21 Marriage Lessons From My Still-in-Love 80-Year-Old Grandparents
It always makes me smile when I see an older couple walking hand in hand, still in love after so many years together. "That's so sweet," I usually whisper to myself while also wondering about their story. How did their relationship begin? What has their love sustained? What were they like as a couple in their younger years? How did they make it this far? Luckily, I have such a couple to ask these very questions to: my grandparents.
The legacy they've built through their commitment to each other during the ups and downs of life is admirable. And there's a lot to learn from couples who made their marriage vows at a time when giving up wasn't as common. I've watched my grandparents over the years and have so much love and respect for their bond. Even when things got hard and splitting up seemed inevitable, they always rallied as a couple and made it through. Here are the lessons I've learned from observing their relationship over the years and asking their advice.
Don't Let Little Things Go Unnoticed
Don't take each other's efforts for granted, and be thankful for even small sacrifices.
No one is a mind reader. If you need something, if you don't like something, and even if you love something, talk about it! Set aside time every day just to talk and connect.
Agree to Disagree
Although you're one in marriage, you are still two unique individuals. Don't be afraid to voice your opinion and disagree, but always respect each other's views and traditions. When you can't agree on something, don't fight to change each other's points of view.
Listen to Hear, Not Respond
Too often, we only listen to respond and are busy thinking about what we want to say next instead of really absorbing what the other person is telling us. When your partner talks to you, really listen. You don't always need to have an answer, but you should always have ears that provide each other support.
Get Good at Forgiving
Mistakes are an inevitable part of being human, so get good at forgiving one another when mistakes are made. Let the small things go, and know which battles are actually worth fighting. Get over things so you'll get through them.
Speaking of mistakes, when you make one, ditch the excuses and admit you're wrong. Your spouse will most likely respect you more if you're accountable for what you've done.
Never Keep Score
You're on the same team. Some days, you'll give more, and others, you'll get more. Lose the score card, and just keep playing your best game.
Love Despite, Not Because
We all have imperfections. If you focus on each others' blemishes, they'll continue to drive you nuts. Find something, anything, to love about your spouse's imperfections, and you'll learn to love them despite.
Never Go to Bed Angry
You'll have so many disagreements throughout life that you'll lose count. Before you call it a night, make up from whatever argument you had that day. Sleep it off, and start fresh in the morning.
TMI Still Holds Weight
Don't live like roommates, live like lovers. There should still be some things you keep to yourself. It's a great way to maintain that sense of awe with one another.
Schedule regular dates into your calendar each week or month. Make dating a priority just like you did in the beginning of your relationship. It's a great way to keep the spark alive.
It's easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life. Set a time where you turn off communication from work and other outside commitments. Be present with each other.
Let Yourself Bend, but Don't Break
No one gets out of life without some sort of battle scar. It's not a crime to get knocked down in life, but it's a sin to not get back up. Give yourself time to recover from the tough stuff, but don't let it destroy you. Lean on each other.
Treat Problems Like Symptoms of an Illness, and Work Together to Find a Cure
Sometimes life problems need a little extra TLC. Tackle them as a team. Just as a doctor won't give up on their patients, keep trying new treatments until you find the cure.
Overuse "I Love You"
Whether you're happy, mad, sad, or tired, let your spouse know how you feel about them. "I love you" is one of those things you can't overdo. Use it often, and mean it.
Laugh It Off
Keep a sense of humor, and find the comic relief even in the difficult moments of life. Laugh a lot!
Always Kiss Each Other Goodnight
Life can change in an instant. Even if your spouse falls asleep before you get into bed, never find a reason to not kiss them goodnight.
Life Is an Adventure, So Have Fun at Every Age
Life's mundane responsibilities can weigh heavily on your shoulders sometimes, but no matter how old you get, you should always have fun together. Whether you go for a long drive while listening to your favorite music or take a spontaneous trip together, make letting loose a priority.
You're Never Too Old to Cuddle
Hold hands. Embrace each other often. Be affectionate as much as you can, no matter how long you've been together.
Invest in a Set of Rocking Chairs
Rocking together is a great way to reminisce and reflect. You can enjoy peaceful moments with one another when you've got a great set of rocking chairs.
Know That the Days Are Long, but the Years Are Short
The saying "life is short" encourages people to live each day like it's your last. You never know when you time will be up. But, life is also long. Remember, even when challenges seem too difficult to overcome, this too shall pass.