What are the secrets to a long, loving relationship? Answers from a 69-year romance.
(originally posted 5/7/15)
This blog post is from 6 years ago. Since then the beautiful interviewees have transitioned to heaven. They were the grandparents of a dear, old friend of mine. Here is to their legacy living on.
I’m incredibly curious about love and the power of love in its many forms. I’m also very curious about love in relationships. So I’m on a mission to interview couples who have been together for a long period of time and are still in love. I’m off to find their secrets and share them with you.
Meet Jane and Al. They are both 93 years young and live in Oregon. Or as Jane says, he’s almost 93. She likes younger men. Which brings me to my first secret.
A sense of humor. They were joking back and forth as individuals and as a couple the entire conversation. A little bit of fun is always a wonderful remedy.
They met for the first time in 7th grade but reunited right after college. Jane volunteered for the USO in Seattle. Jane and her friend were in charge of the dance they held every Sunday night. This particular Sunday it was raining and she didn’t feel like going, but she didn’t want to let her friend down so she went anyway. And there was Al. Her friend said that Jane knew him from school and wanted to bring her over to him. Jane was excited that he looked different than she remembered and they had a nice time getting acquainted. Al had to leave for a week to go to Canada because he had been serving in the coast guard. When he called Jane a week later to say it was Al, her answer was, “Al who?” They both laughed about this as they were telling me the story. They started dating and a year later they were married. That was 69 years ago.
So what are the secrets to such a long, successful relationship? Enjoy the list below.
Family. Having a wonderful family has held them together. It’s really important in the later years.
Al explained the secret this way, “With couples, it’s love at first sight or other times it’s fight after fight. But people who really love each other grow closer and other people who aren’t so sure about each other grow farther apart.
Patience and Understanding were the two things Jane said she learned in her later years that she wish she had known when she was younger. She said you need to get used to living with another person who has different ideas. We aren’t all the same person but that’s ok. It’s funny though because maybe Jane has more understanding than she realized because when I asked Al about her, he said that she’s always been understanding.
Acceptance is what Al wished he could have told his younger self. It’s important to try to understand and accept each other.
It’s not really important who wins the argument in the end. I thought this one was crucial. Not always the easiest, but the most rewarding and loving.
As much as you think you have the answers, you don’t. Jane explained that it’s such a changing world. She said, “You have your own little world. Then the outside world enters into the relationship and you have to make an adjustment to that. Many new things come up. Each other’s tastes are different.” You have to be flexible, open and understanding there. You can’t expect to know everything when you are young.
Sometimes they don’t agree on everything but that’s just the nature of it. Just being aware of that seems to help.
Jane said that Al’s relaxed nature helped the relationship because things never seemed to get to him and she was grateful for that.
They enjoy their time together. They have been avid world travelers, visiting more than six countries together.
During tough times they turned to their faith in God.
You need to be thankful. There are so many people that can be picky about little things. Jane suggests avoiding this the longer you are in the relationship.
And last but not least, the final secret Jane and Al have for us is to respect each other’s individuality.
It seems to me that the most common theme here is understanding. If we can all take one thing away from this I hope it would be that. All of us as humans want to be understood. Someone’s advice to me once was to always try to understand the other person instead of trying to be understood. This allows you to come from a space of love.
Jane ended our conversation with a smile in her voice by saying, “It’s a real journey though. A real, fascinating journey.”
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About the Author
Jamie Wozny is a passionate Spiritual Teacher who writes for souls who are curious about activating the principles of radiance, authenticity and magnificence within their own hearts. Her purpose is to help you awaken to your Soul's True Nature one article at a time.