Today’s centenarians, those who are 100 years old or older, have seen it all: many wars, 17 presidencies, the Great Depression and the dot-com boom. And though age by no means guarantees wisdom, cultures have long recognized their elders as pillars of sage advice and sound judgment. Today's youth seem to have it all, but for many, love and quality relationships remain difficult.
Holiday Retirement recently asked centenarians to share their perspectives on love, marriage and relationships and from that came five important pieces of advice. The takeaway: A return to simplicity may be the best way to make a relationship last. If you don't have an elderly grandma or grandpa to ask for love advice, read on.
1. Spend more time with loved ones.
Today’s to-do lists may seem never ending: buy groceries, pick up the kids at soccer practice, finish a presentation for work. However, centenarians suggest prioritizing one item over all of the others: spending more time with loved ones. In fact, more than a third said that in hindsight, if they could do one thing differently it would be to spend more time with their friends, family and neighbors.
2. Say “I love you” more often.
When was the last time you told your loved ones “I love you”? The old adage may be to never go to bed mad, but there is something to be said for not leaving for work without reminding your significant other how much you love and appreciate him or her. In fact, nearly one-quarter of centenarians encourage frequent “I love yous,” according to Holiday Retirement.
3. Plan and do things together.
The initial butterflies of a first date and spontaneity of the early years quickly give way to rushed take-out dinners and checking in by text message. But individuals with a century or more of “been there, done that” under their belts recognize the importance of making the effort to spend uninterrupted time together and continually learn about their partner.
4. Make a stronger effort to communicate.
The recipe for a healthy marriage may elude some, but for surveyed centenarians, who had advice to share such as, “do not get divorced; make it work,” it boils down to communication and togetherness. Nearly one-third of centenarians advise today’s young couples to make a stronger effort to communicate; and more than one-fourth encourage married folks to spend more time together.
5. Make sure they are the one.
As your Facebook feed seems flush with wedding pictures and engagement announcements, it is easy to get caught up in the fantasy of marriage. Yet, sage advice from centenarians reminds us that a marriage is about more than the wedding. Though marriage may be hard work, the right person can make it all worthwhile. After all, a wise 100-year-old woman summed it up best with, “make sure you have picked the right mate.”