Couples Who've Been Together Forever Share Tips for a Lasting Marriage

Husband and wife sharing champagne toast

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Everyone wants the secret to a healthy, happy, long-lasting marriage. So we asked 15 husbands and wives—who've been married for more than 15 years!—to share their best advice for making your marriage last through the years. Here's what they had to say.

"We tell all newly married couples the key to a long-lasting marriage is that they have to remain best friends and not allow anything nor anyone else to take that place."—Rick, married 34 years

"When we got married, we agreed to never go to bed mad or upset with ourselves or with each other. Not letting each other go to sleep forces us to resolve the situation, and it works for us because every night when we go to bed, we know that, no matter what—can't pay the bills, disciplining a child, extended family crisis, or other bumps in life—we care and love one another and wake up in the morning facing a new day together."—Victoria, married 33 years

"Each partner must work hard to develop an easy-going, don't-sweat-the-small-stuff attitude. Why? This will make it easier for each partner to be nice to the other and focus on the positives. There will be less need to bring up issues, which can lead to heated conflicts and relationship killers like criticism and contemptuous remarks."—Brad, married 15 years

"Keep it fun. Never allow yourself to get bored with one another. Why does this work? It makes your mind think about the next thing rather than the old problems."—Shannon, married 21 years

"When you get home at night, greet each other with a 'hello' like you mean it. No perfunctory greeting while perusing Facebook, answering a text, or checking email. Make eye contact. Shut off the electronics. Hug. Kiss. Smile at each other. This habit serves as a visual cue that time at home is special, worth preserving, and something you both hold as sacred."—Iris, married 39 years

"You have to love the person and enjoy his company. Whether he makes you laugh or not, if you can tolerate each other's oddities, including forgiving his personality and charms, life is good enough to last with that person."—Mary, married 31 years

"Learn to snuggle."—Nina, married 41 years

"Know that you are in your marriage together. You are a team, not opponents. Encourage each other for your individual goals and work together for mutual goals. This way no one feels as if they gave up their dreams for the other person and have regrets later on in life."—Taffy, married 20 years

"Work on projects you both care about together. It works because your shared passion for a cause continues to give you new things to respect about your partner and sharing a purpose beyond even home and family makes you feel like you really are a twosome that can't be separated."—Tracy, married 21 years

"Honor one another's individuality. Celebrate each other's unique interests, goals, rhythms. It works because when we truly feel like our spouse is honoring us for who we are, and respecting our one-of-a-kind selves, we shine. I think too many people can so easily impose their own agendas on their spouses, which squelches joy, creativity, and feelings of peace, and that is when resentment builds and communication breaks down."—Marybeth, married 17 years

"Respect. We do not go bashing each other to our friends. There is a clear difference between confiding in a friend or asking for advice for a problem versus saying—or worse, posting!—something like, 'Ugh, guess which idiot forgot to take out the trash again?'"—Brandy, married 16 years

"Empathy! Have your partners' happiness and well-being as a priority because in a loving relationship—it's actually something that gives you happiness as well."—Sherrie, married 26 years

"Don't think that the other person can make you happy. It is your own responsibility to take care of yourself and to figure out what you personally need to thrive. My husband and I support each other, have fun together, and are both pursuing our own dreams as well as our family dreams—so we don't put unrealistic expectations on the other one's ability to fulfill our every need."—Lisa, married 28 years

"Assume best intentions. Sometimes we forget to remember that we're on the same team. Resentments build and we collect evidence about why we're justified in being angry or disappointed. But when we assume that our spouse intends to be on our team—a supportive partner, a caring spouse, a good parent—we are able to see them as humans who sometimes make mistakes, and focus on the positives instead of only seeing the negatives."—Elaine, married 24 years

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