DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: I just read the letter from Need Tips, who was looking for ways to make sure a marriage stays warm and loving and lasts a lifetime. Her young man wanted ways to guarantee that's what happens. Life offers none of us any guarantees, but my high school sweetheart and I will be celebrating 22 years of marriage this October, plus seven years of dating before. People often tell me how lucky I am, but luck has nothing to do with it. A long-term relationship is not fireworks every day and it takes work to make it last. Always remember to communicate with each other and respect each other. With respect there is admiration, support and a deep friendship which sustains the deep love you will both have for one another. We have relied on these principles to pull us through the difficulties of life. You may not be able to see what is coming around the next bend, but is sure is awesome knowing you have a spouse that always has your back. -- 29 Years of Love, Winnipeg
Dear 29: The hardest part is often riding through the lulls or backslides in intensity and warmth found in any long marriage. A campaign initiated from one side or both, to take on a new adventure together -- travelling, building, joining something new as a couple -- can bring you back quickly to getting a big kick out of each other.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: This letter is in answer to Need Tips, who was seeking advice, preferably from elderly men with experience. My wife and I -- now in our 70s -- celebrated our golden wedding anniversary two years ago. We had courted for four years before our marriage for a total of 56 years of wonderful courtship and marriage. My secrets to a wonderful marriage? Say "I love you" in the morning when you awaken and every evening when you go to bed. Say "I love you" every time you part and every time you meet -- actually any time or place with honesty and feeling. Hold hands when you're out together, hug a lot, kiss often and never be embarrassed at tastefully showing your affection for each other in public. Write affectionate notes to each other often. When apart, contact each other daily. Include parents, your children and grandchildren in your life, if you are so blessed. Send personal, hand-written cards. Never forget your loved one's birthdays, anniversaries, special days, special dates, special celebrations. Say "please" and "thank you" all the time. Send flowers. Never part in anger or when upset with each other. Talk it through. and say "I'm sorry" -- go more than halfway if need be. Laugh together, often and loudly and do it in public without embarrassment. Look for any opportunity to pay a compliment to your partner. Today is all we have -- it is a gift to us. A friend, in her moving eulogy to her young husband who had just died, taught me that in life we only have today to live, so treat your loved one with this in mind. Love them always as if there is no tomorrow -- one day there will be no tomorrow. -- Love Makes All Possible, Winnipeg.
Dear Possible: What would we do differently today if it were the last one left with your loved one? My kids and I say "love you" instead of goodbye. If it were the last time we saw each other, that would be the last thing we exchanged. It would be nice if all couples were as nice to each other as adults are with their kids, instead of subconsciously keeping score and dishing out words and affection, "as deserved" that day or week.
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