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Advice from happily married for 30+ years (or close)

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  • Advice from happily married for 30+ years (or close)

    PLEASE share you're advice on a happy marriage!!!!

    I'm not engaged, or married for that matter. But i might be soon, so I'd like to know a few answers to my questions.

    How did you know they were the one?
    And what is your tip on lasting HAPPILY so long?
    Did you ever doubt/want out? And was it worth sticking around for?

    And for those who split, what could you say in hind sight that was a red flag for a marriage that didn't quite last?

    Regrets? Advice?

  • Hi teenie, My 30th anniversary was last June. Before I married my husband, I was supposed to get married to someone else, but broke it off. I had been going out with that guy for four years. When it came time to get married, I just couldn't. When I looked down the road I saw us getting divorced. Our values were just too different and he wasn't willing to compromise (very stubborn). He made a great boyfriend, but I didn't think he would make a good life partner. I met my husband about a year later and married him after knowing him six months.

    So, what makes a good life partner? I think that is what you are asking.
    Someone that wants the same things out of life (that could be children, a home, a strong faith or lots of laughs. You have to figure out what is important to you).
    Someone who is willing to pull their share. No man wants 100% of the financial burden on them these days. Neither do women.
    Someone you can work things out with when things get tough - someone you can talk to. Someone who will listen to you. Someone you can reason with.
    Someone you can be yourself with and they can be themselves with you. You don't feel the need to change each other. You are loved just the way you are.
    Someone who enjoys many of the same leisure activities as you do. Not all, because then it might be a little boring, but a few is nice.
    Someone you find interesting as a person. They have hobbies and interests that interest you.
    Someone who is mentally stable and shows consistency in their thoughts, words and deeds. You can trust them.

    Lately I was reminded of all the wonderful qualities my husband posses. My marriage was tested. That guy I was supposed to marry? He came back and tried to blow my marriage out of the water about a year ago. He almost succeeded because there were some things I loved about him when I was young, and after 28 years of marriage there wasn't a lot of excitement left, but it did not happen. It didn't happen last year just as it didn't happen 32 years ago. I am very glad I chose the right guy.


    • Tem, Thank you for your advice.

      He has all of those but the last 2 he has a few blemishes in. But i fail in three of those. I do find that we are EXTREMELY compatible. I mean, give or take that we are 2 different human beings, the important things match up and i realize there has to be some form of negotiation to it.

      At the beginning of our relationship, logically, and emotionally, everything was pointing to marriage. And i regret not marrying him then. Because now i've over-thunk it. We've been together over a year and this is by no means the longest relationship i've had- but it's been the ONLY one where i've wanted to marry the guy-even if for a moment (I've always been anti-marriage, this is the only guy making me reconsider it). I have such little faith that marriage is anything other then a torturous chamber just as it was for my parents. They've been married 25 years now. And they are still miserable. And i hate it. I fear the same fate. I want to get advice to stop myself from having a miserable life. He prefers we marry but he said a life together is what he wants not a ceremony. I want to marry because of guilt, as i was RAISED religious but am currently agnostic.

      Do you just know? Because i just knew, but now I'm having doubts.

      Is doubts a red flag for a "no"?


      • teenie, I think it's a little different for everyone. What I needed and wanted in a life partner might not be what you want and need, but here goes... The biggest measure of whether or not I thought he was "the one" was whether or not I could imagine having children with him. I could not imagine having children with the boyfriend before my husband. It sounds cruel to say this, but although we had great chemistry in many ways, I just did not want him to be the father of my children. I didn't feel he was mentally strong enough. In other words, I wanted what I perceived to be a stronger man as my husband and father of my children.

        This is a very important consideration. If you marry and don't have children, it's not such a big deal. If you divorce, you just walk away from each other and may not ever see each other again. If you have children, you are bound to him for life, married or not. Can you see yourself having children with this man? Do you both either want them, or not want them? It's real important to agree on this point.

        Everyone has doubts. There is always a risk when two people get married, so I wouldn't necessarily say a doubt is a red flag. Sometimes yes, sometimes no. It sound as if you are afraid because of your parent's marriage. Do you know why your parents are miserable? If so, do you see any of that dynamic between you and your boyfriend? You can learn from your parents. Make sure the relationship you have with your boyfriend won't make you feel like you are in a prison, rather than a marriage.

        I know you say you are agnostic, but if you get married in a church sometimes the pastor puts you through a marriage counseling sort of thing. This is what happened to my me and my husband. I was converting to his religion. The six week course caused me to think about a lot of things. It was good preparation. I don't know if there is something similar for folks who have no religion, but it's worth checking out. Something like that can be very educational. I think, what happens a lot of times, is that people jump into marriage without thinking things through. Sometimes it helps to think things through with an objective third party. It's a big decision.


