Lasting Relationships: Choosing the Right Person


Despite the sincere vows exchanged when people get married, there is no guarantee a marriage will last.

However, we might improve the odds of enjoying a lasting relationship by listening to the advice of people who had them.

Because of the work by Karl Pillemer, a Cornell gerontologist, we can now heed the relationship recommendations of 700 people married a total of 40,000 years. Pillemer completed a random national survey involving almost 400 individuals, 65 or older, concerning love, marriage, and compatibility. He also conducted in-person interviews with more than 300 people each married 30 plus years.

Five Top Relationship Recommendations

Pillemer’s goal was to collect “love and relationship advice of a large and varied cross section of long-married elders in a scientifically reliable and valid way.” The top five relationship recommendations turned out to be:

  1. Know each other well before walking down the aisle. Though many research respondents married young, they advise people wait until having many shared experiences. It is important to know how your partner responds to real life situations since you cannot change who they are after the wedding.
  2. Find a partner who shares your values. People who have been in a marriage know it is sometimes difficult, but life with a partner is easier when they have similar interests, attitudes, and core values. This is especially true for frequently disputed subjects such as managing finances, religious practices, and child-rearing.
  3. You must be able to communicate. Nearly all the research respondents stressed the necessity of talking things out. They felt that most marriage difficulties are eventually resolved through open communication.
  4. Think of marriage as an unbreakable contract. Because most marriages go through difficult, unhappy, even passionless periods, it helps when both partners are deeply committed to working things through. This will not guarantee marriage success, but means each partner will not give up without giving the relationship their all.
  5. Marriage is about teamwork. Marriages work better when difficulties are viewed and managed collectively. A problem experienced by one of the partners, such as a job loss, needs to be addressed by both partners—much as sports teams work together to reach shared goals.

To learn more about what Pillemer discovered in his relationship research, read the details in his book, 30 Lessons for Loving: Advice from the Wisest Americans on Love, Relationships, and Marriage.

Source: Science Daily
Photo credit: epSos .de


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