1. Love takes many forms
“Love plays an important role in my relationship — and it’s manifested in many ways. Of course, I’ve always been physically attracted to my husband, George. That’s romantic love. We have four children, and the love we share for them is a supportive, sacrificing love. As we’ve grown together, we now find we show our love in a caregiving capacity. Love changes with time. It needs room to adjust to the ups and the downs.”
2. Speak kindly or not at all
“Be careful how you speak to each other. Over the years I’ve found that if you want to say something unkind — wait a day! Tomorrow comes, and odds are you won’t want to say it anymore. You can’t take back unkind words; they are the things that break people up.”
3. Be flexible
“My mother said marriage is about two people giving 100 percent. Sometimes the husband gives 90 and you give 10; the next time, you try to give 90 and let him give 10. That kind of give-and-take is essential.”
4. Share hobbies
“George and I prioritize friendship. Relationships work best when you have certain things in common and enjoy each other’s company. We both like to travel, garden, hike in the woods, play board games and go to our cottage (George runs the boat, and I ski behind it).”
5. Surprise each other (often!)
“It’s all about the little things. Pay attention to each other. Every time one of my children was born, George brought me a bouquet of yellow roses. He knows how much I like surprises too. Once, we saw a pink hardtop convertible in a showroom window. I told George how much I loved it. The next day we walked past, and it wasn’t there. I forgot all about it, but George didn’t. Turns out he had bought the car and stored it in a garage. Then on Christmas morning he got up at 1 a.m. and parked it in front of the house. I’ve never forgotten that.”
6. Give each other space
“Freedom is important. You have to be left to be yourself. I am a writer, and George always understood if I had to work late to get an assignment in on time. He loves to golf and curl, and I always let him go to championship games without making a fuss. We trust each other when we’re together or apart.”
This article originally ran on Feb. 14, 2014.
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