6 Secrets for Successful Relationships (from our guest couples!)
Do you ever wonder how some couples do it?
As a luxury bed and breakfast, we have lots of couples stay with us for their romantic getaways. After over 10 years of guests, we’ve seen every stage of a relationship. In fact, we’ve had the privilege of planning special events from romantic proposals all the way to 50 year anniversaries.
After seeing all of these couples come and go, we can’t help but ask the age old question…how do you two do it? What is your secret to staying in a loving, healthy relationship?
We’ve compiled some advice from a few of our guests that have successfully maintained long-term, romantic relationships. Check out their secrets to success!
(Please note, names have been changed to respect the privacy of our guests.)
Check out the 6 Secrets to Successful Relationships, from our very own guest couples!
1. Be Nice to Each Other
This one may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s amazing how rare kindness is today, even between couples.
James and Susan T. share their thoughts on kindness…
Susan: “Just because we have a strong intimacy, does not mean I can say whatever I want to him. I think it’s the exact opposite. It’s because I have the deeper intimacy that I should be even kinder than I would to others.”
James: “Yeah, I agree. I think it’s just awful that people choose to be very polite to strangers while treating their significant other with none of that same courtesy.”
Cindy and Frank R shared something similar…
Cindy: “Honestly, for me, it comes down to the ability to be vulnerable. If we can’t be vulnerable with each other because we’re afraid of being hurt, then we will immediately lose our connection. Our relationship will suffer because we’re always on defense.”
Frank: “We’re nothing without that connection. Kindness is really important in keeping it strong.”
2. It’s All About the Little Things
We had a couple celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary with us. So, of course, we had to ask how they stayed together for so many years.
Michael and Helen D. share their advice after 50 years…
Michael: “Honestly, it’s about being there in the day-to-day. We tend to think about relationship success as a big accomplishment that you achieve one day. But in reality, the success comes from being consistent. Life, and relationships, are made up of a million little things, with some big events thrown in. If you can be present and consistent in what people consider to be ‘mundane’, that trust will carry you through the big events, too.
Helen:”I know that’s not very glamorous advice! But, now that we’ve been through it, that’s what we’ve found to be true.”
3. Don’t Go to Bed Angry
Communication is key in all healthy relationships.
Derrick and Candace S. talk about their communication habits…
Candace: “We make it a rule not to go to bed angry. I know we’ve heard this one a million times, but it’s made all the difference for us. If I go to bed angry, it’s because there’s something we haven’t talked about that we really need to talk about.”
Derrick: “It always seems like our relationship suffers when we’re not talking or holding something back. But when we’re communicating, we can work through anything.”
4. Teamwork is Key!
Do you think of your current relationship as a team?
Sarah and Maggie P. give their take on teamwork…
Maggie: “At the beginning of our relationship, I wanted to take everything on myself. I wanted to show that I was important and needed. So, I would try to do the cooking AND the budget AND the laundry. This came from my own personal insecurities at the time, but it really affected our relationship, too.”
Sarah: “Especially because she is terrible at folding laundry!”
Maggie: “It’s true. I hate folding laundry. It’s so tedious!”
Sarah: “So, we decided to play to our strengths and split up different activities based on our strengths and what we enjoyed doing.”
Maggie: “That means, Sarah does the laundry now.”
Sarah: “And I’m awful with numbers, so Maggie handles the budget.”
Maggie: “But this was more than just a practical split up of tasks. It really was an outer manifestation of the trust and interdependence we were growing in our relationship.”
Sarah: “We had become a team!”
5. Take Time for Yourself
Relationship advice columns usually focus on how to care for the other person in the relationship, but few talk about the importance of self-care in a long-term relationship.
Debbie and Jose S. give their advice on self-care…
Debbie: “A few months after we got married, I was really feeling depressed and unhappy. I really didn’t know where this was coming from…I mean, I was a happily married newly-wed! I knew it wasn’t our relationship causing it, but I knew that it would affect our relationship eventually. So, one day, I went to Jose and said ‘I think I need therapy!’ He was really supportive of me.”
Jose: “I just wanted her to be happy and healthy.”
Debbie: “I can’t tell you the difference it made. The more secure I became, the stronger our marriage grew. Not everyone may need to see a therapist, like I did. But, I think everyone needs to remember to take care of themselves. There is nothing selfish about self-compassion.”
6. Learn to Appreciate Differences
Everyone is different. However, instead of tolerating those differences, it’s important to learn to appreciate them.
Sammy and Jason R. explain how they use their differences to strengthen their relationship…
Sammy: “Here’s an example…Jason is an organizer. I know that seems like role-reversal but he’ll go into the kitchen on a Saturday, pull everything out of the cabinets, and re-organize everything. At the beginning of our relationship, that would drive me crazy. I never knew where the bowls were!”
Jason: “We had a really small kitchen when were first married. I was trying to make it efficient.”
Sammy: “He re-organized our bedroom closet 7 TIMES the first two years of our marriage. It was a running joke with our friends and family.”
Jason: “It was much better afterwards!”
Sammy: “You’re right…it really was much easier to find everything. And that’s what I had to learn. We are different. He likes order and efficiency and I am more of a spontaneous, ‘lets get this done’, mess-maker. Which I know drives him crazy.”
Jason: “I always have something to organize.”
Sammy: “We learned more about the differences in our personality styles and instead of seeing them as “incompatibilities”, we embraced them as gifts. Our differences make us stronger. They make us more complete. It was really just a mindset change we had to make. We decided to start appreciating our differences.”
Jason: “It helped us take advantage of our different strengths, while strengthening our shortcomings. That’s pretty efficient, I think.”
Do you think you’ll use any of the advice from our successful couples in your own life? Let us know what you found most helpful in the comments below!