
If You Must Talk, Talk to Your Partner
“We always talk about what’s bothering us with each other, not [with] anyone else! We have so many friends who are in marriages that are not working well, and they tell me all about what is wrong. I can’t help them–they need to be talking to their spouse about [it]. If you can figure out a way to be able to always talk with your spouse about what’s bugging you then you can work on the issue.”
Whenever something bothers you in the relationship, say it out loud to your partner. Even if it’s a hard truth that might hurt your partner. Confiding in your other half builds connection, trust, and intimacy.
If you don’t do it, no one’s going to save your relationship except the both of you. Advice from a family or a friend can be helpful, but take it with a pinch of salt and never remedy your relationship problems with it because they don’t know understand your relationship as well as you do.
Building trust through difficult conversations reveals vulnerability and shows that you and your partner can count on each other because there’s nothing to hide. If you can’t trust your partner, then there’s no point being in a relationship.
A Relationship Is About Two People
“You cannot be selfish when it comes to loving someone.”
In sickness and in health, through the dark and happy times. Learn and understand each other every day. When your partner is busy, help them with the house chores. If they’re sick, help them with their medications. Before heading to work together, brew a cup of their favourite coffee just because.
You and Your Partner Aren’t Perfect
“The truth is, we’re not similar, but we’re willing to co-exist.”
After a while, relationships will pass the honeymoon phase and aren’t always lovey-dovey. After being with your other half for long enough, you’ll come to see this person for who he is or who she is. You have to learn how to compromise and accept their quirks just as they do with yours.
Love Is a Long-Term Commitment
“Passion is sudden, and love is constant.”
It’s not about the grand sweeping gestures nor the sparkle in your eyes when you first fall in love with them. It’s about the small things you do to show your partner that you care.
Ask Yourself Important Questions
“When it comes to love, be a little old fashioned”
When choosing your lifetime partner, ask questions like: “Is this person likely a good provider?”, “Are they going to be a good parent”, or “Can they manage finances well?”. Remember, these questions are essential because you’re going to spend a long time with this person.
Don’t Break Up Over Arguments
“The both of you may argue, but after a while, you start speaking again. Just because you have an argument, you don’t just break up, because you get over it. You get on living your life together.”
The romance you see in Hollywood movies isn’t real. A perfect relationship doesn’t exist. There will be fights and tears, horrible words, scared and uncertain times as much as goofy, sweet moments that no one shares but the two of you.
If you disagree with your partner, don’t let it last a long time, learn how to give and take. It’s not you versus your partner, but together as a team versus the problem at hand. Be patient with each other and persevere.
Be With Someone Who’s Right For You
“When you meet someone you feel is right for you, then accept that, but don’t rush into it. Give yourself time to make sure it’s right. Because if it wrong, it’s not going to last.”
Having a lot of chemistry with another person doesn’t necessarily mean they’re the right one for you. Don’t get rush into a relationship because you’re scared of being alone, or feeling like a loser because your friends are in great relationships.
There’s nothing scarier than getting into a relationship that you’re not confident in. Take the time to fall in love.
Personal Space in Relationships Is Important
“I’d say a vital ingredient for us for a happy marriage has been each of us respecting their partner pursuing their own interests, including having their own friends, while also having friends in common with your partner. Some couples seem to be stuck together with crazy glue, and while I understand why, I could not live this way myself.”
Your partner is part of your world, not your everything. It sounds counterintuitive to give your partner freedom, but the fear of doing so spells out mistrust and insecurity.
Imagine if the situation was reversed, and your partner is the one who’s glued to you 24/7 and say you decided to go on a night out with your friends, but your partner insists that he/she must be there, or else you couldn’t leave the house. How would you feel? It makes you want to steer away from them, right?
We should be comfortable enough to let our partners be who they are while maintaining a life of our own. You don’t own your partner because a relationship is two people with different lives coming together to share joy.
Thank you for reading!