(not so) Secrets to a Long and Happy Relationship

Posted: November 18, 2011 in Advice, book, My History
Tags: , , , , , ,

I have been asked more than once about the longevity of our relationship. Ed and I will celebrate (I hope) 19 years in April. I usually have a flippant answer like wine or great drugs. In reality what works for us works for us. I will be glad to share my thoughts but to me they are as obvious as the secretes of loosing weight (Burn more calories than you consume.
First and foremost – Don’t go to bed mad. You’ll spend the entire night plotting revenge. Seriously. The mind wanders and you fall asleep thinking about how angry you are. When you wake up you have difficulty separating dreams from reality and the day starts off as bad as it ended.

Second, but maybe more important, ask yourself as the fight is starting; “Am I better off with or with out that person.” If you decide that this fight is not going to break you up. Then why fight. Make the point you want to make. Then hope the other person accepts you side or at least acknowledges the validity of your statements. You must be willing to do the same.
Most important, if your dating someone because the “sex is phenomenal”, you are destined to fail. A relationship built around the physical will not work. Maybe not at first, things can stay fresh for period of time. Eventually the thrill will be gone and then what do you have the other 23 ½ hours a day. One reason I believe that Ed and I have lasted so long is that it is by far and away one of the most intelligent men I have ever met. We can have discussions ranging from quantum physics to current political events to zombies and then back again. For me personally, a relationship needs to be between 2 people who have respect on the physical and intellectual level for each other.

Most important, in your heart you must believe that the other wants only what’s good for you. And you must firmly have your partners’ best interest at heart.
I have seen to many relationships where one person holds some advantage over the other. Sometimes its earnings, sometimes it’s education, sometimes it’s physical. Whatever it is, if there is a disparity, it should never be used as a wedge or a way of keeping the other one down. Like iron sharpening iron a couple together for the long term must be willing to help that person become who they could be with out trying to remake them to their own personal preference.
Last but not least there must be agreement on the rules of the relationship and then commitment to keep them. Do not promise or demand more than you’re capable of giving. Accept the fact that men are pigs and decide in advance how to deal with indiscretions. Some partners really don’t want to know and don’t care. Other partners want to know so they don’t get blindsided when someone comes to them with a rumor or accusation, as people are prone to do. In one sense it’s kind of like writing a will. No one wants to get sick, but you need to plan for the worst in order to make the eventuality of the event easier. If you have these discussions early on, never assume it will be the only time you have those discussions. As time grows and people become more accustomed to each other things change. Be willing to accept the fact the relationships change.
Our relationship has gone from closed to open, open with rules and back again. To go back to my comment about a relationship built on the physical, the most important thing to remember then, and during periods of indiscretions, is that sex and love are 2 different things. To quote the old joke, “what do you call sex without love?” Answer, exercise!
Please don’t get me wrong when I talk about sex not being the focus of a relationship. I promise you, after almost 19 years, I still often get aroused when I look at Ed. THe most difficult thing for me was to enter into a relationship with someone who was negative. Ed had no problems dating someone positive. Even back then.

Also, a marine sandwich always adds some spice.

  1. Jack Stevenson says:

    I agree that sex is not the primary reason people stay together for a long time. I have lived with my partner for over 40 years and we are about as opposite as we can be. We care for one another and it is a give and take relationship. Sex is not the most important thing in a relationship, it is a part but the companionship is the primary motivation to stay together. We just get along well with one-another. It is a give and take relationship. We compliment each other due to our differences.

  2. IamSimplyTia says:

    I am a newly wed and these were helpful hints. The one we practice religiously is never go to bed mad. And we do it subconsciously. We argue about stuff but like 5 minutes later we’re all happy go lucky again. I am the more vocal one and whenever something bothers me, I just cannot for the life of me stay quiet on it. It could be the tiniest thing, I have to fuss….He’s so patient so I think that balances us out.
    And while I do think sex is a very important part of a relationship, like you said it won’t keep you together if other areas of that relationship are suffering.

    Congrats on getting to 19 years. Long time! I wish you all nothing but success and many more years together.

  3. Ed Briggs says:

    Great post. All you have said is true. Can’t see spending a day without you in my life.
    Love you more than you know.

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