As my husband and I are celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary I started to wonder what has caused not just our relationship but our love to last.
The number one ingredient has been acceptance, which comes from not criticizing each other and valuing each other’s uniqueness.
The second ingredient is being able to empathize and telling each other that we do understand the other’s perspective.
The third ingredient is letting each other know, every day in many different ways, how much we appreciate each other.
Of course, it probably helped that we also have some qualities in common, a curious intellect and an adventurous spirit. And we learned the importance of acceptance, empathy, and appreciation early in our relationship.
“Well”, you may ask, “are those ingredients unique to my relationship or is there some scientific evidence that supports their importance in any loving relationship?” The first two ingredients were demonstrated in the research of Carl Rogers.1 Appreciation, or gratitude, also has been shown to help love last.2
- Rogers, C. R. (1961). On becoming a person Boston. MA: Houghton Mifflin, pp. 342-344.
- Algoe, S. B., Haidt, J., & Gable, S. L. (2008). Beyond reciprocity: Gratitude and relationships in everyday life. Emotion, 8, 425–429.