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What makes a good and lasting marriage/relationshi p?

(27 Posts)
kittylester Tue 14-Feb-12 14:12:34

Following on from the Valentine's thread, and the item on 'Breakfast' this morning, what do you think makes a good, lasting marriage/relationship work? I know we've had a thread like this before but today seems like a good time to revisit it. And, we do seem to have lots of new postees lately.

susiecb Tue 14-Feb-12 14:34:55

we have been married 37 years and I suppose we do both put each others welfare first, plus all the compromises you have to make. We make each other laugh and we are best friends. We drive each other mad and don't like spending even one night away from each other. The other thing still works very well as well and thats very important. Have a lovely day everyone - Shepherds Pie and bottle of Prosecco and a cuddle tonight I thinksmile

absentgrana Tue 14-Feb-12 14:51:23

Lasting love, growing knowledge, increasing kindness, endless companionship, developing understanding and, in my case, Mr absent.

Elegran Tue 14-Feb-12 15:44:46

Remembering that there are three people in every marriage. When you meet there are are only you and me but as you become an item another personality develops, made by the fusion of the two. If any of the three identities comes to dominate the others, to the extent that they are stifled, discord will set in.

artygran Tue 14-Feb-12 16:06:27

susiecb I can't add a single word to that! We have notched up 45 years for all those very reasons!

FlicketyB Tue 14-Feb-12 16:24:38

Being good friends first and foremost, and I always feel you should be able to name at least four irritating habits your future partner has before you marry them, in other words being madly in love and considering your partner perfect in every way is a recipe for disaster. You are not perfect and neither are they, realise that from the start and acceptance is much easier. I am very tidy, my husband is not, to name but one area of contention, but we knew that before we married. We have been married 44 years and like most marriages we have had our ups and downs but what always got us through was that we really enjoy each othe'sr company and have enough shared and divergent interests never to lack something to talk about - and the rest.

numberplease Tue 14-Feb-12 17:27:30

I don`t have a clue, we`ve been married 49 years come July, and we`re still fighting the Battle Royal!

greenmossgiel Tue 14-Feb-12 17:32:14

numberplease - grin

Anne58 Tue 14-Feb-12 17:38:05

I think that respect is a key factor.

expatmaggie Tue 14-Feb-12 19:48:34

Lots of space for each to develop and generosity of heart and mind. Let the other go and do your own things and then talk about it afterwards. Keep talking, keep the other in the picture. It helps if you find the same things funny and if you are serious about the same things e.g. child care and discipline.
Money: Add up all debts and expenses and if there is any left, share it! 50/50

redblue Wed 15-Feb-12 10:44:41

i am watching this thread and will try to put into practise some of the suggestions!

Mishap Wed 15-Feb-12 11:10:56

Tolerance is what is needed. I live with a man who suffers from serious anxiety symptoms (as well as PD) which can drive one round the bend! - today in particular!
But you have to grit your teeth and grin and bear it and try not to get sucked in.

I respect the man underneath the symptoms - but it does require a fair degree of patience, which I cannot always muster.

kittylester Wed 15-Feb-12 11:46:31

Mishap patience is sometimes very hard to come by in lots of situations isn't it? It must be very difficult to summon it up on a regular basis - take some time for yourself if you can. brew

Carol Wed 15-Feb-12 12:18:39

I ran out of patience after 15 years of running the same old script with an over-anxious man who preferred not to participate in family activities, and would rather work overtime when his children were poorly with childhood illnesses like mumps and whooping cough, than lend a hand (I was taking the stairs three at a time when one segregated twin was coughing and heaving, bringing up her milk, whilst the other twin was on the other side of the house so she didn't also get the whooping cough). Men who don't feel the need to get on with it will find they lose the respect of their spouse in the end, no matter how many times the woman puts in that effort to maintain their relationship. If just once in all those years he had noticed the toll his lack of interest was taking on me, I might have stuck it out even longer. Wouldn't do that now - you wouldn't have seen me for dust! patient and tolerant for long enough, then if he doesn't get it, don't feel it all hangs on you - it takes two to make a good relationship.

