30 Pieces Of Marriage Advice From Couples Married 30+ Years

Photo: Sabrina Bracher / Shutterstock
older couple having fun driving in their car with the top down

Ever wanted to hear from a trusted board of advisors about sustaining long-term love?

Well, you’re in luck.

I searched high and low to find thirty couples who had been happily married for over thirty years and asked them what one piece of marriage advice they would give to anyone who is still single and/or in a newer relationship.

The following is a compilation of highlights from what they had to say.

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Without further ado, here are thirty pieces of relationship advice on love and life from couples happily married for over thirty years.

Marriage Advice From Older Couples Who've Been Married More Than 30 Years

1. Don't keep score.

“Don’t keep score. Scorekeeping will ruin a marriage. And it’s impossible to do anyway. You can’t know all of the millions of little things your partner does for you, so keeping score is just an immature way of building up a case for you to justify your childish resentment.” —Dianna

2. Don't be afraid of loving too much.

“Don’t be afraid to be the one who loves more. Either for a phase of your relationship or overall. The point is what you give to the relationship, not what you get from it.” — John

3. Do things together.

Do something every day that will give your partner a reason to be with you the next day.” — Allison

4. Make time for intimacy.

Schedule sex. Just do it. It sounds boring and awful and like something old people need to do, but there are a growing amount of responsibilities in life, and sometimes you have to fight like hell to keep sex on the table.” — Samantha

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5. Be willing to do the inner work continually.

“It feels generous to say that I was happily married for more than thirty years because while I have been married for over thirty years, and I am currently extremely happy in my marriage, not all thirty of the years were completely blissful. Marriage is a sacred container that will bring up your deepest wounding, which has been true in my relationship. So yes, long-term marital bliss is possible, but I want to express to others that it comes at a cost. And that cost is that you will have to look inwards and do some very honest, hard work. Don’t expect all sunshine and rainbows. Marriage is confronting stuff. And it is also worth it. I wouldn’t trade my husband for anything or anyone in the world.” — Kimberly

6. If you have kids, parent as a team.

“Having kids is hard work. Only do it if you love, trust, and respect your partner deeply. And always parent as a united front. Kids will test you endlessly and try to go behind your back to mix you up. Don’t let them. Stand your ground, and be your partner’s #1 ally.” — Don

7. Don't speak out of anger.

“Some people say, ‘Never go to bed mad.’ I couldn’t disagree more. I mean, sure, avoid it if you can. If you can squash an argument promptly, then do it. But sometimes, going to bed angry allows you to bite your tongue in an appropriate way and then wake up with a clear head. Sometimes sleeping on it is the correct course of action.” — Ken

8. Choose kindness every time.

“Above all else, I would say this: choose a kind partner. That is the most important thing I could impart to anyone earlier in their courtship. If you choose a kind partner, everything else is easier down the road.” — Susan

9. Be willing to compromise.

“Know that compromise is inevitable in a multi-decade relationship. Maybe you want one kid, and they want three. Or you want two cats, and they want zero. There will be hundreds, if not thousands, of instances where one of you will have to acquiesce to the other's desires. This is natural. Don’t avoid these conversations. Lean in, and focus on how much you get, overall, from being with this person.” — Joseph

10. Don't forget the little things.

“Pay attention to the details. If she mentions she likes something or wants something, write it down, so you know what to get her for her next birthday/Christmas gift. Plug in her phone at night, so it’s always fully charged. Do the dishes without being asked and without drawing attention to them. Just be a good person, and give her your energy.” — Cam

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11. Keep your sex life alive.

Make sex a priority. There may be short periods of your marriage where decreased sex is unavoidable (newborns, travel, start-ups, etc.), but consistently put energy into ensuring that you’re sexually connecting with each other. Everything flows better when you’re making love at least every week.” — Rebecca

12. Keep an open mind and heart.

“Be kind, put in the effort, and don’t stress too much. If you picked the right person for you, it’ll all work out for you in the end.” — James

13. Define the roles in the home.

“Be explicit about the roles that you both play in your household. My husband and I found a lot of relief in directly naming who was expected to do most of the dishes (or laundry, chauffeuring the kids around, or organizing dinners with friends, etc.). The more directly you talk about this stuff, the lower the likelihood that either of you will ever resent the other for doing/not doing what you secretly want them to be doing.” — Tess

14. Respect that bodies change as you age.

“The quality of your sex life will ebb and flow at different parts of your marriage. Don’t worry. Your marriage isn’t broken or different. This is natural.” — Trevor

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15. Don't be afraid to talk about finances.

