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Question Married a long time?  Share advice that makes your marriage work after many years.   Answers Be the right person.   Annnnnd that person is: accepting, gracious, slow to anger, kind, unselfish, forgiving, flexible, trusting, positive and hopeful.   I have never once spoken ill of my husband in public. Anything I have to say to him, I have to say to   him. No other audience can solve the issue: only the two of us can. Thus I simply do not air our problems. And, listen, we're human: obviously we have our share of problems. 🙂   It doesn't hurt to like and admire the attributes of your spouse. This will take you through those smelly-feet,-uncouth-remark,-wrong-side-of-the-bed days.   One of the practices that I think has contributed to DH and me staying together through high tide and low is that we have the habit of giving each other gifts of experience (AKA gifts of self) rather than material goods. For instance, we hike to a new mountain top or cycle somewhere new to celebrate milestones. But we haven't exchanged store bought gifts in decades. We find gifts of self to have the most value. Those days when you are in danger of drowning in discontent, believe me, shared experiences will become the raft keeping your love afloat. To me, that's worth every diamond pendant in the world.     Where I think marriages begin to fall apart is when one of the partners begins to feel or they begin to think they   no longer can "say certain things to him or her".   With the loss of my 23-year marriage, regardless of who was right or wrong, I can now see that in the top five   "long term"   successful marriages, "friendship"   MUST   be in the top five, not in any specific order, but my opinion "friendship" would be in the top 5. I really don't want to get much into the "divorce" theory stuff on this post, but I think it will help reinforce as to why the "friendship" is   KEY   in any   successful marriage.   Epster, what I like about your post is that you seem to have clear visions of what you expect out of your partner and you probably communicated your expectations, and that's half the battle is when we "men" know what a woman expects. I am not saying we "men" need to know everything and I agree some mystery needs to be left to the imagination for the marriage growth, but some major hints upfront would be nice........................................and contrary to what every woman thinks....................................."we men cannot read minds!".......................................................I know, it's a shocker to   hear a man admit   that men are not like the "Great and Powerful Oz", just kidding, humor  you have to love it back to serious............ ...................................................and vice versa as I am sure there are many women out that don't want to be second guessing if they are doing right or wrong in their marriage, so we "men" need to say what we mean, and mean what we say.....................and NOT just walk into the room and say "The Great OZ has spoken" and then just walk away from our partner with no further discussion or input from them.    Annnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnd...................that brings me back to the   friendship   thing.   I think many married/divorced couples I have spoken with either got separated mentally somewhere in the marriage, and it seems to always boil down to "expectations", or more so leads to the "lack of understanding" towards those expectations.    Once again, I think one of the key aspects of any "long-term relationship" is that some level of friendship is included in that relationship. I have seen both man to man, and woman to woman that are just good   old long-term friendships   that have from time to time, they have lied to each other, hurt each other, and even some of the man to man friendships beat the heck out of each other, but.........................somehow, someway, they talk it out, they forgive each other and they become better and closer friends (in most cases, not all).    So why is it that marriages seem to fail to get over those same hurdles as compared to common friendship problems?.........................................and here comes that word again, all leads back to the marriage having the "lack of friendship", which in turn leads to less communication and eventually turning that marriage into another statistic failure.     Yes: we started as best friends, telling each other everything — our hopes and hurts, exposing our frailties and fears. We continue as such all these many years later, though of course those hopes and hurts, frailties and fears have changed.     We still want the absolute best for each other and that, I think, drives this marriage.   Maybe what we have is just an old-fashioned marriage, I don't know.      Me and Ma have been married 3 decades going on 4. It hasn’t all been a walk in the park. Many, many years ago she helped me to find my true north and any success I’ve had in life I have her to thank for it.   I think patience, laughing often together, and being true to each other has been the key ingredients in our love potion.     If you made a commitment to God and your partner — keep it come hell or high water.  Period. Worked for me for 33 years nowj.     Get to know each other before the wedding, not after. Men, don't be so much of a man that you can't admit when you're wrong. Always consider her feelings. 
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