Monday, February 8, 2010

What is the Secret to a Successful Marriage?

My grandparents have been married for almost 63 years.  They have weathered a lot in those years including the deaths of two of their three children. 

When you look at them, they seem solid.  Their union seems unbreakable, strong.  After being married for just a few short years, I know they have had to have their struggles.  I know I have struggled with the give and take of marriage, remembering that sometimes it is not about who is right or wrong, and that respect is a two way street.

My grandparents have lived such long lives and seen so much in those years.  They lived through events that I have only read about or seen on tv such as the Great Depression, WWII, the Civil Rights movement, the assassination of JFK, the first man on the moon, Vietnam, Elvis's gyrating hips, and The Beatles.  They don't own a DVD player or a computer and have never had cable tv.  They finally gave in about ten years ago and bought a microwave.

They are getting older having outlived so many of their friends and family who they grew up with and shared memories.  At times, you can see how fragile life is as they face more health crisises.  Yet, their bond is strong and they still stand beside each other and take care of each other.

A few years ago I recorded my grandparents oral history and printed it had it bound together.  I gave it to them, my cousins, my mom, and my sister at Christmas.  I wanted their stories to live on.  I had started the project while I was pregnant with my first child.  It took me almost a year to finish. 

When they were describing how they got married and marriage in general, one of the questions I asked was "what is the key to a successful marriage?"

My grandfather, who seemed to be the designated speaker during much of our sessions, replied with this answer:
  • Divide everything 50/50
  • Share and share alike
  • Be agreeable
  • Talk things over
Communication seems to be one of the most important things in a marriage.  I've lost track over the number of arguments that I have had with my husband that could have been avoided had we only communicated more effectively.  On more than one occasion, if we had communicated at all.

What do you think are the "keys" to a successful marriage?


Life with Kaishon said...

Awwwwwwwwwwwwwww. 64 years. That is a long time. I think communication is key, just like your Grandfather said! I would also so be humble and willing to say you are sorry because you will probably have to say it EVERY SINGLE DAY!

Miss. Ardeth Blood said...

I wish I knew. I'm not even able to keep a short relationship working.
But I believe you are right that communication is a main factor.

I came from SITS to say hi and have a great Monday.

Anita said...

This is such a lovely post. My parents are 85 and 82, and have been married 65 years, they have given my quite a model to emulate. I love the tips your grandfather gives.
My parents have all the techy things yours do not. My father likes to think he is cool...ha ha. I can't tell you how many times he's messed up the cable or computer.........but we love him and just help him along!
Thanks for stopping by my blog today!

Eternal Lizdom said...

A lovely post!

I think laughter is important. I know that my husband and I haev gotten through some fights and some tough times by being able to laugh at ourselves, our circumstances. Sometimes, all you can do is laugh!

I also believe it's important to make the other person a priority. I made a common mistake of putting my kids before my husband for a while. Thankfully, an innocent conversation brought this to light for us and we now both make efforts for each other and for demonstration to our kids that we, as adults, value each other and put each other as a high priority.

Susan said...

definitely communication in everything, and not being afraid to say something. if you start putting up a wall, it'll be hard to bring it down.

Tina Lane said...

Well, I have only been married for a short while. It seems to me you both have to be willing to let things go, pick your battles, and be gentle with one another.

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J. L. W. said...

I think laughter and picking your battles are definitely important to. I have been guilty of putting the kids before my husband and getting caught up in all of the things I need to do around the house. I didn't even realize I was doing it until he pointed it out. said...

I've always said that any two people who start with love can make it work, as long as BOTH people put 100% into the relationship and neither one EVER gives up! It's hard work, but worth it!!! :)

Ali said...

I think that good communication is one of the most if not THE most important parts of a marriage. I also think that you have to give a little. For example, my husband loves to play golf. If he played as much as he liked to, he would never be home. He has asked me to join him several times and I haven't (the thought of a half a day on 18 holes bores me to death). Your post has made me think. Next time maybe I will join him. Thanks!

Sharon said...

My response to this question is in my little book, "A Short Guide to a Happy Marrriage." -- come visit!

parenting ad absurdum said...

I agree 100% with the idea that the key is communication. I don't know how my husband and I would have survived once we had children if we weren't able to sit down and honestly discuss everything!


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