Couples making it to their 50-year anniversary are rare, and those who are still happily married and in love are more rare. There are many secrets you can learn from these long-term sweethearts that can help you go the distance in your own relationship. Take the opportunity to ask those questions on or after the anniversary to harvest the wisdom of a couple who reached this milestone.
A couple’s history can provide some interesting elements to their story. Start with questions such as, “How did you meet?” “When did you know that you were in love?” and “What has been the hardest and easiest elements of staying married?” The couple can provide more information about their lives and how historical events such as civil rights, wars and economic woes affected the marriage. The couple can pass along insight by answering, “What are two or three of the most critical things you wish you had known when you got married?” A simple, direct question for these couples is, “How did you do it?”
His and Her Views
Asking each spouse personal questions can add differing perspectives from the male and female point of view. Questions for the wife could include, “What is the most important thing for a wife to know?” or “How do you balance the needs of being a mom, a wife and an employee?” For the husband, you could ask, “What is the best advice you can give to husbands and fathers?” or “How has the role of husbands changed, and what would you suggest new husbands focus on to maintain a happy home?”
There is no question that long-term couples know something about conflict. Sarah Holley, an assistant psychology professor, wanted to know the secret to resolving conflict in a long-term marriage. In a July 2013 "Huffington Post" marriage advice column, she talks about the answers she gleaned from 127 couples she followed for years about a variety of topics, such as what areas they have learned they can't agree on and what issues they have learned to agree to disagree on to keep the peace. You can ask a long-term couple what subjects cause the most disagreements and whether they have topics they refuse to discuss because they will never agree. Additionally, ask what methods they use to reach an equitable solution to a disagreement.
Regrets and Do-Overs
Everyone makes decisions and choices that they might regret after a time, and that information from a long-term married couple might help you avoid their mistakes. Asking what a couple would like to go back and do over can include more than just their relationship, extending to how they relate to their children. Your last do-over question can be, “If you had it all to do over again, what would you like to change most?”
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Rev. Kathryn Rateliff Barr has taught birth, parenting, vaccinations and alternative medicine classes since 1994. She is a pastoral family counselor and has parented birth, step, adopted and foster children. She holds bachelor's degrees in English and history from Centenary College of Louisiana. Studies include midwifery, naturopathy and other alternative therapies.
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