Derek Dunham

Chocolate gets eaten, flowers wither, but how do you make love last? In honor of Valentine’s Day, we asked a couple in their 80s how they’ve kept their love strong through 60 years of marriage. (Guess what? Celebrating Valentine’s Day didn’t even make the list!)

Here’s what they said:

  1. One or both should tell the other how much they are loved every day. Very important!
  1. Maintain a balance of responsibilities — which is easier said than done.
  1. Cultivate independent interests and encourage each other to do so. Too much togetherness can be a mistake.
  1. Do not criticize. Nobody is perfect. Criticism is rarely useful or effective.
  1. Talk to each other, and if there is a big topic, sit down and take time for it.
  1. Plan fun together. It is easy to neglect, but many trips and social activities require pre-planning. Spontaneity can wither away with age, which is natural. (I always  watch Monday Night Football. I eat brunch at the café every Sunday. We go to Palm Springs every winter, etc.)
  1. Try not to ventilate your problems too much to your other half. That can become a habit, but listening is wearying.
  1. Last but not least, when you catch sight of a full moon, make your partner look at it, too. Same goes for rainbows. This is an easy rule, but important.

So this year, let’s learn from the experts at love and look at a little less Monday Night Football and a few more full moons.