By: Nicole Yorio
No one knows more about how to create a successful marriage than those who live it every day. In their new book, Wonderful Marriage, Lilo and Gerry Leeds, who’ve been married for more than 56 years, share their wisdom on how to build and sustain a strong and lasting partnership. Some of their tips:
Be your ideal spouse. If someone asked you what you wanted from your partner, you’d quickly rattle off a long list of qualities. But a great relationship starts with you, the Leedses say. “It’s my job to be the kind of partner I want,” Lilo says. “I think, Instead of criticizing, what can I do differently? or What am I doing that is upsetting him?” Once you commit to improving you, you’ll notice a difference in your relationship — and you’ll be motivated to improve even more.
Think before you speak. “When I’m angry, I say, ‘Don’t talk to me. I’m busy counting to 100,'” Lilo says. “Counting prevents fights from escalating because by the time I’m done, I either forget why I am mad or I realize that what I’m angry about is unimportant.”
Ask for what you need instead of complaining about what is wrong. If something bothers you, it’s better to get it off your chest rather than fume. “But there’s a big difference between ‘We never go out to dinner’ and ‘I’d like to go out for dinner,'” Lilo says. “Asking sets a positive tone, and is more likely to get results.”
Make your marriage a lifelong courtship. “Just because the honeymoon ends doesn’t mean the romance has to stop,” Lilo says. Gerry adds, “We are still holding hands, making love, and skiing down mountains together. We knew we’d be happy when we met more than five decades ago, but the reality is better than our dreams.”