Almost every day at work, a 60 year old male coworker often interrupts my busy tasks as I attempt to type away on my keyboard. No matter what I am doing or how busy I appear, this co worker starts telling me stories of his past or teasing my work ethic. I usually stop my work and listen politely because I know he really does have a lot of knowledge to offer and sometimes I could use a break to laugh at his ridiculous jokes. He often gives me tips on life and love as if he were a long lost great uncle. Over time, his silly chattering and teasing has won me over to see him as a friend and confidant.
This man is married with several children and a couple of grandchildren. One day recently, he told me his 27 year wedding anniversary was coming up. I smiled and said, “Congratulations!” Seeing he always tells me advice without asking anyway, I used this opportunity to ask something I actually wanted to know. “What is the secret to love and a happy marriage?” Immediately, without hesitation, he said, “Take out a pen!’” I diligently started writing, knowing I wanted to share in a future post. He provided this list:
12 Key Tips for Lasting Love
- Listen Carefully
- Hear Quietly
- Know there is a big difference between men and women
- Both men and women have feelings
- Pay attention to how words are being expressed
- Read expression and read body language
- Don’t be demanding
- Don’t be controlling
No Strings Attached
After providing this list, I asked a follow up question. I said, “Yeah, I can do that…but what if the other person doesn’t?” He said, “Why get something in return!” He went on to say, “It’s not about changing the other person. It’s about what you do. Do NOT do anything in order to expect something back. These skills are the character that we are and we can only hope the other person will respond. They probably will respond to good treatment but this is how you should treat your partner, with NO strings attached.”
As a man he said that he also knows that he has to treat his wife very gentle. He said he knows women are very strong but that sometimes women’s bodies make things more difficult without their control. I could tell he was talking about emotions and hormones. As much as I wish I was always level headed, I know PMS gets to me! I didn’t take offense because he was trying to tell me that women’s hormones make us emotional but he said it respectfully and matter of fact. He said, “You can’t always control how you feel! You women go through so much!” So he said it was his job to stay calm and not be too harsh with his wife. He went on to say that men also have a lot of feelings as well though. Just because he is a man doesn’t mean he doesn’t feel but he had to keep in mind to be very gentle to his wife.
Put Ourselves Aside
He went on to describe that in the beginning of his marriage he was all about himself. Telling his wife, “Listen to me!” “What about me!” “What about what I want!” Telling me that when she started talking he was thinking about being understood and demanding to be heard. Looking back, he realized this was a mistake. It’s about the other person and not always about ourselves. His 27 year wedding anniversary was coming up but he said that it took him 26 years to learn this. We laughed.
As he walked away, I truly appreciated his advice. It’s good to have a friend much older, even a different gender, to provide some lasting wisdom that could never be gained without life experience. He truly taught me that it’s about our partners needs. Love has a lot to do with truly and deeply understanding our partners with out selfishness or wanting anything in return. Each person’s feelings in a relationship should be respected and honored. I’ll definitely be keeping this list in mind as I continue to build my inner character and learn how to treat my partner. Honestly, I could only be so humble to reach 27 years of happy marriage. We never know exactly what the future can hold. However, we can say we tried our best from using wisdom such as this from our elders.
This advice is for those in a relationship or to keep in mind before finding one. If you want to know how to find a good candidate for a relationship, take a look at my previous post Dating 101: Finding Our Prince while Kissing the least possible amount of Frogs There is so much to learn in order to have lasting love in a relationship and marriage! Let me know if you have any more advice in the comments!