Gransnet forums


Keeping love alive

(37 Posts)
grannyactivist Sun 24-Jul-16 01:12:26

Every now and then a poster comes on and talks about ending a marriage (or long relationship) and it always saddens me. When a couple first get together it's almost always with the expectation that the relationship will last; there are dreams and hopes invested in the marriage and it's full of promise. It got me wondering what people who have been happily married (or cohabiting) for a long time would say has been a key component in maintaining such a good relationship?

I read this article today: and recognised that all of their recommendations for ways of building up shared experiences in a marriage are central to my own relationship with my husband. I would also add that for us mutual respect and our shared faith have been hugely important in our relationship, and after almost thirty years since we wed we still often say the magic words, 'I love you' to each other. smile

Luckylegs9 Sun 24-Jul-16 05:43:13

I guess you both have to work at it and it goes without saying that if you are in love and love each other, wanting to make each other happy and get through the bad times, there is nothing better than being in that relationship. You both have to feel that way or it doesn't stand a chance. I had a great marriage and losing my husband felt like the end of the world, but I am so grateful I had it.

kittylester Sun 24-Jul-16 07:08:58

A huge chunk of luck is involved in my view.

It is almost impossible to tell whether someone else is going to 'grow' in the same way as yourself, especially after only knowing them for a short time (engaged after 6 weeks and married after 9 months) and not living together (generally frowned on in the olden days!)

I think shared experiences are essential as is working through problems but you have both got to want the same thing, which brings me back to good luck.

Also, having five children leaves little time for being dissatisfied with one's lot. grin

I am amazed to discover that DH and I have arrived at 46 years of marriage, as it only seems like yesterday that we met, and i can't imagine life without him.

Luckylegs flowers

NanKate Sun 24-Jul-16 07:39:21

I agree with Kitty a good dollop of luck is helpful.

We have been married 45 years this October and I am so grateful that our marriage has worked so well, despite warnings that I had made a unsuitable choice.

DH and I couldn't be more different.

I am so grateful that he is happy for me to go out and about with my friends, never jealous and always interested in what I have got up to. He prefers to stay at home as he is always busy and likes to listen to the radio and potter.

Always happy to come out with me at weekends visiting places and having coffee and cake and picnics. He is a devoted grandfather and always puts the boys and myself first.

We both accept each other's failings. I wish DH had a sense of humour, I am sure he would like me to be a better cook.

We both know that if anything goes wrong we are there for each other 100%.

Not everyone is so lucky and the threads on GN show that on a daily basis.

kittylester Sun 24-Jul-16 07:56:42

Pondering this! Can you actually keep love alive? confused

annsixty Sun 24-Jul-16 08:20:12

No I don't think you can.
I agree 100% with kitty about growing and changing together. I have always believed that. My H and I married very young at 22 and 21, so we were very lucky that even then we knew how we wanted our life to be and we strived for it. Other couples we know didn't grow and change in the same way. Sadly this includes both my C. One long divorced and one separated. Once these changes happen love also changes and it is my belief that love cannot be revived. My own case of course now is different. I am not living with and caring for the man I married and loved for many years. I have adapted and look after a man who I sometimes don't even like but that is the luck other posters have talked about, but the other side of the luck tossing coin.

Anya Sun 24-Jul-16 08:30:28

So true ann60

NanaandGrampy Sun 24-Jul-16 08:46:58

Love is hard. Marriage is hard work.

I think too often people go in with a romanticised vision of what love and marriage are and it is those who are more pragmatic ,who do understand that people change and that what love means changes that are the ones who make it through.

We have been married 40 years this year . When we had been married for 13 years we went through a very bad patch where we separated for 2 years. If I had stood on my pride we would not be together now.

If we were to look back now I would say those 2 years made our marriage what it is today. It gave us both a kick up the a*se to revisit our marriage and what it meant and what we wanted from life.

