“Relationship Advice from People Who Have Been Married Way Longer Than You” originally appeared on Fatherly and was reprinted with permission.
When they’re not causing you to question the wisdom of letting people decide for themselves when to stop driving, old folks can often be found dispensing wisdom your young (relatively, anyway) ass can learn from. In no realm is this more true than relationships, where those unsteady drivers have steadily steered their own love boats for longer than you’ve been alive. So, curse at them from the passing lane if you must, but remember: you’re going to become one of them some day, and you can only hope you still have the love of your life sitting next to you when you do.
You never outgrow TMI.
“We have separate bathrooms. It’s not a luxury to have one place in the house that you don’t share. Forty five years of hearing your partner gurgle his way through the theme song to Bill Dance’s fishing show is guaranteed to start you off in a bad mood. There’s nothing romantic about watching your hubby dearest attack the hairs in his ears or yank out an offending nose hair. His scream is guaranteed to send chills down your spine, and put off your hunger for that yummy meal he’s cleaning up for.”
— Connie, married 44 years
Get the tricky stuff out of the way up front.
“You need to work out many different areas before you get married. I think you need to talk about money matters, I think you need to talk about child rearing, I think religion is important. I think sex takes care of itself, at least initially.”
— Gene, married 46 years
Choose your vacation spots carefully.
“Be good to each other; make sure you have food in your Frigidaire, because you do not want to be starved; make sure you help each other in every way financially, and travel. Go to as many places as you can together, but you gotta watch your husband, because on one of the trips in Italy, Kenny was flirting with one the ladies at the pool. She didn’t have a top on and he was standing over her like she was dead.”
– Selma, married 72 years
Remember it’s not about you.
“If you can’t learn to give more than you take, you’ll never make it.”
— Karl, married 54 years
Actually, you can go to bed angry.
“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, married 65 years
A note on interior decorating.
“Never hang wallpaper together.”
-Robert and Bernadine, married 61 years
Remember the division of labor.
“I let him be the boss for the first 50 years, now I get the next 50. It’s even.”
— Dee Dee, married 54 years
Don’t fight the fights.
“Argue. Argue lots, but always remember to get over it. ”
— Sally, married 75 years
The actual secret is marshmallows.
“We never discuss sensitive subjects when hungry or tired. And eat marshmallows to improve communication. What’s the one thing you can’t possibly do with a mouthful of marshmallows? Talk. Communication is more about listening than talking.”
— Steven, married 20 years
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