The Secret to a Lasting Marriage

As I’ve mentioned in my previous posts, last week was my in-law’s Diamond Wedding Anniversary, sixty long years of being together.  I don’t even think they ever spent a night away from the other, apart from of course the time when my father-in-law had to have his gallstones removed.  Other than that, as far as I know, they have never been apart.

The day before the celebration,  I asked my mother-in-law if she could share the secret to a lasting marriage.  She laughed and said “Nothing really”.  After awhile turned serious and shared a few pointers which I’m sure you have all heard before.  It really is no secret, but I still thing it’s worthy enough to share or perhaps this could be like some sort of reminder to married couples?

So let me share with you the Four Important Things I learned from my Mother-in-Law :

Have things in common:

My in-laws met at church.  This was before my father-in-law went away to university.  She had to wait till he finished before they got married.  Aside from church, they also share the same love for books and reading.  They also like to travel a lot and have even visited warm countries.  I mention this because in spite of her aversion to heat, they still visited many Mediterranean countries and even Africa.

I found it a bitt sad though when they said that their trips abroad are over and didn’t even bother to renew their passports.  At 80+ insurance for them is very high and instead they continue to do their trips around their home-country, at least two to three times a year. And lastly, like me and my husband, they too are homebodies.  I sometimes think that we are their younger version.

Although of course there are also couples out there who are opposites and yet their relationship/marriage works.

Compromise but …

Of course, people always say in marriage, or for any relationship to work, compromise is of utmost importance.  She added though that it shouldn’t be difficult to make or do and what struck me, was what she said next which to me seemed a bit of like a contradiction.

Learn to dig in your heels

While compromise is important, learning to dig in your heels when you feel that you must should also be done. I was a bit taken aback with this, especially since she’s from that generation where women stayed at home, didn’t go to further education and didn’t question their husbands.  But clearly, here is a woman who knew her mind.  I shouldn’t be surprised actually, because she’s always done her own thing.

She recalled how one day, after walking her son to school, while pushing her daughter’s pram, she was suddenly engulfed with a sadness so heavy it actually made it difficult for her to walk.  She wondered,  “Is this my life?  Is this all that I am?”  That’s when she decided to take her life in her own hands, went to night school, got her degree and became a teacher, although knowing my father-in-law, he  must have wholeheartedly supported her decision.  I guess that’s what she meant when she said, learning to dig in your heels and saying – This is what I want.  This is what I’m going to do!  

Plodding on

Plodding on was actually the first thing she said when I asked her what the secret was. “Oh you just plod on Dean”, she said smiling.  I think I’d like to add though that when the going gets rough, that’s when you plod on.  You don’t just give up, pack your stuff, slam the door and walk out of your marriage.  Instead you plod on.  Do what you have to do to deal with whatever problem there is, whether it’s through silence and delving into your self before dealing with it again.  It’s your call.  But the important thing is, you both plod on … together.

And if you’re both lucky, you might also be celebrating your 60 years of plodding on together.  Here in the UK, you even get a card from the Queen of England and signed by her royal highness herself.  See photo below.

I would like to add another one which my mother said to me once.  “Marry a friend.  Love sometimes comes and goes.  But with friendship, it will always last.  And when the love goes, the friendship should resurface and that should glue things together till the love comes back

My husband and I so far are doing great.  We’ve got all four nailed, especially number one.  It’s interesting to add that, the first time my father-in-law met me, he told my then boyfriend that we were soul mates.  I was shocked, because if you knew my father-in-law, you wouldn’t think that he was the type who said things like “soul mates”.  Upon first meeting he’s the kind of man, you would automatically address as “Sir”.  Yes sir, that kind.

And we are friends too.  My husband calls me his best-friend and I feel guilty sometimes when little T asks me “Who is your best-friend mum?”  And instead of saying your dad, I mention my friend in the States who’ve always been my best-friend.  But yes, he is also my best-friend. You can have more than one right? We laugh at the silliest things and like each other’s company and of course, we also annoy each other too.  But that’s part of any friendship or marriage right?

Anyway, since today is  Valentine’s day (even though I’m not really a big fan of this occasion), to all the couples out there, married or not, I propose a toast to plodding on.

Happy Valentines Day!

Do you have any tips/secret to share?

This post is linked-up with #PoCoLo


  1. How wonderful to be celebrating sixty years – I had no idea you got a card from the Queen! All your mother-in-law’s tips sound great, especially plodding on!

    • Thanks! Yes, she is a wonderful woman. One that I really admire 🙂 And yes, you do get a card from the Queen. My sister-in-law though had to get in touch with Buckingham (who ever is in-charge of that kind of thing) and then they send the card and make sure that the recipient receives it on the day itself. While my in-law’s are not exactly royalists, I think they were very pleased with the card 🙂

  2. suzanne3childrenandit

    What a great post! Learning to compromise is probably the thing I’ve struggled with the most…..digging my heels in has always been a speciality! I have a linky over on my blog this week about love/marriage and a series of guest posts. Why not link this one up? It would fit perfectly….

  3. Life in the Wylde West

    Your mother-n-law is really an amazing lady! I loved reading her advice and how she went back to school and stuff, so inspiring. Plus I remember a long while back I posted something about my best friend “motorcycle man” and I remember you telling me just that ”Marry a friend. Love sometimes comes and goes. But with friendship, it will always last. And when the love goes, the friendship should resurface and that should glue things together till the love comes back“ What a great post for today, I always love wisdom of ones who have been there, done that and had success!

    • Yes, she’s one of the women I really admire and take inspiration from. It was my mom who said “Marry a friend…” I’m just so glad I followed her advice. And looks like you married your best-friend too! 🙂

  4. Kate @ Did That Just Happen?

    How lovely! I remember my grandparents 50th anniversary and how full of love I was just by watching them. I think it’s great that little T has all of those wonderful relationships as an example in her life!

    • I love grandparents. I lost mine early, both sides. So I’m really pleased that she’s close to both, though doesn’t really see much of my parents except on Skype.

  5. krissottoh

    Great post Dean – love the thought of ‘plodding on’! And I agree that compromise and friendship are very needed ingredients in a marriage.

  6. Victoria Welton (@VicWelton)

    This is such a wonderful post and I am so with your MIL on the compromise but dig your heels in. This is one of the wonderful dynamics about mine and Ross’ relationship. I love this post 🙂 Thank you for linking to PoCoLo x

    • I definitely agree with the compromise and yet also learning how to dig-in-your heels when you know it’s an absolute must 🙂 As always, it’s a pleasure to link-up with #PoCoLo.

  7. Sarah Anne @skimmedmiilk

    Loved this post! And I was happy to see that we’re ticking the boxes so far, so I hope we’ll be celebrating a big anniversary in years to come, just like your in-laws.


  8. suzanne3childrenandit

    What a truly lovely post Dean. I am in totally agreement with your MIL but especially her last point. It’s not all hearts and flowers and excitement, marriage can be trudging along too sometimes. Important to remember that. x x

    • Yes, my mother-in-law is definitely a smart woman 😉 I”m ver fond of her. x

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