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14 Bits of marital wisdom to help you grow old and happy together

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Dolors Massot - published on 05/17/18

An experienced wife, mother, and grandmother proposes tips for taking care of the love of a lifetime.

Is there a formula for a couple’s love to last a lifetime? What can we do when we hit tough times? Is it really possible to be faithful “till death do us part”?

Many books have been written about these questions, but Spanish author Victoria Cardona assures us that based on experience, a couple can most definitely be faithful throughout their entire lives.

A mother of six and a grandmother, she’s written a book specifically on these important questions, based on real experiences and examples called La receta del amor en pareja (The Recipe for Married Love) — currently available only in Spanish. The book has made her a bit of an authority on the topic in Spain, as well as a popular international speaker.

Cardona takes something very important into account: each stage of life is different. We have a trajectory, and life as a couple is also a path that goes through very different stages, from infatuation — feeling that you can’t live a single moment without your beloved — to “reaching safe harbor.”

Here are 14 ideas that Cardona considers essential for married life to last for the long-haul:

TANIEC
Brooke Cagle/Unsplash | CC0

1. Take time for courtship

“The word ‘courtship’ has been lost and it wouldn’t be bad to recover it,” she writes.

2. Courtship or dating is a time to get to know each other

Don’t let infatuation blind you. You have to see, observe, and get to know your future spouse.

3. Love means navigating as a team

“A love that we want to live by rowing together at the same speed.”

PARA
Stephen Cook/Unsplash | CC0

4. Love is difficult but not impossible

Happiness doesn’t come by itself. It’s conquered by the committed.

5. Combine enthusiasm and realism

“It’s a good idea to be realistic, but without neglecting enthusiasm and the determination to show love with details that make your spouse happy.”

6. Managing fears

It’s normal to occasionally be afraid of not pleasing the other person, of the relationship ending, or wondering how you’ll cope when he or she is away on a trip. Talk about it to find out if those fears have any validity and to avoid deeper problems.

COUPLE WASHING
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7. Ask for advice

We ask other people for advice before making decisions in our life, so why not turn to the one you live, sleep, and wake up with every day?

8. Let’s talk more about “us” and less about “me”

At the same time, it’s good for each spouse to have his or her areas of independence, which should be mutually understood and respected.

9. Navigating the rough spots

We are neither so foolish nor so deluded to believe that we will not hit any potholes, but together we will stumble through them.

COUPLE IN LOVE
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10. Understand the psychology of men and women

This will keep us from expecting pears from an elm tree.

11. A total and exclusive love requires a willingness to sacrifice

Yes, our lives as they were before we committed will change, but we must adapt for love (maybe it’s giving up an activity, being more aware of the wishes of our partner, etc.).

12. When it comes to sexuality, children learn from what they observe

“They get older and prepare to live out respect, sexuality, and love by observing their parents’ looks of complicity, their kisses or hugs, the forgiveness of a small grievance, how they make peace, the deference that they show each other, or how they budget for a honeymoon getaway.”

COUPLE
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13. How do we deal with the in-laws?

“Some parents want to organize their married children’s lives: suddenly they’re interested in where we hang a picture in our apartment, or they tell us how many children we can have, or they just want to protect us too much. We need to find a gentle way to explain that we are old enough to make those decisions now, we have the skills it takes to hang a picture in the right place, and no one else ultimately makes the decisions but the two of us.”

14. Avoid becoming a victim

We must activate the “know how to ask” feature even for small things, like my friend who left a post-it on the fridge that said, “Don’t forget to wish me a happy birthday tomorrow.”


HAPPY COUPLE

Read more:
7 Things you need to let go of if you want a happy marriage

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