It’s Valentine’s Day, and even if you hate the Hallmark holiday, you have to admit there’s something beautiful about couples who have been together for years and years and years and are still so in love. It’s undeniably moving, and in some way we all strive for that kind of togetherness, whether it’s with a partner, a friend, or a family member.
In the spirit of celebrating love, the HelloGiggles team asked the longtime-married couples we know to share their best advice for a healthy, lasting relationship, and what they shared is truly special.
Kerry and Linda LaPlace, married 47 years
“There are two things you need for a relationship that will last: learn to share and learn to have faith.
Learn to share:
Share your heart, your caring, your appreciation for each other.
Share what’s happened during your day.
Share your sadness, your happiness, your disappointment, and yes, even share your anger (in small doses it’s healthy and clears the air!).
Share your thoughts and your ideas, even if you think they’re foolish (they’re not if your partner will just listen).
Share your dreams.
Share your laughter, even if it’s at each other (sometimes we’re pretty funny!).
And let your partner share all of the above with you!
Learn to have faith:
Have faith in the decisions you make together.
Have faith in your hopes for each other’s lives.
Have faith in your ability to support each other in everything, or just one thing.
Have faith that both of you will be great parents (if this is what you both want) because you don’t have to live in a mansion or have tons of money.
Have faith that anything is truly possible if you can do it together.
Have faith in the idea of commitment to another person…true commitment.
Have faith in the choice that you have made to spend the rest of your life with one person, one human being, stressing the human part!
Through 47 years of marriage, nothing has been perfect. There have been fights and tears, horrible words and goofy, sweet moments that no one shared but the two of us, scared times and uncertain times, and lots of times filled with so much caring and love. But if I had to do it all over again, I hope that I would be able to spend another 47 years together.”
Kerry and Linda are parents to Missy LaPlace, associate video editor
Murray MacAdam and Ruth Bishop, married 38 years
“I’d say a vital ingredient for us for a happy marriage has been each of us respecting their partner pursuing their own interests, including having their own friends, while also having friends in common with your partner. Some couples seem to be stuck together with crazy glue, and while I understand why, I could not live this way myself.”
Murray and Ruth are parents to senior lifestyle editor Stephanie Hallett’s best friend
Len and Jamie Rose, together 40 years, married 38 years
“It’s about supporting each other by doing what you do best, and letting your partner do what they do best. You need to have a community around you that supports your relationship. People you can talk to, vent to, and learn from. Your partner can’t be your everything. It’s important to define your own relationship and not worry too much about what society says a relationship should be. Develop intimacy beyond sex. Figure out how to connect and have those special moments—it can be as simple as holding hands.”
“The best advice I ever got was that your partner can’t be your everything. You can’t get from your husband what you get from your friends, and you can’t get from your friends what you get from your husband. Both are extremely important. Laughing every day, especially during bad times, is the most important. We try to find the humor in every situation. We laugh when we are mad at each other, when we are sad, and when we are happy. It’s what’s worked for us.”
“The more personal work you do, the less you blame your partner for things. We have to constantly be developing ourselves through personal growth, then bringing that work to the relationship to enrich it.”
—Len & Jamie
Len and Jamie are uncle and aunt to Dan Magro, managing video producer
Dean and Corinne Pina, married 37 years
“Keep your marriage between the two of you. I would avoid input from other friends and relatives. Clear, concise communication is key to a good marriage, it clears the air for you both to move on.”
Dean and Corinne are parents to Keri Pina, video producer
Shelley and Richard Adlman, married 28 years
“Finding beautiful notes on the windshield of my car in the parking lot after a long day of work keeps our love young and alive.”
“Not only did I love my life partner from the first day I saw her, but 30 years later I know it’s ’til the day I die. We’re in this forever, and it helps to know this. Patience with one another is a big part of it, but I think the trust and ultimate respect we have for each other keeps our bond together.”
Shelley and Richard are parents to Nicole Adlman, senior editor
Brian and Donna Dawes, married 38 years
“About commitment: Go into marriage from the beginning with the commitment that this is for the rest of your life. Never throw out the word ‘divorce.’
About secrecy: Don’t keep hidden financial accounts, tingly contact with others, or occasional stupid ventures to yourself.
About finances: Put in 100% effort to work together on all financial matters. (When you agree to each spend $100 a month on clothes, don’t question the other when they do just that.) Pulling the wagon in the same direction is essential.
About intimacy: Even if you’re tired, hungry, or feeling old…snuggling under the sheets is essential. Hug and kiss at other times.
In all areas, be willing to self-sacrifice.”
Brian and Donna are parents-in-law to Missy LaPlace, associate video editor
Lien and Jack Sun, married 16 years
“Always show that you value each other’s strengths and forgive each other’s weaknesses. Always extend grace when possible. You want to give your partner the benefit of the doubt. Acknowledge each other in small ways. For us, with three girls ranging from 6 to 13 years old, it gets busy during the weekly routine so we text each other during the day to say ‘I love you’ and ‘have a great day.’ Our ultimate goal is to model what a loving relationship looks like for our girls on a daily basis. We are on the same team always when it comes to parenting so our kids cannot pit us against each other. Find time to celebrate what you’ve accomplished together. Value and encourage each other in small ways and in big ways, like a fancy dinner out once in a while. Ultimately, a strong, loving marriage in our case is always about communication and compromise. Always be willing to consistently demonstrate your love for one another with these two key aspects.”
Lien and Jack are aunt and uncle to Jessica Wang, editorial assistant
Damian Washington and Angela Boulart, together 19 years, married 7 years
“Make and keep a date night. Provided she’s into them, get flowers just because (not from the grocery store, either—go to the flower shop, bruh). Find someone who makes you laugh. Meditate regularly (it makes you nicer, which makes you a better partner).”
“Find someone who makes you laugh. Listen and empathize with what the other is experiencing. Big plus if one of you has a sense of direction!”
Damian and Angela are friends of our office manager and contributing writer Kitty Lindsay