Long-time couples share their stay-in-love secrets
Feb. 14, 2012 at 5:57 PM ET
We recently reported on new research that suggests that many married couples who have been together for a long time are still deeply in love.
The national survey of married Americans found that 40 percent of those who'd been married at least 10 years said they remained "very intensely" in love with their partner. The study sought to determine whether long-term romantic love was just a rare phenomenon, but researchers found just the opposite. Even for the longest marriages -- three decades or more -- 40 percent of women and 35 percent of men said they were still madly in love.
So we turned to TODAY Health readers on Facebook who have had happy, successful, long-term marriages, and asked the million dollar question: Just how do you do it?
Some gave us insight into truly amazing partnerships. Susan Hennink Olthof says she is still "deeply in love" with her husband of 40 years. Their secrets?
"Commitment to our marriage, laughter, shared values and faith in God, willingness to allow each other to grow and change...I could keep going! We're not perfect individually, but as close to being as perfect a couple as I know!"
Peggy Zampetti Frederick has been married for more than 35 years. She says she and her husband's longevity secret actually isn't a secret at all.
"We make a conscious effort to remember that it's not about "me" . . . it's about "us". With this philosophy and the ability to laugh at our many foibles, we have weathered many a storm."
Many readers also shared photos, along with their stories and marital advice. Read on to see what keeps them ticking, from weekly date nights to common interests to making sure the marriage recipe has ingredients such as support, humor and trust.
Courtesy of Ida Pence Waterous /
The Waterouses have been together 43 years and say they are still "very much in love," says Ida Waterous. "Our secret? Faith, honesty, being each others best friends and fighting fair when necessary."
Courtesy Malgorzata Baker /
The Bakers celebrate 19 years of marriage next month. Their advice? "RESPECT and LOVE ♥ is the key."
Courtesy Laura Geffre /
The Geffres have been dating for 18 years and have been married for 12. Says Laura Geffre: "Communication, space, support, humor, and trust. ♥ No one better suited for me than this guy."
Courtesy Lea Hatch /
The Hatches have been "madly in love" since they were kids, says Lea Hatch. "First met at ages 6 and 8 while taking piano lessons together .. and first dated in highschool ... married now for 31 years. We still have 'Thursday Date Night' together -- and still enjoy discovering "firsts" together! Seven kids, 14 grandkids, gray hair & creaking knees .. but I love this man dearly -- and I'm still his sweetie!"
Courtesy Sarah Thomas Bobo /
Sarah Bobo writes of her marriage: "After our struggles with infertility and then having 4 kids, 3 of which came prematurely, we have had our fair share of stress and pain. The one thing I would emphasis more then any is to put the other person first. It is so important to be aware of your partner's needs and not to be selfish. I have found that this helps me to be closer and more in love with my husband daily, even after 12 years of marriage!"
Courtesy Amanda Southard /
Says Amanda Southard of the 12 years she has shared with her partner: "I believe it's because we have a lot in common...both were in the military, we enjoy motorcycle riding, and raising our children."
Courtesy Jude Reed Fore /
Mark and Judy Fore are celebrating 21 years of marriage this year. Says Judy: "Our marriage continues to bring each of us such joy and happiness that we share with our 3 sons. It works because it's a 50/50 relationship, with plenty of love, trust, honesty and FUN! We enjoy spending time together, take "Anniversary" trips and make sure we have "date" night every weekend. We love football,Jimmy Buffett Concerts and can finish each other's thoughts out loud...I pray that we have been a good example for our sons so that they have successful relationships ...Marriage is a commitment, but when it's right, it is soooooooooooooo right!"
Courtesy Laura Renwick Tiedge /
The Tiedges have adored each other for almost 28 years.Laura Tiedge's advice: "Love your children but don't let parenting consume your relationship as a couple! Once they are grown you'll want to still love/like each other!"
Courtesy Bev Haut /
Dave and Bev Haut, together for 16 years. Bev tells their story: "We met online; I lived in Atlanta, he lived in SoCal, and we somehow found each other. The secret to our success? We have a common goal: caring more about the other's happiness than our own."
Courtesy Janie Heniford /
The Henifords have been madly in love for 27 years, and Janie explains why: "What's made our romance last, i believe, is that we don't just love each other -- we're really, truly in love with each other. My heart still flips when he walks in the door. I still consider myself the luckiest girl in the world."