The Secret to a Long and Happy Marriage

Written by
Emily Carver

The Secret to Finding 'The One' and How to Have a Happy Marriage

In the age of dating apps, ghosting and catfishing, the road to finding true love is filled with more obstacles than ever. However, in these changing times, we still believe that love is everlasting.

Research shows that 34% of 18-49 year olds would trust relationship advice from somebody in a successful long term relationship. So we’ve asked 5 older couples to share their best relationship advice for Millennials and Gen Z’s hoping to find their special someone. Middletons has asked the interviewees for their top tips for finding ‘the one’ and the secret to a long and happy partnership.

Meet our 5 Couples

Ann & John: 

Met as children when John was evacuated from London to North Wales during World War 2 and went to live with Ann’s family. Their love blossomed when they reconnected as teenagers and they married in their early twenties. Ann and John have now been married for 67 years and have 5 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren.

Jaya and Mohan: 

They met in India during their twenties through family friends and moved to the UK in the year 2000. They now have two children and one grandchild.

Eleanor and David*: 

Met at school in Bristol during their teens and married in their early twenties. They are celebrating 60 wonderful years of marriage later this year and have 8 grandchildren. (*Names changed for confidentiality.)

Elaine and Phil: 

They connected at a work party in their twenties and have spent 36 fantastic years together.

Audrey and Daniel: 

Met at their local fair as young teenagers and married at ages 18 and 19. They have celebrated 63 years of marriage and have 9 grandchildren together.

Then vs Now - The Dating Scene

According to a recent YouGov study, 40% of 18-24-year olds have never had a partner and on average will not marry until age 36. This is quite the contrast from the majority of our interviewees who met in their teens and then married in their early twenties. With soaring house prices and stagnant salaries, it’s no wonder that couples are having to push their nuptials to the future. 

While times have changed, the fundamentals of a great date haven’t. Movies, dancing and concerts were all date-night favourites for our couples who experienced the dating scene in the 50’s-70’s. Eleanor shares “we went to several concerts at Colston Hall [now the Bristol Beacon] during the late 50s when we first got together, seeing live music was our favourite thing to do together”. A date night a Bristol Beacon would be much the same today, only you should perhaps expect to split the bill 50/50 at the end of the night.


What’s the secret to a long happy marriage?

The road to a lasting marriage is filled with obstacles, challenges and hard work. According to a YouGov study in 2021, most Brits (58%) think waiting about two years into a relationship to get engaged is sufficient, although younger Britons are less likely to think so. Only two in five 18 to 24-year-olds (41%) believe it’s long enough, compared with 62% of those aged 55+. With statistics showing 40% of marriages end in divorce by the 30th wedding anniversary it’s easy to see why younger couples are apprehensive, but, as any married and long-term couple will be able to tell you, there is no one-stop-shop solution for a happy marriage.

Elaine and Phil share that the secret to their 30 years of marriage is “tolerance, friendship and gratitude for what we have is our recipe for a long lasting marriage”. 

 

" Tolerance, friendship and gratitude for what we have is our recipe for a long lasting marriage "

Daniel, 85, levels with us for some practical advice for the romantics out there “Keep your mouth shut” he adds “it’s important to know what, or what not to say when times are tough, but it won’t always be tough times”. 

John’s advice to the newly married is “don’t forget the vows you’ve made to each other. Whether you’re religious or not, it really doesn’t matter. I made a promise to Ann on our wedding day, and I can’t imagine ever breaking it”.

 

What’s the best advice for someone who’s looking for that special someone?

Our couples have some wisdom to share with young people who may be searching for their special someone, or if they’re wondering if their other half really is “the one”.

Eleanor and David’s advice is to “find someone who has similar outlook and interests. Don’t expect perfection”. After all, no one is perfect - so why should our relationships be?

Elaine and Phil take a cool approach with their advice to “just be yourself and don't try too hard”. 

Mohan and Jaya suggest that you follow your gut “Go with your intuition, look past the razzmatazz.”, when you meet that special someone - you’ll just know.


How to solve a lover’s quarrel

Even the strongest of relationships experience their ups and downs with the occasional argument coming up. You may be surprised to learn that 69% of couple’s arguments have no solution, this is largely due to differences in personality. In a piece of research by Dr. Carla Manly it is revealed that even the healthiest of couples fight 7 times a day on average.

But what’s the best way to resolve a fight?

In the heat of the moment, it can be tempting to override the conversation to share your point of view, but Elaine shares that “it’s important to not interrupt when your partner is talking to you in a disagreement, listen to them and try to see their perspective”. Jaya agrees and adds to “keep things calm in your discussion and resolve your disagreements before going to bed”.


What next?

As we have learned from our 5 couples, there really is no one-size-fits-all approach to finding and keeping the love of your life. No matter where you’ve met your partner, be it Tinder or cutting a rug at the town hall, the same principles apply; be yourself, be forgiving and don’t forget to make each other laugh. 

We will leave you with Jaya’s tried, tested and approved wisdom for a long happy marriage, which we think applies to just about anything in life. “Go with the flow, believe only the best will come your way”.

" Go with the flow, believe only the best will come your way. "

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