We live in a world of contradictions: a continuos stream of “happily ever afters” as well as alarmingly high rates of divorce. So what makes a relationship work in this day and age? Five different couples come together to share their best relationship advice.
Don and Stella – married 18 years: Accept each other
This sounds clichéd, but accept each other for who you are. Trying to change someone after you are in a relationship is a mistake. No one likes to be corrected all the time and hearing it day in and day out from someone who is supposed to be in love with you can drag you down. Who would want to stay in a relationship like that? So what if he leaves the toilet seat up? Or she’s always 10 minutes late? Is that worth arguing with each other about? We resolve the little quirks and get on with it instead of bickering.
Steve and Cat – married 12 years: Keep dating
Many couples lose that warm fuzzy feeling when they get into a relationship because they stop having the same relationship they started with. When you date, you talk and get to know the other person. After you’ve been together for a while, why should you stop learning about your partner? Keep growing together. Share your experiences. We make it fun by doing it over dinner and also designating pillow talk time.
Brett and Sue – married for 22 years: Talk through conflict
Everyone has this picture in their mind of what they want their lives to be someday. When you make a commitment to be with someone, your plans need to connect with theirs. If you want two different things in life, there will be conflict. Having children, finances, careers – there’s a lot of life decisions that can cause conflict. Talk through these things and don’t leave it till it’s too late. Respect each other’s opinions and work towards compromise. And be honest for you and your partner’s sake.
Marc and Roweena – together for four, married for eight years: Respect
The most important thing in a relationship is respect. When you respect each other, you listen to each other, you look out for each other, you discuss instead of argue. There’s no ego games or belittling. We want the best for each other, and value what we have. Too many of our friends play the master or the slave. We look up to each other, and feel like equals.
Oli and Jo: married for 16 years: Be yourself
Too many people we know just aren’t their true selves for their partners. One friend gets up early to put concealer on her under-eye circles so she looks younger for her man when he wakes up. Another friend pretends she likes skiing when she really prefers beach holidays, just to keep her husband and in-laws happy. Imagine dating or being married to a fraud! Just be yourself.
What’s the best piece of relationship advice you’ve ever been given?