Couples Married 25 Years Reveal What It Takes To Be Together That Long

What long-term couples want new couples to know about longevity.

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People married for 25 years like to talk about the secret sauce in their long-term relationship. When asked about the secret ingredient for a lasting relationship, several agree that while there are numerous recipes to use, there are some unique ingredients, which help the sauce to simmer. Let’s see what they say. Here are the 4 ingredients on how to have a happy marriage that lasts.

What people who've been married 25 years want young couples to know about what it takes to be together that long:

1. You need to be friends first

"You need to be friends first," says Tammye. Linda says, "Marry for the right reasons and be best friends. True friendship is a common ingredient to a successful marriage." "When you're friends first, you know the good, bad, and the ugly," says Janet. "When the kids have left and it’s just you and your wife, she needs to be your best buddy," says Jeff.


When asked if it was a disaster if you aren’t good friends first, Jim disagrees and says, "I only knew my wife for six weeks, before we married. I knew she was the one when I first saw her. She didn’t know it, but I did. Our friendship grew through marriage and 50 years later, I wouldn't change a thing.” Whether friends first or the friendship develops during the relationship, friendship is an essential ingredient in a lasting relationship.



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2. Marriage requires give and take

"Marriage requires give and take. It’s a partnership and takes understanding," says Mike.  Kelly says, "You have to put a lot of work in with your partner." "It’s about compromise, understanding, trust, and of course, a little fun," says Debbie. "When you marry, it’s not all about you it’s about them," says Jennifer.

Glenda says, "Compromise, think of your spouse first." Being with someone who is selfish is a miserable experience, and quite frequently those relationships do not last. It’s not healthy for one person to accommodate all the time. The old saying is true: "It takes two to tango." Do you want to keep your spouse happy? Learn to compromise. It’s fun to watch them enjoy themselves, and the enjoyment is contagious.

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3. Every person shows affection differently

Physical affection, acts of service, and compliments are all diverse ways people show their affection. "Never quit holding hands," says Yvette. "Never stop kissing," says Joyce. What about acts of service? "There is nothing hotter than a man vacuuming," says Cari. Running errands, going to the grocery store, mowing the yard, and cooking a nice dinner are all ways to show acts of service.




Even after 25 years, compliments are always welcome. "Hearing how beautiful you look or how pretty you are, never gets old," says Tracy. Compliments are not just reserved for the females. "When I call her, she will say ‘How is my handsome husband today," says Bob.  While the type of affection is not a distinct spice in the marriage recipe, the right spice for the right occasion with the right couple is one to keep on the spice rack.

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4. Respect is crucial

People in long-term relationships agree respect is crucial to a lasting relationship. Respect is admiration or holding someone in high esteem. "Disagreements will happen. Expect it, so you’re prepared. Treat each other respectfully and hear each other out. It’s even okay to agree to disagree. Just be sure to move on and move forward; no grudges," says Cari. When your partner respects you, they appreciate you and what you bring to the relationship. 


Ruby knew more about respect and admiration in a relationship than anyone I’ve known. Small in stature, but wise in words she had the right words for any situation. Married at 16, she moved into his house where his brothers and father lived with them. It was 1928 and nothing was easy, but the mutual respect they had for each shined for 52 years. When discussing a potential marriage, she asked a compelling question, "Do you like him?"

I responded with, "Yes, I love him." "I didn’t ask if you loved him, I asked if you liked him. If you want your marriage to last, you’ve got to like them and like them a lot. You won’t always love them, but if you like them, you’ll respect them, and that’s what makes it work. That’s what will you get through the rough times."

What a powerfully simple concept; like them to love them. It was profound yet as simple as adding salt and pepper to any recipe. People married for 25 years love to share. Just ask and listen to the words of wisdom. The secret sauce is a unique blend of familiar ingredients; friendship, compromise, affection, and respect. Put your twist on the herbs and spices, and you will have a relationship that simmers for years to come.


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Brenda Descamps is a Board Certified Coach, Certified Divorce Transition Coach, and a seasoned HR professional with 30 years of experience in talent management, talent strategy, business coaching, and more.