• Jessie Lee

4 relationship tips I learned from my grandparents

Updated: Sep 13, 2019

Anthony and I met when I was just twenty-two years old and we were both newly single. Neither of us were looking for a relationship at that point, so we started hanging out, very casually, just as friends. It took about six months before we realised that we had something special. I knew he was ‘the one’ pretty early on because he was the only person who had ever made me feel calm - he quieted my crazy and helped me grow into a better human.

You know what a new relationship is like. It’s all fun and exciting and everything is so easy and shiny. Every conversation is interesting because you still barely know each other. Even the arguments are kinda fun. It takes a while before you settle into a comfortable routine and even longer before you dare to venture out of the love bubble you’ve been hiding in and rejoin society. Once that happens and all the shiny newness disappears, it’s time to figure out how to function as a couple. Can you make it work, long-term?

Young love.
Anthony and I at our engagement party in 2012.

Last weekend, Anthony, Chloe and I, along with my parents, packed ourselves up and headed out to the sticks to enjoy a few days at my grandparent's property in Bogee, a rural town about four hours northwest of Sydney. It’s always a good time up there and it’s become doubly exciting now that I have the pleasure of seeing Chloe spend time with her grandparents and great grandparents and experience a world of firsts.

My grandparents have been married for 55 years. They are one of the only couples I know who have lasted that long together and still share a lot of love, even when they drive each other crazy. Why is it that some couples are able to go the distance together, to stick out the tough times, stay in love and remain partners until the end? What do they do differently once the honeymoon stage has worn off? The topic is fascinating and important to me, especially now that I’ve seen first-hand how much life changes once kids enter the picture. Divorce has become so common and marriage isn’t always seen as being forever anymore, but I feel as though if a couple can overcome their problems and navigate the hard times together, the end result and the strength of the shared bond must be the greatest reward ever.

My grandparents at their wedding.

I was thinking about this during the weekend as I watched my grandparents interact with each other. I tried to imagine Anthony and I at their age, spending time with our kids, grand kids and great grand kids, and how special it must feel. Like every couple, we have highs and lows and we forget to appreciate one another from time to time. Sometimes life gets in the way and we are just strangers passing in the night. As I watched my grandparents, I thought about what they do that others don’t… what is it that has allowed them to stay married? What can I learn from them and apply to my own marriage? There were a few things in particular that stood out to me:

1. They are openly affectionate with one another.

Everyday my grandparents give each other a proper good morning kiss. How cute is that?! They still hold hands when they’re out. They regularly give little hugs and kisses and share a sweet word or two. How can you possibly be mad at someone who is showering you with love and affection that often?

2. They let things go.

Everyone argues at some point. Everyone makes mistakes. Everyone has their annoying little quirks. Why waste your time and energy holding on to anger and resentment over these things when you can address it, let it go and move on to something that will make you smile.

3. They still talk to each other.

You’d think after 55 years of marriage, you’d be hard-pressed to find new topics to talk about, but my grandparents are still having great conversations. I love that there is always some kind of (very lively) discussion or debate going on in their house.

4. They share good times and discover new passions together.

My grandparents have a better social life than I do! They both love meeting new people and music and good food and wine and a million other things. They do their own things but always come back together to share the things they love.

What are your tips for a happy, lasting relationship?

Grandparents and me.
The happy couple and I at my graduation.

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