All relationships have their drawbacks and conflicts, no matter if it’s been 3 years or 30. But regardless of how long a couple has been together, showing gratitude and care for the other person cannot fall by the wayside. Continuous, everyday expressions of love are necessary to maintain and strengthen the connection throughout the years. The secret to a lasting marriage is not free of challenges and hardships, but it is the consistent effort to express love and maintain a strong emotional connection that allows a couple to weather the storms of life together.
What is The Secret to a Lasting Marriage
Marriage is often compared to a journey, a journey filled with its share of joys and challenges. For some, it’s a fairy tale, a story of love that endures through the ages, while for others, it can become a challenging path fraught with pitfalls. The secret to a lasting marriage, the glue that holds a couple together, is a topic that has intrigued scholars, therapists, and ordinary people for generations. In this article, we will explore the essence of this elusive bond and how verbal expressions of love, as well as the small everyday gestures, play a pivotal role in maintaining a strong and enduring marital connection.
The Power of Verbal Expression
The words “I love you” are often seen as the foundation of a healthy and lasting marriage. Dr. David Hawkins, the director of the Marriage Recovery Center, emphasizes the importance of verbal expressions of love in keeping couples connected. According to him, there’s a certain glue that helps to hold a couple together, and it is this glue that is essential for maintaining a strong bond in a marriage.
The iconic scene from the movie “Fiddler on the Roof” beautifully illustrates the significance of verbal expressions of love in a relationship. In this scene, Tevye, the protagonist, asks his wife Golde if she loves him. Golde initially responds with a list of her daily chores and responsibilities in their marriage, highlighting the practical aspects of their relationship. Tevye persists in his question, “Do you love me?” After some initial resistance, Golde finally concedes, “I suppose I do. I love you.”
This scene poignantly captures the idea that verbal expressions of love are not just a one-time declaration but an ongoing, vital component of a strong marriage. It’s about affirming and reaffirming the love you feel for your partner, even in the face of the routine and familiarity that can sometimes dull the intensity of early romance. Verbal expressions of love, when genuine and sincere, provide a deep sense of reassurance and emotional connection.
The Language of Everyday Gestures
While saying “I love you” is significant, it’s not the only way to express love and maintain a lasting marriage. The daily acts of love and affection are equally crucial. These everyday gestures are like the glue that binds a couple’s hearts and keeps the flame of love alive.
These small actions can take various forms. It might be as simple as a morning kiss, a surprise cup of coffee, a handwritten note, or a warm hug at the end of a long day. It’s about showing through actions that you genuinely care about your partner’s happiness and well-being.
For instance, making your partner’s favorite meal without being asked, taking care of household chores together, or listening attentively when they share their thoughts and feelings are all ways to express your love non-verbally. These actions convey a sense of partnership and commitment, creating an atmosphere of love and respect within the marriage.
In a lasting marriage, it’s the consistent demonstration of love that keeps the bond strong. It’s not just about the grand gestures on special occasions but the everyday, seemingly small things that say, “I am here for you, I cherish you, and I value our relationship.”
The Importance of Routine Affection
In the hustle and bustle of daily life, it’s easy to take each other for granted. Over time, the initial spark of a relationship can fade as the demands of work, family, and other commitments take center stage. This is when routine affection becomes crucial in maintaining a strong and lasting marriage.
Routine affection encompasses the consistent display of love and care, even when life gets busy or stressful. It means holding hands when you walk together, sharing inside jokes, and having your own unique ways of connecting. These small moments of affection can add up to a profound sense of security and intimacy.
Moreover, routine affection is not just about physical touch; it also includes emotional support and understanding. It involves actively engaging in your partner’s life, being empathetic, and being a source of strength during challenging times. This emotional connection is what strengthens the bond and makes a marriage resilient.
The Role of Communication
Effective communication is a cornerstone of any successful and lasting marriage. Beyond simply saying “I love you,” being able to express your thoughts, feelings, and concerns is essential for a healthy partnership. Communication is the conduit through which love and understanding flow.
Open and honest communication creates a safe space where both partners can express their needs, expectations, and desires. It’s a means of resolving conflicts, making joint decisions, and celebrating shared joys. When communication is robust and constructive, it fosters a sense of connection and unity.
A crucial aspect of communication is active listening. Being genuinely present when your partner is talking, without judgment or distraction, is a powerful way to demonstrate love. It shows that you value their thoughts and feelings, and you are willing to invest time and effort in the relationship.
Investing in Quality Time Together
In today’s fast-paced world, finding quality time to spend together can be a challenge. However, making an effort to prioritize and create meaningful shared experiences is vital for a lasting marriage. These moments of togetherness strengthen the emotional bond and create lasting memories.
Quality time can take many forms, from going on a date night, taking a weekend getaway, to simply enjoying a quiet evening at home. The key is to be fully present during these moments and savor the connection between you and your partner. These shared experiences reinforce the idea that your relationship is a priority.
The secret to a lasting marriage lies in the continuous and sincere expressions of love, both in words and actions. While saying “I love you” is crucial, it is equally essential to demonstrate your love through everyday gestures, routine affection, open communication, and quality time together.
Like the glue that holds a couple together, love is the binding force that keeps a marriage resilient, enduring, and truly meaningful. So, in the words of Tevye and Golde, “I suppose I do. I love you,” and it’s nice to know.
Also read: How to Practice Mindfulness
About Dr. Hawkins:
The internet is inundated with hyperbole and misinformation about narcissism, leaving many people confused and hopeless. Get the facts on narcissism and emotional abuse from someone who has been researching, writing about and treating narcissism and emotional abuse for over a decade.
Dr. Hawkins is a best-selling author and clinical psychologist with over three decades of experience helping people break unhealthy patterns and build healthier relationships.
He is the founder and director of the Marriage Recovery Center and the Emotional Abuse Institute which offers education, training and counseling for people who want to break free of, and heal from, emotional abuse. Whether the perpetrator of the abuse is your spouse, partner, parent, boss, friend or family member, we offer practical advice for anyone trapped in a toxic, destructive relationship.
In addition to narcissism & emotional abuse, you’ll learn about the lesser known forms of abuse, including covert abuse, reactive abuse, spiritual abuse, secondary abuse, relationship trauma and much more.