The Secret To A Long-Lasting Marriage (It’s Not What You Think)

The Secret To A Long-Lasting Marriage (It’s Not What You Think) Shutterstock

Think a long-lasting marriage is all about candlelit dinners and romantic getaways? Think again.

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While those things are lovely, they’re not the secret sauce that keeps couples together through thick and thin. The real key to a lasting marriage lies in some less obvious, but equally important, factors. So, what’s the real secret? Here are some surprising truths that can help your love story stand the test of time.

1. Accept each other, flaws and all.

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Nobody’s perfect, and expecting perfection in your partner is a recipe for disappointment. Embrace your partner’s quirks, their little annoyances, even their snoring. Focus on their strengths and the unique qualities that make them who they are, Psychology Today suggests. Remember, you fell in love with them for a reason, and those imperfections are part of the package.

2. Be each other’s biggest cheerleader.

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Life can be tough, but having a supportive partner can make all the difference. Be there to celebrate your partner’s successes, big or small. Offer encouragement when they’re facing challenges. Remind them of their strengths and potential. Your unwavering support can help them overcome obstacles and achieve their dreams.

3. Never lose that spark of fun.

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Remember those early days of dating when you couldn’t wait to see each other and every moment felt like an adventure? Don’t let that playful spirit fade away. Keep the romance alive with spontaneous dates, silly inside jokes, and shared laughter. A little fun can go a long way in keeping the spark alive.

4. Know when to hold on and when to let go.

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Sometimes, the most loving thing you can do is to let go of the small stuff. Don’t sweat the little annoyances or get caught up in petty arguments. Pick your battles and focus on the bigger picture. Remember, a happy marriage is about compromise and understanding, not always being right.

5. Maintain your own individuality.

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Being in a couple doesn’t mean losing yourself. Maintain your own interests, hobbies, and friendships. Take time for yourself to recharge and pursue your passions. A healthy relationship allows for individual growth and independence, while also creating a strong bond as a couple.

6. Communicate openly and honestly, even when it’s tough.

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Communication is the cornerstone of any successful relationship. Talk to your partner openly and honestly about your thoughts, feelings, and concerns. Don’t bottle things up or let resentment fester. Be willing to listen to their perspective and find common ground. Remember, effective communication isn’t just about talking, it’s about truly hearing each other.

7. Show appreciation and gratitude for each other.

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Given how hectic life is and how comfortable we get in relationships, it’s easy to take our partners for granted. Make a conscious effort to express your appreciation for them. Thank them for the little things they do, compliment their strengths, and let them know how much they mean to you. A little gratitude can go a long way in creating a loving and supportive relationship.

8. Create shared goals and dreams.

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Working towards shared goals can bring you closer together and give your relationship a sense of purpose. Talk about your dreams and aspirations for the future. Plan adventures together, set financial goals, or even dream up a wacky business idea. Having shared aspirations can strengthen your bond and give you something to look forward to as a couple.

9. Know how to fight fair.

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Disagreements are inevitable in any relationship, but it’s how you handle them that matters. Avoid personal attacks, name-calling, or bringing up past issues. Focus on the present problem and try to understand your partner’s perspective. Be willing to compromise and find solutions that work for both of you. Remember, the goal is to resolve the conflict, not win the argument.

10. Never stop growing as individuals and as a couple.

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A long-lasting marriage is a journey of growth and evolution. Keep learning, exploring, and challenging yourselves. Try new hobbies together, attend workshops or classes, or simply have deep conversations about life and your aspirations. Embracing personal and shared growth can keep your relationship fresh and exciting.

11. Make time for intimacy, both physical and emotional.

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According to Verywell Mind, intimacy is the glue that binds couples together. Make time for physical affection, whether it’s cuddling on the couch, holding hands, or sharing passionate kisses. But don’t neglect emotional intimacy. Share your deepest thoughts and feelings with your partner, listen to their vulnerabilities, and offer support and encouragement. Nurturing both physical and emotional intimacy can deepen your connection and create a lasting bond.

12. Remember that love is a verb, not just a feeling.

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Love isn’t just a feeling that washes over you, it’s an active choice you make every day. It’s about choosing to prioritize your partner, choosing to put their needs before your own at times, choosing to forgive and move forward. Remember, love is a verb that requires action, effort, and commitment. It’s not always easy, but it’s always worth it.

13. Create a safe space where you can both be yourselves.

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A healthy marriage is a sanctuary, a place where you can both be your true selves without fear of judgment or criticism. Create a space where you can both be vulnerable, express your emotions freely, and feel loved and accepted for who you are. This safe haven can encourage deep trust, intimacy, and a lasting bond.

14. Celebrate your love and commitment.

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Don’t forget to celebrate your love and commitment to each other. Mark your anniversaries, create special traditions, or simply surprise each other with small gestures of affection. Take time to reflect on how far you’ve come as a couple and express your gratitude for each other’s presence in your lives. Celebrating your love can reinforce your bond and remind you of the beautiful journey you’re on together.

Harper Stanley graduated from Eugene Lang College at The New School in NYC in 2006 with a degree in Media Studies and Literature and Critical Analysis. After graduating, she worked as an editorial assistant at The Atlantic before moving to the UK to work for the London Review of Books.

When she's not waxing poetic about literature, she's writing articles about dating, relationships, and other women's lifestyle topics to help make their lives better. While shocking, she really has somehow managed to avoid joining any social media apps — a fact she's slightly smug about.