FEBRUARY BLOG SERIES: Love · guest writer · Love/Marriage

How to Happily Ever After [Guest Post by Michelle]

Hello Again! Welcome to another installment of the February LOVE series! I am very excited to share this post with you!

Michelle of Garden of Aquarius has compiled the advice from many people whose relationships have gone the distance and put it all in one neat, fun to read place for us!

I hope you enjoy this insightful, and informative read as much as I did! After you finish make sure to look Michelle up on her blog and social media and follow the rest of her work!

I love love.  I do, I love it.  I love receiving love, giving love, watching others love each other.  It’s the stuff that fairy tales are made of. Everyone loves a fairy tale especially when they live happily ever after.  

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My favorite movie is “Love Actually”.  The opening scene says everything. It’s about watching people reunite at Heathrow Airport.  It’s touching to watch the emotions of strangers with their loving greetings. It gets me going every time.  Beautiful. But it isn’t all hearts and flowers in that movie, there are dark times, tough situations, it is more like real life than Hollywood.

Love is actually science.  When you are in love, your brain bathes your entire body in feel-good hormones.  The feeling that dopamine, oxytocin, endorphins, and serotonin give you as they rush around making you excited, joyful, nervous.  These chemical reactions start in the brain despite us feeling the love in our hearts. That’s the scientific and not so sexy part but it sure does feel good.

“Love is all you need.” -John Lennon

Is John Lennon correct? Is love ALL you need?  How do you keep this feeling going year after year?  How do you make love last forever? These are all questions people wonder about.  Since there is no instruction manual about love, let’s ask the experts, shall we?

The following snippets of advice were given by couples in relationships for ten years or longer.

In this day and age, I consider them experts.

The question the couples were answering was, “What advice would you give to newlywed couples on how to stay together and have a happy relationship?”.  The responding couples have been married or together at least 10 years and as long as 47 years. Here are their answers!

The advice…

“Always communicate no matter what! As your relationship grows so will you individually. Try to take time for yourself. Never go to bed angry and always say I love you before you leave or say goodbye on the phone because you never know what could happen after that.” Together- 13 years

“I think many people get married for wrong reasons nowadays. First, be sure you truly are ‘compatible’ and don’t have any unresolved issues and expect things will get better once married. To the contrary, things will only get worse if started on shaky grounds. Respect and trust each other. Be friends. Encourage and motivate each other. Your spouse’s success is your success too. You’re a team not competitors. Communicate. Often and a lot. Men are not the best ‘mind readers’ and need things spelled out oftentimes so let them know your feelings. Selfishness is toxic in a marriage. Always give and take.

Be open minded and considerate of each other’s needs. Never stay mad or not talk to each other. Talk it out and learn to compromise. Never stop ‘dating’ each other. And the list could go on and on….” Together 18 years.

“My husband and I were married 34 years before he died. We were best friends, we made each other laugh and never went to bed mad at one another. We both survived cancer and used humor to get through it. We had a lot of common interests but he let me craft and I let him play golf! Keep the love alive even during rough times. So many young people give up too soon. Starting over does not mean there won’t be problems, just different ones. If both try, you can rekindle your love over and over.“ Together 34 years.

“We have been married 16.5 years. When I get aggravated with him, I ask myself if the issue will matter in 10 years, 20 years. If it won’t matter, drop the issue. And I evaluate whether I am happier with him or without him. It has worked pretty well. And we have been there for each other through some tough times.”  Together 16.5 years

“Marriage does not come with a manual, but with your commitment to each other, honor, love, respect, and having each other’s back whenever needed.”  Together 47 years

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47 yrs! Never go to bed mad! Having someone who is my best friend and the love of your life. And saying yes ma’am!”  The other half of the person directly above!

“One of the things we have done is not sweating the small stuff. No cat and mouse stuff on serious issues just cut to the meat of what is going on and handle it like adults. The resolution is much easier. Now that our kids are getting older we are getting our social life back more as well.”  Together 19 years

“We have 2 day dates per week and take turns planning the date….with a 2 1/2 yr old and 14 month old it is import to make our relationship a priority.” Together 10 years.

“It’s a very simple thing…but my lover gently pinches my butt every.single.day.”  Together 22 years.