“Something I wish someone had told me before I got married would be this: marry someone financially stable. Or, at least, not financially reckless. There’s so much stress that comes from not having your shared finances in order, and so much freedom and spaciousness that comes from having money sorted.” — Renata

16. Communicate your sexual needs.

“The main thing I would want people to know is that they should talk about their sex life with their partner. My wife and I didn’t do this until well into our marriage (more than 15 years in), and I wish we had done it sooner. It marked a new chapter in the depth of our relationship.” — Ray

17. Value and learn from every situation — good and bad.

“Nothing will make your relationship flourish more than regularly meditating on the fact that your relationship is about growth above all else. If they’re pissing you off, there’s something to learn there. If you have a difficult time bringing a specific emotion to them, then that’s something to grow into. See it all as feedback, all of it as valuable, and all of it as being something for you to utilize and grow through.” — Mary

18. Explore each other.

“Be more open to exploring sexually with your partner than you may have when you first entered the relationship. You can go much deeper with a partner when you’ve been with them for a long time versus how deep you may have gone with short-term partners from before you were married. It’s a completely different ballpark.” — Patrick

19. Take care of yourself.

“Respect yourself and your partner enough to remain physically attractive to each other. Go to the gym, put on make-up, and dress nicely. Do whatever you need to do to keep putting in the effort.” — Janeen

20. Always tell the truth, no matter what.

“I would recommend that couples have an overarching policy of ‘You can bring me any truth you need to, no matter how difficult it might be to bring to me.’ This policy can save you from so much pain, lost time, and wishy-washy mind reading.” — Hannah

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21. Don't let your ego get in the way.

“Let go of arguments quickly. Even if you know you’re right. It doesn’t matter. It just doesn’t matter. 99% of the things you fight about will be completely irrelevant, and it’s better just to let go and come back into harmony. It’s a relationship, not a battle for your egos!” — Jessica.

22. Decompress together after a long day.

“My wife and I have a ritual that others could benefit from. Every day, whenever I come home from work, we always start off our conversation by answering the question, ‘What’s the best thing that happened to you today?’ We don’t do this because we gloss over the fact that we also have struggles or low days, but rather to simply be in the habit of starting with positivity. It helps us a lot, and I always look forward to it.” — Renaldo.

23. Touch each other every day.

“Something my partner and I started doing over five years ago was we committed to engaging with each other sexually every day. Yes, literally every day! This doesn’t mean that we have penetration every day. Sometimes being sexual means kissing each other’s genitals goodnight, making out a little when he gets home from work, or doing a few minutes of massage in the morning. It’s our little way of keeping the sexual simmer alive in our marriage, and it has worked wonders for us.” — Beth.

24. Take vacations together.

“Every year of your relationship, even if you have children, go for a 1-on-1 vacation together. Just the two of you. Even if it’s only for 3 days, it’s worth the effort.” — Charles.

25. Don't hold things in.

“Passion is a function of communication. If you aren’t regularly speaking truth to each other and letting your individual inner worlds be known, then you’ll just be going through the motions.” — Arlene

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26. Be there for each other as life shifts.

“What I would most want to impress upon people is acknowledging and accepting that there will be phases in your marriage. There can even be multi-year phases that aren’t as sparkly and magical as other phases. Maybe your career goes through a downturn, and it affects your financial stability, or maybe one of you goes through a crisis of identity and doesn’t feel very sexual as a result because you don’t know who you are anymore. And these very real, often predictable, life-y things will impact your marriage. But if you chose the right person and you’re both truly in it for the long haul, then these peaks and valleys will just add to your union.” — Yasmine.

27. Let love rule.

“Only love is real. So when you’re engaging with your partner from a place that doesn’t have love tied into it, you aren’t there at all. And that isn’t to say that anger can’t be simultaneously mixed with love because it absolutely can. Every emotion can have a foundation of love underneath it. Just check in with yourself and remember to remain connected to your heart at all times.” — Jason

28. Remember you're in charge of your happiness.

“Another person can’t make you happy, but they sure can make you miserable. So take your time in choosing your partner. Hopefully, you’ll only ever have to do it once.” — Delores

29. Maintain your own life.

“Maintain separate friends and hobbies. There are always three entities: you, me, and the relationship. If you aren’t both cultivating friendships and hobbies outside of the relationship, then you’ll never have anything new to talk about. Having your own life outside of the relationship is so important in maintaining a sustained, beautiful romance.” — Sharice

30. Spend time apart to miss each other.

“I would tell people to ‘Allow yourselves to miss each other.’ Once per year, my husband and I each go on our own week-long trips with our closest friends. He with his old high school buddies, and me with my tennis friends that I’ve known since I was in my 20s. We each come back feeling refreshed and recharged, yes, but more importantly, we get to have the experience of missing each other. During the first few days of my trip, I’m happy to have the space, but inevitably, by the last few days, I truly tap into the sensations of missing him. And it’s always a gift to reunite with each other when I get home. With this habit as an annual ritual, it keeps me that much more awake to the fact that I love this man deeply, and I know that he has a similar experience when he returns from his boy's trip.” — Juliette

Aaaaaaand that’s thirty!

I hope you enjoyed this article and got something out of it. I certainly got a lot out of compiling it.

There is so much love in the world, so much resilience, and so much depth. I was inspired by the amount of love and care that went into all of the contributions that I received, and I enjoyed seeing the differences and the overlap in people’s responses.

That’s it for me. I hope that you are well.

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Jordan Gray is a five-time #1 Amazon best-selling author, public speaker, and relationship coach with more than a decade of practice behind him. His work has been featured in The New York Times, BBC, Forbes, The Huffington Post, and more.

This article was originally published at Jordan Gray Consulting. Reprinted with permission from the author.