I would never have gone to university if it hadn't happened. I became much more comfortable managing alone . I realised I didn't need my husband , but I did want him. He realised the value of what he had.

I can honestly say , we are very lucky, very in love and enjoying every moment of our life together in retirement. It could have been so,so different.

I'm a grateful woman for learning a hard lesson and getting through to the other side.

annsixty Sun 24-Jul-16 08:53:03

Well done NandG for admitting your pride could have stood in the way and " backing down" I assume your love never wavered in that time. You are lucky, once again that word comes to the fore.

Greyduster Sun 24-Jul-16 08:56:10

I have been thinking about it a lot recently as this month marked our fiftieth year together. I could have written your post, NanKate. I could never see myself being married to anyone - it wasn't on my agenda, even though it was what was expected of girls in those days. I had just come out of a relationship with a man I thought I loved but who let me down and I wasn't anxious to get myself into another one. DH had a stream of girlfriends who kept dragging him past jewellers shop windows! We were a blind date and we clicked immediately even though we didn't have a lot in common. I think he saw me as a bit of a curiosity at first, but - and this just about sums it up really - we were happy in each other's company and didn't make unrealistic demands on each other. It hasn't been a bed of roses - being married to a career soldier never is - but we've always been able to talk through our difficulties. But it has been about love, fidelity, mutual support and, yes, a generous helping of sexual chemistry!

Christinefrance Sun 24-Jul-16 09:03:12

Yes Nanaandgrampy I agree, love is so often seen as the be all and end all. In reality there has to be a good helping of tolerance, empathy and hard work to keep a relationship going.

NanaandGrampy Sun 24-Jul-16 09:07:20

My Gran told me pride won't keep you warm on a cold night Ann and she was right smile.

I think love can be many things and I certainly think love changes as time and years pass by.

The love I had for my husband when we married is VERY different for the love we have now. So I think you can keep love alive but its unlikely to be the love you had at 18.

silverlining48 Sun 24-Jul-16 09:30:35

We celebrate 47 years of marriage on Tuesday, and 50 years of being together in September. We are opposite both in character and interests, have had our ups and downs over the years, but despite that with huge dollops of tolerance, much patience, kindness and acceptance of each others point of view - not always easy of course because naturally I am usually right and its been a matter of him accepting that truth (only - but partially - joking) but we are still together. Its quite frankly, a miracle.

Gononsuch Sun 24-Jul-16 09:35:13

I've got to agree, with huge dollops of tolerance, much patience, kindness and acceptance of each others point of view.

Without the above our relationship might not of worked out,

I think Love and faith is for the fairy's.

mumofmadboys Sun 24-Jul-16 09:35:24

I think a good definition for love is commitment. One doesn't always feel in love and all relationships go through harder times. However if you are both committed to making it work it helps enormously. We are just approaching our 35 th anniversary( coral apparently!!)

pollyperkins Sun 24-Jul-16 09:36:58

I think it cn be summed up as being kind to each other! Yes we have rows but stop short of hurtful words that cant be unsaid. We tolerate each others faults (there are many on both sides) and eep love ive by lots of touching, cudding as saying the magic words fairly frequently. But I think luck also has a lot to do with it. I had no idea what I was doing all thosecyears ago and was very lucky in my choice - he could have turned out to be a drunk, a womaniser or violent - luckily he is steady and faithful and a great support. I count my blessings n spite of the small annoyances and frustrations!

pollyperkins Sun 24-Jul-16 09:38:15

I tried to type keep love alive not eep love ive!!!

