I asked my husband the other day what makes a successful marriage. He said, "Communication is key."
After a long pause and a sly belly laugh, he continued and said, "And, my wife is always right."
Yes, I am married to a man who thinks he is a part-time comedian, but laughter is also the key to any marriage.
For example, SELF Magazine recently listed the "21 Best Pieces of Marriage Advice" by long-time couples. One of the pieces of advice is to make laughter the soundtrack of your marriage.
Laughter has solidified our marriage, especially after one of us makes a silly financial mistake or a household error.
Some other advice in the SELF Magazine feature includes:
• Remembering that marriage isn’t 50/50. Marriage has to be 100/100 and both partners have to give everything they’ve got.
• Give your best to each other, not your leftovers after you’ve given your best to everyone else.
• Surround yourself with friends who will strengthen your marriage.
• In arguments, remember that there won’t be a "winner" and a "loser." Work together to find a solution.
• Learn from other people, but don’t feel the need to compare your life or your marriage to anyone else’s.
• Don’t put your marriage on hold while you’re raising your kids. That could result in empty nest and an empty marriage.
I recently asked Delia Vallejo of Andover, Massachusetts why her marriage is strong. Vallejo has been married for over 10 years, moved several times across the country and has two amazing children.
She said, "The key to our marriage is unconditional support and knowing that we have each other’s back."
Kids, moving and careers can put pressure on any marriage, yet Vallejo has one of the strongest marriages I have witnessed over the years. They roll with the punches and will ultimately celebrate many anniversaries together. Vallejo and her husband also have similar core beliefs.
In a CBS Morning television interview, Karl Pillemer, professor of human development at Cornell University, and author of the book "30 Lessons for Loving," said his research revealed that successful long-time marriages are the result of similar core values between husband and wife.
Pillemer’s book is based on interviews with 700 seniors who averaged 43 years of marriage. The interviews reveal how to find everlasting love and the secrets to picking the right partner.
These include the following recommendations:
• Look for warning signs. If nobody likes your partner, you need take a good hard look at your relationship.
• Carve out time for your relationship, especially during the middle-age blur of having kids and a career.
• In regards to marriage conflict, pick the right time to address the issues. If your partner isn’t a morning person, talk to them about the issues in the evening.
• Intimacy is extremely important. As one person interviewed said, "Intimacy is a tasty side dish and for recreation not procreation."
Marriage, with love, is part of life that grows and expands.
Reviewed February 23, 2016
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith
"Secrets to a Successful Marriage from 700 Retirees." CBSNews. CBS Interactive. Web. 21 Feb. 2016.
YourTango. "The 21 Best Pieces Of Marriage Advice, According To Longtime Couples." Web. 21 Feb. 2016.
"The Secret to a Long-lasting Marriage." Washington Post. The Washington Post, Web. 21 Feb. 2016.
"How to Find Lifetime Love: 10 Secrets from Couples Married for Decades." TODAY.com. Web. 21 Feb. 2016.