What separates the marriages that dissolve from the marriages that stand the test of time? And, what can you and your significant other do to ensure that you will still be together and celebrating 10, 20, 30, 40 or even 50 years?!

Well, over the years we’ve heard so much relationship and marriage advice, you could call it a wedding industry professional hazard! 

So, we’ve decided to take the time to compile a collection of the most repeated and most life changing marriage advice we’ve heard, from couples who have been married for 10+ years, and are still happy in their relationship.

Have Realistic Expectations of Romantic Love and Relationships

There’s a reason that in ancient times, people generally considered love a kind of sickness. Parents warned their children against falling into it, and adults often quickly arranged marriages before their children were old enough to make decisions in the blind throes of passion. But, true abiding love, the kind that is deep, is impervious to sudden emotional whims or flights of fancy. It is instead a constant commitment to a person regardless of present circumstances. It’s a constant commitment to a person who doesn’t solely exist to make you happy, as well as a person who will need to rely on you, just as you will rely on them.

This kind of love is much more challenging, because it often doesn’t feel good all the time. It’s often unglamorous. It’s doctor’s visits, it’s dealing with another person’s insecurities and fears even when you don’t want to. But this form of love is also ultimately far more satisfying and meaningful… not just another series of highs.

Communication is Important, But Respect Supersedes it!

One of the things we hear most from people with happy marriages going on 20, 30, or even 40 years is to always come to your relationship with respect. I often get the sense that these people, through sheer amount of experience, have learned that communication will have breakdowns at some point, conflicts are unavoidable and feelings will be hurt at times.

But unwavering respect for your partner can cushion you both to the hard landing of human fallibility. It’s in fact crucial that you hold each other in high esteem, believe in one another and trust that your partner is doing his/her best with what they’ve got. Without that bedrock of respect, you will begin to develop doubts about each other’s intentions. You will judge your partner’s choices, and infringe on their independence, or you will feel the need to hide things from one another for fear of criticism. And this will be when the cracks in the edifice of your marriage will begin to appear.

Learn to Ride the Waves of Your Relationship

This is a sentiment we’ve heard countless times over the years: relationships exist as waves, and people need to learn how to ride them. Meaning that in relationships, just like in the ocean, there are constant waves of emotion going on. Some waves last for hours, some last for months, some might even last for years. The key to relationship success is to understand that very few of those waves have anything to do with the quality of your relationship, but are part of the collective human experience. Meaning…people lose jobs, loved ones die, couples relocate, many switch careers, some make a lot of money, or lose a lot of money. But, your job as a committed partner is to ride the waves with the person you love, regardless of where they go. Because ultimately, none of these waves last. Soon enough the swell will stop, and you’ll be sitting in still, clear water together.