8 Relationship Tips From My Grandparents Who Have Been Married For 65 Years

old couple sitting on bench
Matthew Bennett

After countless drinks with my female friends about this, I decided to ask my grandparent figures some dating tips, since they’ve been married for over 65 years.

1. Don’t stay with someone who doesn’t appreciate you

“If he ever cheated on me, I would have kicked him in the ass and been out the door.” -Nanny

Easier said than done, I know. But this raises a really good point. Why are we staying with people who don’t invest in and appreciate us? There are a billion other people on this earth who we could be happier with. I know it’s hard to move on from someone you love, but at the end of the day it’s important to remember your worth and what you deserve.

2. Listening is just as important as talking

“Women can talk 80% of the time, and men for 20%”– Nanny

While I personally don’t agree with this statement, I can see exactly where she’s coming from. Women want to be heard. We don’t want to feel crazy for having feelings and wanting to express them. We want to be with someone who listens, the way we will listen to you. Communication is key.

3. You can make distance work

“He used to write me letters.” – Nanny

When nanny and pop were younger, they did distance for a while when poppy was in the service. In their time apart, they learned to appreciate each other more from miles away. They kept in touch through written letters. (Hey boys, I’m accepting pen pals.)

4. You need patience

“Guys nowadays are only after one thing. Back then they weren’t” – Nanny

In today’s dating world, casual sex is way more common than it was when our grandparents were young. We sometimes rush into a physical relationship too quickly with someone who we want to have an emotional relationship with. If we were more clear about what we were looking for earlier on, we could avoid this confusion.

So here’s a simple suggestion: If you’re looking for only a hookup, be clear about it (on both sides). If you want something more serious, it’s totally okay to take things slower. We can take a note from our grandparents about being patient (physically and emotionally) when it comes to someone we genuinely want to get to know. Patience is a virtue.

5. Through all of the ups and downs, you still need to love each other

“You really need to know them well.” – Pop

Love isn’t always rainbows and butterflies. Sometimes you’ll face really difficult situations both inside and outside of your relationship, so you need to learn how to be fully there for one another. This may require more giving than receiving at times. As long as you feel the effort being reciprocated, there’s no need to keep score either. Back then, if something wasn’t broken they didn’t fix it. Today if it’s an inconvenience, we’re out the door and that’s a problem. Nowadays people are just too afraid of commitment. Codependency is beautiful when it’s healthy.

6. You need to work together

“Cooperation on both sides, 100% of the time.” – Pop

“Who are you kidding, you’ve never cooperated a day in your life?!” – Nanny, jokingly, I hope…

This is a no brainer, but relationships require work from both people. It won’t always be easy and I’m sure there will be times you want to rip each other’s heads off. I guess love is really about finding the person who is worth giving up a little bit of your pride for, in order to make compromises.

7. Be there for them

“…when they’re down, and also when they’re sick.” – Pop

Here’s a thought: Why don’t we work a little harder on being more selfless and empathetic? In order to make a relationship last, you have to be in tune with your partner’s emotional and physical needs, even when they don’t always vocalize them. There’s nothing better than feeling that you’re taken care of and supported by the person you’re with.

8. Be supportive

“You have to believe in them.” – Pop

From new job interviews, to taking on a personal bucket-list item, it’s so important to have faith in the person you’re with. It’s also important to chase your own dreams, and learn your new hobbies so you don’t lose sight of who you are when you’re in a relationship. Your partner’s support will push you forward when you yourself might be having second doubts about things.

No relationship is perfect, and all relationships require work. I guess at the end of the day it just comes down to being with your best friend. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

About the author

Danielle Ortiz-Geis

Avid traveler, photographer, freelance writer, and hopeless romantic.

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