I found that person who wanted to grow old with me, just as much as I wanted to grow old with her. And that is so cool.
When I first met my wife Sharon, I said to her that once it stopped being fun, that would be it. At the time, it was a throwaway line from an overly confident, testosterone driven, young fella keen on having some fun in his early twenties, but knowing a good sort when he saw one.
When we started dating, and the connection was obvious, my efforts to build a relationship increased. Teasingly Sharon said to me, “What would you do if I came home to your place”. I replied, “I’d make you a cup of tea”. Not sure if that was the most impressive answer I could have delivered, but it worked and since then for most days of the last twenty-five years I have been making that beautiful lady a cup of tea just the way she likes it, with just a small dash of milk and a couple dunks of a tea-bag.
Yes 25 years. We celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary last week. 25 years of living with a beautiful, supportive wonderful lady, through ups and down, celebrations and milestones and filled with shared goals and outcomes.
How did we get here from a young cheeky chap who just wanted to have fun? Staying together for 25 years. And it hasn’t all been fun. In fact at times, it’s been tough. It’s been challenging
But at other times it’s been exciting, it’s been awesome and in the law of averages, it’s been good.
No, it hasn’t. It’s been great.
So, what is needed to have a successful long term relationship?
1. You need to have trust. The importance of this is crucial. Navigating the world as individuals opens us to the pressures and connections from business, career, sports and other people. To have trust that all other interactions are completed respectfully to our relationship, is critical. Trust also relates to making the best decisions for each other and the family and that our decisions are made on this trust.
2. Sharing is our next area. Sharing the joy, sharing the pain, and sharing the fun. The desire to share is the main thing here, share conversations, the “how was your day?”, share how we think and can express ourselves and our feelings to each other, Share when we are frustrated and share when we are ecstatic. Share our fears and our dreams and welcome our ability to do that. I probably don’t recommend sharing each other’s underwear, although that does seem to work for others.
3. Resilience. While we face the world as individuals, we square off as a team. Sometimes shit happens and when it does, we face it together. That has made us increasingly resilient and as we have grown stronger, we have become more supportive. We are both on new paths as we move more towards fulfilling our purpose and the strength we have built from our trials have enabled us to again support each other as we face the challenges of our new path.
4. Growth. Relationships are challenging and I see others relationships are challenged when one partner is on a growth path while the other stays stagnant. And you don’t have to even grow in the same areas, but it’s important that you both care about the growth of the other. At varying times of our relationship, we have continued to grow but at different paces. We have each had growth spurts but have always been supportive of each other.
5. The last one is desire. The desire to stay close to each other, the desire to stay together and the desire to work hard at the relationship. Because every relationship worth having requires the desire to make it work. Everything great in your life requires work. And if you want a great relationship, be prepared to work hard. If you want the best partner, first you must be the best partner.
There are other things. Don’t forget key events, always be the one to do what’s required and in my case, that always take the rubbish out, and always be prepared to spend time, but to give space as needed.
I have been lucky to have a relationship that has endured, a relationship that has excelled and a relationship that keeps growing. We have bucked the trend.
I found that person who wanted to grow old with me, just as much as I wanted to grow old with her. And that is so cool. It hasn’t been easy at times, while other times it has been awesome. The desire to make it work has over-ridden every challenge we have ever encountered.
And that’s how we have made it work. 25 years is simply a milestone that came about from having a relationship we wanted to make work every day.