We can learn a lot from the elderly. Whether it’s from their experience in relationships, work or even just the day-to-day, there’s no denying their wealth of knowledge. This in mind, Karl Pillemer, interviewed 700 elderly people in the US who have experienced rewarding long-term relationships for his book “30 Lessons for Loving”. Here’s what they said.
On Choosing the One
According to 64 year old Dave Nelson, ”Falling in Iove means that intuition tells you that this is the right thing to do.” However, to make sure this “honeymoon’ sensation has stamina to last, it’s also advised to learn whether you share the same goals and core values with your potential partner. Practical things are just as important eg. “Are they financially responsible?”, “Will they be a good parent?”
It’s just as important to know when to talk than how to. This means talking when your partner is receptive to what you’re saying and not just when you feel like opening your mouth. For example, serious conversations are no good on an empty stomach, as hunger pangs can aggravate your mood. One couple even recommends taking a tea break as things start to heat up to relieve tension.
Finding time once a month to discuss any issues you have with the intention to solve them is another good habit. Whether it’s on where to spend your next family holiday or a particular habit that gets on your nerves, taking time to talk ensures that nothing goes unresolved for too long. It also ensures that both partners have to time to reflect and prepare for a solution.
If possible, you should try to avoid debt at all costs. Although married couples are usually more financially secure than single folks, arguments about money usually last longer and sting harder than other topics. To avoid these toxic conversations, the elderly advise saving up to buy things rather than using credit. They also say not to compare your lifestyle to other couples that seem more financially secure.
Unexpected gestures are the best way to keep love alive. For example, although Darren Freeman doesn’t fret too much about Christmas presents for his wife, he often surprises her with things she has shown interest in throughout the year.
Compliments work just as well. Clara Osborne and her late husband, Arthur, for example often used to compliment each other. And it’s moments like these that will remain with Clara until the end of her days.
Don’t Take Yourself Too Seriously
Remember that most things are probably not as important in the long-term as they seem in the present. Rather than lashing out over a minor misdemeanour, try asking yourself “Is it really worth it?” Although it can be hard to control, lashing out too strongly or too often will only build contempt and damage your relationship in the future.