goldengirl Wed 15-Feb-12 19:17:06

Your own space. Even though you are married to someone you are still a person in your own right with your own interests as well as shared ones. We're still jogging along after 41 years and many people thought it would never last 4 months as we are so different but we complement each other in lots of ways although of course we also drive each other mad at times grin

Glammy Thu 16-Feb-12 10:58:38

I agree with most of the messages posted, but also feel that a new (for us) absolute super-glue is beautiful granddaughter. We are both so besotted that it is a new dimension that we didn't anticipate! Brilliant 38 years this month.

Hunt Thu 16-Feb-12 23:25:07

I think it is quite a good idea to have at least one interest in common. With us it was Historic dance ,I played the music and he did the dancing. We got to visit many wonderful Stately Homes with our dance company. We will have been married for 57 years come this July.

grannyactivist Thu 16-Feb-12 23:55:41

Before we married we agreed that it was my husband's role to put me first and mine to put him first and we've mostly been pretty good at doing that. Fortunately we are both fairly low maintenance people and we seem to still really like and enjoy one another. Our values and goals are pretty much the same and I have always encouraged my husband to pursue his interests and been given similar freedom myself. Because we've maintained a degree of independence we always have plenty to talk about and we have managed to keep 'the spark' alight. Neither of us are materialistic and we're in the rare and fortunate position of never having argued about money; although we've been through some very tough times in the past. I did marry my best friend though - and above everything else we've not only kept that friendship, but it's deeper now and more mature.
Carol's comment that it takes two to make a relationship work is absolutely true, but occasionally it's a bit like a see-saw for us. If my husband is pressured at work then I know I need to put extra energy into looking after him at home; if my health isn't good, he needs to nurture me and help out physically - and occasionally the balance is just right and we both put in about the same effort at the same time.
If I had one piece of advice I think I would say that kindness in marriage is underrated and that if couples were simply kinder to one another there would be fewer problems.

nightowl Fri 17-Feb-12 13:28:30

grannyactivist I so agree about just being kind. I think it is true of life in general, and something I have heard many older people (like me) say; the most important thing in life is simply to be kind. I keep telling my children that but they don't get it yet; but I'm sure I wouldn't have got it at their age either.

sussexpoet Fri 17-Feb-12 14:04:19

How I agree with grannyactivist about the importance of kindness. Speaking as a poet, I think "lovingkindness" is the most beautiful word in the English language.
I hope you all had a super Valentine's Day. Here's my poetic Valentine:

Making love to some men
Is like queueing for a bus in the rain.
Making love to some men
Is like waiting for your giro on a Monday
Making love to some men
Is like watching the shirts go round and round in the laundrette
But making love to you
Is like eating a mango in the bath.

supernana Fri 17-Feb-12 14:09:01

Kindness tops my list.

'^What do we live for, if not to make life less difficult for each other^'
A comforting quotation [George Elliot (Mary Ann Evans) 1819 - 1880]

jeni Fri 17-Feb-12 14:11:59

Sussex. Messy?grin

absentgrana Fri 17-Feb-12 14:51:36

Henry James said that there were three rules in life:
be kind,
be kind,
be kind.

absentgrana Fri 17-Feb-12 14:52:42

jeni Eating a mango in the bath is a guilty pleasure but deeply satisfying and enjoyable.

GadaboutGran Fri 17-Feb-12 14:54:27

I agree with the above. 'Be kind to each other whatever happens'. That's the simplest message I've given to my kids when they married. It really struck me when I observed sister and other female friends being treated so unkindly when going through divorces. I can accept that relationships may sometimes need to end but I can't accept the unkindness shown in the management of the splitting, especially after 30 or so years of marriage & having children together.