Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day. Doing online research, I found, “Though it’s recognized as a significant cultural and commercial celebration in many regions around the world, it’s not a public holiday in any country.” It went on to say, “In the United States it is a festival of romantic love and many people give cards, letters, flowers, or presents to their spouse or partner.”
The guy in the photo? That’s Len. He’s my sweetheart; the guy I’m still head over heels in love with after almost thirty-eight years of marriage. We’ve been through ups and downs, thick and thin, better and worse, sickness and health, joy and sorrow… many of the contrasts that relationships can experience, and we’re still going strong.
A few years ago I posted the ingredients for our long-term success. They bear repeating:
- Self and mutual respect
- Intentional kindness
- Active listening
- Quality individual time, balanced with quality together time
- Individual hobbies, balanced with mutual interests
- Laughter. Definitely laughter!
What’s your favorite relationship ingredient?
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Smzang — Thank you. You too ❤️
I conquer with all of the above and would also include adding something new every now and then, may it be travel, experiences, a pet or a home. There is nothing that kills the fun out of a relationship as quickly as monotony and boredom. Have fun together. Happy Valentine! ❤❤❤
Fatima — love, Love, LOVE your added ingredient. Thank you! Happy Valentine’s Day! ❤️
How lovely to hear of your Happy Valentine relationship and for your love to have endured through thick and thin. Hope you enjoy a very special Valentine’s Day together and many more to come. 💙💜💚
Welcome to Wales — Thank you very much. Happy Valentine’s Day to you, too ❤️
And a big, “Happy Valentine’s Day” to you and Len! My fav relationship ingredient is to always make sure to discuss (right away) if there is something that’s bothering you. I find that letting problems ‘marinate’ for awhile is never a good idea. “To the couch we go” and let’s discuss! Cher xo
Cher — FANTASTIC ingredient. Thank you for adding it to the mix. Happy Valentine’s Day to you, too ❤️
Ah, thank you so much, Laurie!!! Cher xo ❤
Faithfulness has kept us together for 59 yrs. We both know that no matter what happens, we will handle it together whether it’s burying our oldest child or a trip to Walt Disney World with our children and grandchildren.
Lolita — yes, Yes, YES. I love the glue that has kept your relationship rock solid for 59 years! Happy Valentine’s Day to you and yours ❤️
You two look absolutely radiant and in love after all these years. Congratulations!
You ask what is your favorite relationship ingredient. Last year on our 50th anniversary blog post I mentioned promise keeping from a Thorton Wilder play: “I married you because you gave me a promise. That promise made up for your faults. And the promise I gave you made up for mine. Two imperfect people got married and it was the promise that made the marriage.”
Cliff adds: Give each other space to develop individual interests by mutual agreement. I’m sure to find other helpful hints when I return to read comments here. Perfect post for Valentine’s, Laurie!
Marian — I remember the PROMISE KEEPING post from your blog. And wonderful, it is! And Cliff’s addition is spot-on! Happy Valentines Day to you both ❤️
Gotta go with laughter. I even wrote that into our wedding vows–“promise to make each other laugh every day.” Not sure we’re batting 1.000 on that vow, but well up into the high .990s. 🙂
Chris — LAUGHTER is a phenomenal ingredient for a healthy, happy relationship. I love that you added it to your wedding vows. Happy Valentine’s Day to you and yours ❤️
Thanks, Laurie. Happy Valentine’s Day to you and Len as well.
Your list is spot on, Laurie! I think people often forget the importance of laughter. I slipped a line into our marriage vows that my husband must make me laugh at least once every day. He hasn’t missed a day yet! Great message for Valentine’s Day.
Donna — yes, Yes, YES. Hooray for LAUGHTER! Happy Valentine’s Day to you and yours ❤️
What a beautiful picture, Laurie. Congratulations on 38 years together! I love your list, especially the laughter. A good sense of humor is essential.
Kathy — I agree. A person without a good sense of humor is like a wet dishrag. Not a heckofa lot of fun to spend time with. Happy Valentine’s Day to you and yours ❤️
I love the photo and your list, Laurie. Laughter is a big reason my sweetie and I are so happy together—I think his goal in life is to crack me up as often as possible (and he’s quite good at it).
