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Ask The Good Enough Guy: How Do We Make It Last?

Couple holding hands in field, looking at horizon

Will!  

My mate and I met on a dating site. Everything is going very well. We didn’t have any long distance issues and have enjoyed 18 months of bliss. We stumbled upon your advice and talk about it all the time – how we would apply it in our situation and where you may be wrong. We were talking about the secret to long lasting relationships the other day, and wondered what you would have to say about the topic. Do you have any secrets? What’s the best advice you have gotten to help you with your relationship?

Want It To Last

Hey WITL,

I think this is the first letter I’ve gotten where there is no problem… other than the fact that you think I’m sometimes wrong. I NEVER AM. I thought I was once, but I was mistaken.

The truth is, I don’t have all the answers. I’m not a doctor or a marriage counselor.  I’m just a guy who likes to watch people. I’ve always found it interesting to watch the way we act, react, and interact, and I find nothing more interesting than how we act in relationships. And I’m a guy who likes to help people, which is why GEM was able to persuade me to answering relationship questions every week (trust me; that lady could’ve sold sneakers to Gandhi).

Back to your question: My wife and I just celebrated our 19th wedding anniversary and I’m praying she keeps me around for 100 more. As far as I can tell, there is no secret formula for a long and happy relationship, just a bunch of little things that make it work and keep working. Here’s just a few of my favorite little things:

  • Taking a second to say, “I love you” everyday is great; taking a few minutes to show it is better.
  • Hold hands. It just feels good.
  • In disagreements with others, take your partner’s side (you can tell them that they were wrong later.)
  • Never leave the house without kissing them good-bye… just in case.
  • When you’re wrong, be strong enough to say so; when they  are, be strong enough to let it go.
  • Never stop dating.
  • Turn off the TV, the radio, and the cellphone and LISTEN to what you partner is saying.
  • Give small gifts often. A gift should say, “I was thinking about you”, not, “This was expensive so don’t bother me again until next year.”
  • If you don’t know how to give a decent massage, learn.
  • Do at least one thing every day that says, “You’re important to me.”

These are just a few of the things that have worked for my wife and me over the years. Try the ones that make sense; toss out the things that don’t. As I said, there’s no perfect way; you just have to love each other enough to keep it going.

Good luck to you! And GEM readers, let me throw it out to you? What do you think is the secret to a long and fruitful relationship?

More From GEM:

Life Lessons: Amy Montalvo

Single Mom Slice Of Life: And Then There’s Zen

Of Cop Cars And Chewing Gum: How I Learned Stealing Was Wrong

 

William Jones is originally from the tiny town of Alton, Illinois, and now lives in the tinier town of Reisterstown, Maryland. He is a happy husband and a proud father of three, and writes as a hobby, in those few moments he finds between husband-ing and daddy-ing. Follow him on Twitter@goodenoughguy1.

 

3 Comments

  1. The Cuban

    April 21, 2012 at 9:35 am

    Very good advice! I think the taking their side in a disagreement is very overlooked and you spelled it out perfectly. I also think that it’s important to talk to each other. Be adult enough to hear what the other is saying then think about it before defending yourself. Kelly and I made a pact at the very beginning to tell each other our frustrations right away so they didn’t start to fester and cause bigger problems later.

  2. m.e. johnson

    April 22, 2012 at 2:07 pm

    I have a 40-year friend. We love each other like sisters. Matter of fact she has come to me when she couldn’t go to her sister (I have none). We disagree on a few things, important things like religion and politics. When we first became friends we had our ‘debates’ then let it go. Now on occasion we ask each other such as, “But now why are they saying…?” We seriously listen to each other’s response then let it go. We have so many other reasons to be friends.

  3. Will Jones

    April 23, 2012 at 11:18 am

    Cuban-Communication is HUGE! It one of my “big four” for marriage (love, communication, trust, and respect.) I believe that communication is the only one that can be lost by accident. If two people start to believe they know everything about each other, pretty soon they think the other already knows what the first is thinking and vice-versa. You and Kelly staying on top of it is a big part of what keeps your relationship so strong (…add that too all that cooking you do to make the rest of us men look bad!) Great hearing from you!

    M.E. Forty years is amazing! I’ve only known my parents for that long and we weren’t friends for most of it! LOL. Having someone in your life for that long is one of this world’s best blessings and disagreeing once in a while is a good thing. As the saying goes, “If two people agree all of the time, one of them isn’t necessary.”
    Next time you see her, tell her I said “Hey” and invite her to come and read about my shenanigans. Tell her that, even when I’m dead wrong, I still try to keep is interesting. 🙂

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