“My husband and I participated in a newlywed study at UF when we got married 17 years ago. In every set of surveys, the thing we were most likely to be aggravated with each other about was housework. Two takeaways: 1) if we stopped to think about it, it’s not that big a deal. Now to stop and think about it when we are actually standing pissed off in front of a sink full of dishes… 2) if we have some extra funds, pay for help with housework. It will make the house run more smoothly and we’ll have more time to enjoy each other. So far so good!”  Together 17 years.

Once every few months, do a relationship “gut check.” This is where you sit down and have a heart to heart discussion about how you can improve your relationship. Ask questions like “are you happy?”, “is there anything I can improve on?” Be willing to hear negative comments about yourself and honestly work on things brought up. Be clear with boundaries! Discuss Expectations! Unspoken Expectations lead to hurt and resentment. No one is a mind reader! MEN: If you want to know the true status of your relationship, ask your wife! She could probably give you a list right off the bat like she’s been thinking about it for weeks because she probably has.” Together 16 years.

“26 years here and I’m still trying to sum this up. Sometimes I have to relate this idea with the entire human race and not just with a significant other. Get out of self so you can give selflessly not just to one, but to all.  It’s so hard when one doesn’t really understand what selfless is.” Together 26 years.

“Never give up. Give time, give space, give room, give energy, give love, give grace but never give up. You should wake up – even when your mad or hurt- and think, thank goodness I have this person by my side…when I die, this is the hand I want to hold.”  Together 13 years.

Marry your best friend.”  Together (this time) 20 years, married for 16, but we have known each other since I was 13 (like. 30 years ago!)

31 years and don’t plan on making a change – ever. You must have similar core values, Complimentary personalities to make you whole, Trust or it will never work, Never break your vows, Share the load based on your individual strengths, and understand it is NOT a 50/50 arrangement – it is 100% for both of you, Understand that you both will lose if you fight.”  Together 31 years.

I’ve been married for 18years and my advice is to know each other before you get married. Ask anything and everything you want to know. Be honest about what you want in your relationship. Listen to what your partner says, really listen. You can’t change who someone but you can grow together if you communicate. Try not to have kids right away because you need time as a couple before you introduce children to the mix (that one is just my opinion). If kids already exist then make sure you have really discussed what your child-rearing concepts and plans are. Don’t try to be perfect because perfect doesn’t exist.”  Together 18 years.

17 years here. No matter how you make the bed look for when the company might see it, in the day-to-day world each person has their own sheet and blanket.”  Together 17 years.

“Never stop flirting with each other and having date nights.”  Together 17 years.

“Weekly date nights for sure. It is our favorite day of the week. Making sure to keep the focus on the marriage even after children are born (don’t “use up” all of your love/energy on the kids …. reserve plenty for your partner!). Communication. Talk it out. Start by listening to be sure you understand. Then share how you feel. (not always easy to do!). We are still as in love as the day we met many many years ago.”  Together 16 years.

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“We have been together for 26 years and married for 23 this year in May. We lived together before we got married, and I think it was extremely important to get to know each other. I do think we combined our finances too early though. We were engaged for two years and spent a year planning our wedding to be just what we wanted. We had some major ups and downs.  We are now a much stronger family and couple.” Together 26 years.

“Any alone time to reconnect… date night, walk on the beach, weekend getaway, etc. married almost 13 years, together almost 15!”  Together 15 years.

“When Mama ain’t happy, Daddy gets flowers and wine…haha.”  Together 10+ years.

“Keep communication open. Reserve daily time to talk about your day. Be friends always! Flirt often! Do not be afraid to be ridiculous together and make sure your kids are watching! Go on dates! Never stop complimenting each other! Hold hands! Do not take each other for granted, we are not promised tomorrow. Support each other’s dreams and goals.”  Together 16 years.

In conclusion…

The resounding themes in the responses are communication, togetherness, separateness, and respect.  Talk, communicate, be open with your partner. Tell them your wants, needs, desires, thoughts. Listen with an open mind, not a mind that is preparing your response.  Do things together as a couple, without the kids to reconnect and rekindle. Keep dating your partner. Have your own interests and do things on your own, do not lose your identity in your identity as a couple.  Above all, respect and be a person that you would respect.

“You come to love not by finding the perfect person, but by seeing an imperfect person perfectly.” – Sam Keen

Find Michelle on Twitter, Instagram, and at her blog, Garden of Aquarius!

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