Candace — With making you crack up high on his list, it sounds like you’ve got yourself a keeper! Happy Valentine’s day to you both ❤️
All of the above, but most of all, I think – friendship.
Carol — Amen siSTAR! ❤️
Happy Valentine’s Day! Congratulations on your long and happy marriage! I, who have not had a relationship last even half that long, will wait for a discussion about why relationships fail, rather than sully your post with my contribution today.
Cindy — Right there you’ve got yourself a blog post. And I, for one, am very interested in reading it 🙂
So happy for both of you. Yes, laughter through the tough times. Actually, a great recipe for all relationships. Thanks for sharing.
Audrey — I hadn’t thought about it that way, but you’re SPOT ON in observing that the ingredients listed here make ANY type of relationship better.
(pssst, I’m still smiling at your new title) 🙂
Wow! You two look awesome, love is shimmering in those four eyes. Happy Valentine’s Day to the lovely couple. Respecting each other, giving space and freedom along with unconditional love has kept us together for 40 years. 🙂
To add to your recipe…understanding and forgiveness.
May all have a loving Valentine’s.
Leanne — You’ve just sweetened the pot with your lovely ingredients. Thank you! Happy Valentine’s Day to you and yours ❤️
Happy Valentines Day to you both! You’ve got all the ingredients for lasting love!
Joan — Right back atcha! ❤️
Laughter, definitely laughter! I would add adventure. We all need some adventure in our lives and gratitude. A thank you once in a while goes a long way, even for the smallest things. Happy Valentines you two!!
Darlene — ADVENTURE is a great addition to the mix! Thank you. And happy Valentine’s day to you, too ❤️
The two that came to mind first for me were on your list: Quality individual time, balanced with quality together time, and Laughter. Definitely laughter! I would also add joyful acceptance of the person just the way he or she is.
Arlene — JOYFUL ACCEPTANCE. That’s a delicious addition to this recipe. Thank you! Happy Valentine’s Day to you and yours ❤️
All the ingredients you mentioned are important, as are all the others listed above, and the one no one has mentioned (perhaps for social reasons) is sex – very important from a male perspective (that chemical drive can be very strong in the male brain).
And making the effort to look for the great things in our partner, as we are all sufficiently complex that we have vast distributions of attributes from the abominable to the great, with all shades in between, and it is all too easy to focus on the undesirable and ignore the rest. Being active in seeing the entire spectrum, and focusing one’s words on the positive end of that spectrum, seems to be important.
And here in NZ it has been Valentine’s day for over 8 hours, with many words and acts of love and appreciation exchanged between Ailsa and I.
Arohanui to you and Len
Ted — I’m a huge proponent of SEX. In fact, here’s a link to an article titled, HAVE SEX FOR BETTER HEALTH that I wrote for the February edition of Unbound Northwest http://unboundnorthwest.com/index.php/2018/02/01/sex-better-health/
Happy Valentine’s Day to you and Ailsa ❤️
Happy Valentine´s day! ❤ Wow, you have been together for a long time. Almost like my parents.
When I date someone, I value many of the factors you highlighted above. He has to be good looking and caring, no matter if it is something casual, that probably wouldt last. I´d say make the moment count 😉 Self-centered men are a major turn off. Hence: yes being a good listener is a very important thing for me too.
Sending love 🙂
Aquileana — Any man who’s fortunate enough to date you (short or long-term), is lucky, indeed. Happy Valentine’s Day ❤️
Aww, Thanks so much dear Laurie & same to you !<3
All that you listed wrapped in the gift of love.
DoorCountyInTheMoment — Yes, indeed. Happy Valentine’s Day to you ❤️
Thanks Laurie. Great photo! Have to agree with you – Laughter! Definitely having a sense of humour makes a real difference. Congratulations for 38years!! That makes for a whole lot of experience…
Suz — I’m glad you like the photo. I took it (a “selfie”) on a day that Len and I walked 14 miles roundtrip for lunch. Happy Valentine’s Day ❤️
Lovely post, Laurie. I just now read your list to Woody and we got reminiscing about the vows we made. Yes, our wedding guests were all chuckling. But deep down, at our core, I believe our relationship thrives because we are honest with each other, even (especially?) about the parts we hate. It’s easy to love the good parts, isn’t it! It’s when the polarities emerge — my inner bitch; Woody’s inner curmudgeon—that our love is tested. Happy Valentine’s Day, to you and Len. And my best wishes on your next 38 years.
