Relationship Lessons – Pause Readers Speak Up

When we celebrated our 35th wedding anniversary in 2009, my husband and I put together a list of 10 lessons learned. I shared the list in a Pause message. You can view the original message on my blog at: or download a formatted pdf version of the list at: library/articles/loves_lessons_learned.pdf

This prompted a number of readers to respond with relationships lessons of their own. Here is a summary of their suggestions..

V writes:
The most important lesson I’ve learned is that in order for a marriage to succeed one has to be able to forgive and forget. There have been incidents in our relationship where either one of us said or did things that were almost unforgivable. For us it is important to draw a line and put the incident behind us to never bring up again. This system has allowed us to stay together for 37 years and be able to enjoy our grandchildren together and hopefully many more years of sharing our life together.

M writes:
I really like having your own interests/hobbies outside of “couple” things. I remember my husband giving me a sentimental compliment many years ago saying, “You are probably the only person, when I want to be by myself, that I like to have around.” I totally got what he was trying to say! That’s probably why even when we are at home busy doing our own things, we still like to know the other person is somewhere around the house/yard.

E writes:
I heard an interview with a couple celebrating their 80th wedding anniversary (where did THAT time go?). They credited their marital longevity to never falling out of love with each other — at the same time.

J writes:
It is so important to keep laughing… be able to laugh at ourselves, to be able to laugh at each other without hurting one another, and certainly to be able to laugh joyously together. It has saved the day for us many times in the past 35 years.

J writes:
When my wife and I were about to get married, my Mother advised us (while looking at me) to agree to disagree agreeably! So far, through 47 years , it has worked.

M writes:
My favorite relationship lessons include: Never go to bed angry. Always work it out before going to sleep if there’s an argument. Don’t take things personally and simply live love. Laugh everyday with your partner in life. And always ask, don’t assume. Seems to work for us.

J writes:
In our almost 52 year partnership, we’ve learned a couple of lessons we find helpful. Keep a sense of humor. And (straight from Little Women) never go to sleep angry!

D writes:
One thing I would add and would certainly do differently would be to have a ‘date night’ at least once a month when your children are at home, regardless of their ages (babies through to teenagers) no matter what! We had no family support and little to no extra money and we couldn’t or didn’t do that and are now paying the price. It doesn’t matter what you do (a walk, a McDonald’s sundae, a meal), but go out – just the two of you and never, never miss a month or you may break the habit! Do it for yourselves and for your children!!

W writes:
My sister-in-law, married an entire 2.5 years, says she and my brother have at least one good ‘belly-laugh’ a day. I’ve often asked my much-married friends (the 25-30 plus years together ones) what keeps them happy, and the most common answer by far has been: He/she makes me laugh. You can’t go wrong if that’s a part of your relationship.

Y writes:
The other person is the way he/she is. Trying to change the person will not work and the relationship will not work out. Save some time to do the things you like – meaning that you don’t have to be with your partner all the time, every hour of every day. Spending some time by oneself doing the things ones like (with friends, running, cycling, skiing, carving) is necessary to remain who you are.

E writes:
Relationships are like training for a marathon. You are in it for the long haul. Pace yourself, and put in the time each day. You have to commit and then actually “show up” to do the work. Both of you as a team comes first, everything else is secondary. If the core team isn’t strong, the rest of the family doesn’t work either.

P writes:
One thing that my husband started when we first married was to say ‘I love you’ every day, usually in the morning. At first I though it was sweet but kind of odd to be saying that as one of our ‘to do’s’ for the day but after a while I came to really appreciate how much it meant to hear ‘I love you’ on a regular basis.

Now we don’t concentrate on saying ‘I love you’ so much as giving each other a kiss when we get home from work. My husband works strange hours some days, so we never know exactly when we’ll see each other. I’ve come to realize that it’s the fact that we’re taking time to connect and reaffirm that we want to be with each other that makes the difference.

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