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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Couples Married 50 Years or Longer Give Advice

Married 68 years

Secrets to a Long Marriage

Going directly to the experts, long time married couples, makes sense to researchers like sociology professor, Todd Migliaccio, California State University, Sacramento. He has interviewed and taped dozens of couples in long marriages including my husband and me. More than 100 couples contributed to "Married for Life", Honor Books by Bill Morelan, one of the sources I used. I have been sharing some of these experts' advice in my most recent blogs.

Interestingly, "spending time together" in one form or another was recommended more often than any other advice. A close second was commitment to the marriage. One person put it uniquely, "Never consider getting unmarried as an option."

Many other responses were repeated in different ways. These experts on love advised couples to  realize neither of you are perfect; practice cooperation, follow the Golden Rule, try to see each other's point of view, but agree to disagree sometimes. I tell my clients, "Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. If you focus on the strengths you will have twice as many together, If you focus on the weaknesses, you will have twice as many weaknesses. Which you focus on will determine how strong a marriage you can create."

Becoming lifetime soul mates is a unique rewarding adventure. If you remember the story , "The Velveteen Rabbit" by Margery Williams, you will remember the discussion between Rabbit and Skin Horse  about what is real. Rabbit asks if it happens all at once or bit by bit. Skin Horse tells Rabbit it doesn't happen all at once. It happens when you have been loved over a period of time, but "it doesn't happen to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept." In other words, you must learn how to let go of defenses.

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