        • We both don't want children (it's unplanned but you never know what life throws at you despite the precautions made). I do think he would be a good father, he baby sits his niece and it warms my heart.
          I never thought of flipping and asking if i have my parents same issues. I'd only say in the fact that i worry and cause problems out of the air from worrying over problems that don't even exist, and i do see a dynamic in that i am more dominant, like my mother. Mum and dad have little affection, probably due to the fact that he betrayed my mother, and she cannot forgive him, and he wasn't romantic. He basically didn't have what she wanted and she married him anyway, not realizing, they rushed into it. He bores her and doesn't take her out. With my boyfriend and I, no betrayal..., i am hard to forgive though, he's VERY romantic, we're affectionate (probably too much), he however is the one who likes going out and i'd rather stay home- and i find this as a potential issue if i don't force myself to go out with him for him- which i can see myself being stubborn and just not wanting to go more than i care for him. I feel i need to be romanced continuously. I want to feel like the center of his universe, but not 24/7, just when I'm with him. I'm not clingy, he can have a lot of his own time just as i want mine. I guess pointing it out that way i do see how we are quite compatible, with possible potential disagreements occurring, but i doubt it would cause a divorce. I'm scared at my young age to commit.

          I was raised a roman catholic and i still attend church because my parents forbade me to not go, occasionally i "Wag" church though, without their knowledge, because it's my right to not go if i don't want to. I do, however, want to attend the pre-marriage course. I do think it would be worthwhile.

          Thank you for your advice!


          • May I ask how old you are?


            • I'm 23, nearly 24.
              Wow this is old. I've pretty much decided not to marry him...but i'm not against being defacto with him.

              If gay marriage isn't legalised it's not fair if i marry anyway.

              Also, i see marriage as a trap still. I do know that a vast majority of my happiness is due to my attitude and i see it as poor lately. So i feel that i can turn it sour, and i know i will. I'll put my happiness in his hands and if he doesn't dance i'll chuck a fit.

              So knowing this, i think it's only fair we don't marry...just incase i toss a fit.

              I'm trying to grow as a human. I don't think i am emotionally anywhere near mature enough...if he asks i'll say no. I expected him to ask so many times and i can see he desperately loves me and wants to ask for my hand in marriage badly. I know he is hurting because he wants me so badly. The topic of marriage makes him really sad. So i've stopped mentioning it at all, making it a taboo topic all together, i won't mention if other people get married or if people in movies do, etc, to spare him.

              It's just a ring and contract!!!

              I'll just be with him, until i'm not. If i put too much stress on it i'll kill myself from anxiety so i'm just going with it. It's nearly 2 years now. What babies we are.


              • I think you are right - you are "not emotionally anywhere near mature enough" and you are being a baby. Marriage is much more than just a ring and a contract. It is a comittment to each other and to yourself. If you keep on bringing up the mention of marriage to him, knowing full-well that he wants to get married, then you are just stringing him along. My advise would be to leave while you still have the option of leaving, find someone that fits in better with your life-style and let him go out and find someone that will truly be there for him.
                That which we forget may as well never really happened.


                • Agree Claret. Marriage is the vow of being there for that person emotionally, physically, and religiously (not everyone religiously tho) for the rest of your life, even if things get hard. It is a promise. You will be supportive, you will take care of them when they are sick, you will not put material possessions before him even if it means having $0, and you will be faithful. It's really is not something to take lightly and what you're saying about "just a ring and a contract" is why our divorce rate is at 50%. People just don't take it seriously anymore.

                  If you don't think you can promise that and you know he wants to get married, I would suggest leaving before you hurt him more than you already will.

                  I am not saying you two cannot be together without marriage...that is awesome, but both need to want the same thing. I was in a 4-year relationship. I wanted to get married...he didn't. I was so hurt once he finally broke it off and felt i wasted 4 years of my life. (which i didnt because they were lessons learned, but very HARD lessons)


                  • I meant marriage is just a ring nad a contract difference from defacto.
                    I'm not emotionally mature, yes. I know i handle things the wrong way, i need to grow as a person. I would argue that i'm not really stringing him along if i want to be with him. Yes, i commit myself, so many in marriage do. But the way i see it, is if we do break up, not having a wedding first will make it that much easier to split. People in marriage split all the time. I'm so deathly serious about marriage that any one flaw will turn me away.
                    This is to say that i perhaps take marriage TOO seriously, wouldn't you think?

                    I've let him know the deal. The deal that i am not sure if we will last, and that i will work on us until i can't anymore- because that is how i roll. And he knows this. He is still willing to be with me. It's not that i don't care for him. We match so well together, we're quite perfect for one another....i jsut would really like to mature so that i can handle a serious commitment like marriage before i actually make the promise to do so.

                    Well some days i think "Yes, he is so perfect, i SHOULD marry him!" and others i'm like "but how come i feel so hurt today? I don't knwo if i can take a lifetime of this"- but knowing that somehow i shouldn't be hurt by what he did anyway. I do wish that i could marry him and stop worrying so much and just have it work out nicely, but i have no guarentee, and that scares me.

                    He said a marriage isn't necessary, just a lifetime together is. So i'm making him happy by staying with him, he just never wants me to leave. I love that he loves me so much.And i love him back but i get confused over how i feel about certain things and i wonder if he is really the one, should i be feeling this way?



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