Skweek1 Sun 24-Jul-16 09:41:03

I loved (and was loved in return) by someone who wasn't free, and refused to let her down and died after I'd loved him for 20 years - my first marriage was rebound, I worked hard on it, but I outgrew him - stuck with it for 10 years before deciding that he was never going to change. He never forgave me for not staying with him. Now with soulmate/best friend - experienced 35 happy years although of course not always sweetness and light, but he's my grumpy old man and wouldn't have him any other way. We always say that we love one another and even occasionally have a spontaneous hug. No, it's not the same as in the early years, but still good and we wouldn't have things any different. I'm happy and blessed.

ninathenana Sun 24-Jul-16 09:51:34

I agree luck plays a part. H and I were a holiday romance that has lasted 43 years 41 of them as husband and wife. We met in Italy, and survived the first year as a long distance relationship until he moved to my town.
Like NanKate we are opposites in many ways. I'll talk to anyone where as H is the strong silent type. He has always been happy for me to go out with friends. I've never had to ask if he minds, I've never had to consult him on spending (although I do) We have shared and separate interests.
He has always been kind and considerate will help me on with my coat, open doors etc. and I have always trusted him 100% with regard to other women. He was a hands on dad and is the same with GC.
He still kisses me goodnight and says I love you. We walk arm in arm sometimes .
When I introduced him to someone I'd known for a while she said "Oh, he's not the man I would have expected you to be married too" maybe not, but I know I'm really lucky that he is.

ninathenana Sun 24-Jul-16 10:00:13

luckylegs mentioned being in love and love each other
Does anyone agree that being 'in love' is what we feel at the beginning and that changes to loving each other ? In the beginning we are excited when they walk in a room, the sound of their voice gives us a rosy glow. IMHO that doesn't last forever. However, it may last longer for some.

Doabledudin Sun 24-Jul-16 10:04:37

We were married for 45 years, it was good, bad, hard and sad, should we have separated....... maybe, but it was what it was, I have regrets, he had regrets, but this is NOT sliding doors, you give you take. Now I'm alone and it's hard, never to be held, no one close to tell things too, all the minutiae of life. The loneliness eats you up, so maybe if you're still together try to think how it would be if you were not, even then times it by a hundred because it's worse than you can imagine.

kittylester Sun 24-Jul-16 10:16:16

I think the initial feelings might be called being in lust and that if it becomes love and friendship as well then one is very lucky. I am!

NanaandGrampy Sun 24-Jul-16 11:43:37

I agree Nina and Kitty love changes

No one can sustain those intense feelings of being 'in love' and although I cant quote it - I believe there's scientific evidence to back that up {smile] .

Love , real love ,grows and changes. And I believe love means different things to different people.

I KNOW DH loves me when he fetches me something to save my poor old knees. When he brings home a surprise cake for having with out coffee, when he does something with me in which he has no interest. He does it because it makes me happy and if I'm happy he's happy.

Its the small stuff that reminds me he loves me not the grand gestures.

Greyduster Sun 24-Jul-16 12:06:01

doable it is my greatest fear (and probably his, though he would never admit it), and I dwell on it almost daily these days.

Bluecat Sun 24-Jul-16 12:11:48

Frankly, the whole thing is a mystery to me. I don't know why some marriages stay together and others fall apart. I've known some people who seem made for each other and yet they split up, and others who stay together when you wouldn't think they'd got a hope in hell.

I feel, sometimes, as if I'm married to an impossible man, and I know (because they've told me!) that most people who know him think the same...and that includes our daughters. He's controlling and hyper-critical and, as one of our SiLs once said with rueful affection, "He really is the rudest man I've ever met." On the other hand, he is also the most hard-working man I know, always puts his responsibility to his family first, is always the one that everyone turns to when they're stuck, and has put up with years of me being constantly ill.

He never makes spontaneous romantic gestures and his idea of a day out usually includes a trip to the local tip and a visit to B&Q, but he always tells me that he loves me. The other day, he told me I was his best friend and the only one he could rely upon 100%. (Our girls were a bit insulted!) I suppose that's the other side of the coin. I know he loves me and he knows I love him. And, though we might get really angry sometimes and threaten to go, we are both horrified by the idea of ever being apart. Looks like we're in it for life...