Janet — I hate it when my inner bitch and Len’s inner curmudgeon rear their ugly heads, but they do sometimes. And much like you and Woody, we too have discovered that getting it on the table and talking about it honestly is what sends those two gas bags running. Happy Valentine’s Day to you and Woody ❤️
Kisses, lots of them….especially before you go to sleep!
Agshap — I like the way you think! 🙂
Happy Valentine’s Day to you and Len. 38 years is a beautiful blessing. Jordan and I have been married for almost 51 years (in April). A key ingredient to making our marriage work is appreciating and valuing one another. We have a sign above our bathroom mirror that reads: “The most important thing in life is holding on to each other.” We are grateful that we have had copious years to enjoy holding on to one another and are look forward to more years of holding! Enjoy
Sheila — Thank you so much for sharing the beautiful message on the sign above your bathroom mirror. I ❤️ it!
I sure hope to see you at Writers’ Institute this year (UW-Madison, April 12-15. Here’s a link: https://uwwritersinstitute.wisc.edu)
Laurie, a large measure of Faith has gone into to everything that Dennis and I have attempted, it is the leavening in our marriage. Happy Valentine’s Day to you, Len and Willa!
Sandi — Amen siSTAR ⭐
Your recipe seems complete to me Laurie and the proof is in the pudding. Happy Valentine’s Day to you both! 🙂 ❤️💝💞💓💗💖💕
Terrill — I hope that you and David had a wonderful Valentine’s Day, too ❤️
Sooooooooooooo❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️Romantic . When I first started work that was my answer to everything . My friend ( who I only saw yesterday ) always laughed when she saw a faraway look in my eye and then I said ‘ ahhhh it’s so romantic ‘ 😂😂
Trust and a bucket load of laughter …right on …that’s my answer.
I see we have a fellow welshy a few doors up …welcome welshy.
Cherry — Your ingredients are perfect: “Trust and a bucket load of laughter.” Ya gotta ❤️ it!
Actually, February 14th is a National Celebrations Day in the USA It is National Potato Chip Day! and was celebrated very vigorously in Cleveland, Ohio when I was 16. My grand parents were married on the 14th before it was a big event and we celebrated over 60 years with them. My youngest daughter’s birthday is the 12th all with Abe Lincoln and she did not want to share the day with Abe or Valentine’s Day ever!
I am not a very romantic person and usually get a card from hubs with a gorgeous flower photograph on it, but this year he is off snowshoe hiking with his hiking group and no card So I am keeping the 2 year old one on my desk again this year…
Kindness is the theme at our house and Good Communication skills are my big points of relationship success. My partner and one of my daughters almost never talk about anything!!
Patricia — KINDNESS is giant, and so is good COMMUNICATION. Two vital ingredients to a successful, long-term relationship ❤️
We love your list and the additions here. We would add shared values and even shared projects.
Shirley — Ohhhh, I ❤️ it. SHARED VALUES and SHARED PROJECTS are vital. Thank you so much for adding them to the recipe.
I can feel the LOVE and JOY in you and Len from your photo. Beautiful! I like what you list as needs in a loving relationship. I would add “companionship.” Being together in heart, spirit, and in person. My guy tells me how much he loves waking up and knowing I’m there with/for him. I feel the same. An ordinary day is extraordinary when we feel such loving companionship, physically and spiritually. xo
Pam — COMPANIONSHIP is huge. I’m so glad you added it to the recipe. Thank you! ❤️
My favorite relationship ingredient is patience. Lord knows I need it to be married. I think you hit the nail on the head with all of your relationship ingredients. I love that you and your sweetheart have been married for 38 years. I hope I am able to say the same in about 30 years (We’ve only been married going on 8 years this year). Congratulations!
TheMedicalMama — Patience is a great ingredient because we need to both GIVE it and RECEIVE it 🙂
Going out for dinner will always do it!!!
Oh what a glories capture of you two!!! 🙂