When I told my mother I was off to attend the 50th wedding anniversary celebrations for Den and Gloria her response was “…one of the rare marriages that have survived the 1960s.” That got me thinking, what makes a marriage last so long?
Den and Gloria
I asked Den and Gloria how they’ve kept their marriage happy, rather than just surviving it, for fifty years. Den told me “Both Gloria and I took our wedding vows seriously on our wedding day and every day since.” For Den and Gloria their Christian vows include the words “for better or worse, in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer, until death do us part.” Gloria agrees “our marriage is more than a certificate. We entered this marriage with an agreement that divorce would not be in our vocabulary. We made a commitment to deal with life together whatever the ‘for worse’ might be. Whether fun times or challenges we agreed to work together. We were young and naive, but we genuinely wanted a good marriage and still do.”
“I value my marriage above all else” says Den “it adds a quality to my life ahead of money, friends and work.” Gloria agrees “In each other we have friendship, encouragement and a sense of being understood and appreciated”. “And think of all the love” interjects Den, smiling “of course that includes erotic love, but also passionate love, sympathetic love, tenderness and nurturing love.”
Do you show your loved one how much she means for you? Do you celebrate your wedding anniversaries? These ideas for 50th anniversary gifts may come in handy for you!
Den is a retired engineer and Gloria is the home-maker, though since retirement Den does more chores around the house. “We’ve grown up together in our marriage. I can’t imagine life without Den in it, he knows me better than anyone else and I trust him completely. We can talk about anything.” says Gloria. Den nods “I agree. We also have the same sense of fun, laugh at the same things and enjoy each others company. I would say we’ve not got a good marriage, we’ve got a great marriage.”
I ask Gloria and Den for their top tips for newly weds who want a long-lasting happy marriage like theirs. I’ve summarised their top 5 below:
You’ve got to keep communicating, even if you’re tired, stressed or nervous about the response. Your spouse is not a mind reader. Say whats on your mind, but be considerate of your spouse’s feelings.
2. Learn how to argue with each other
Compromise is key. Talk through your difficulties to find a solution together. However, if one refuses to sway and it’s not so important to you, give way. It’s the ‘give and take’ of marriage. Don’t discuss sensitive subjects before dinner, eat first. However heated it gets both agree to end an argument without resentments.
3. Don’t stop flirting
Look the best you can and be the best you can be. Have fun and be silly – dance in the kitchen when your favourite songs come on and spend time with your grandchildren which allow you to be really daft. You like each other, so don’t hide that from others, be affectionate, hold hands in public. Be intimate, sex always makes you feel better.
4. Be generous
Let your spouse have the largest cookie or the warmest dinner. Make an effort with gifts for anniversaries and other celebrations. Give gifts as a token of appreciation and thanks outside of formal occasions. Be spontaneous so when you see something your spouse would like and you can afford it, purchase it. It’s not all about money, be generous with your time and your body as well.
5. Give each other space
Have a life together, but respect each others interests too. Support each to pursue their hobbies.
Be proud of each other’s achievements.
To celebrate your Golden Anniversary as happily as Den and Gloria, however many years away that is, it’s clearly important to be a team working to maintain a committed relationship of honesty, trust and selflessness. Work through problems and don’t brush them under the carpet to fester. Most important of all, keep a sense of humour, have fun and look out for each other.