For more than three decades, my life partner Howard and I have started the new year by celebrating our January 2nd wedding anniversary.
Is there a secret to a long, happy relationship? There’s no magic formula for everyone, but here are a few thoughts about what’s kept our relationship vibrant.
- We always have a dream on the horizon – a vacation, a change in our home, a future wish for our family, our children, or our careers.
- We do our best thinking, sharing, and brainstorming on walks – especially on the beach, but also in our own neighborhood.
- Every single day counts, and we keep our daily rituals – thank yous for small tasks, kisses and hugs coming and going, sharing about the day.
- We sing our favorite songs together.
- We laugh at silly things and nostalgically about our fun memories.
- We say ‘I love you’ a lot and write love letters on special occasions.
- We listen with no time limit, until the other person feels better about whatever’s bothering them.
- We’re proud and excited for every small and big accomplishment and new idea our partner has.
- We give each other space for our own passions, friendships, and interests.
It’s not all perfect, or easy. There are rough times and stressors that set us off and push us apart, again and again. We get stuck in our own unique version of negative cycles and need to work hard to figure out what’s happening.
Training to work with couples over the last few years has been an amazing opportunity to infuse new insights and positive energy into my own marriage. I’m so grateful that I have an enthusiastic partner to learn and experiment together with new approaches, even when they reveal sensitive issues that we’ve been carrying for a long time.
Wishing you a happy new year. May you enjoy increased closeness and connection with the people who matter to you.