We learn from our patients and caregivers every day in clinic, sometimes in the most unexpected ways. In preparation for my son’s upcoming wedding, I decided to tap into this treasure trove of experience and ask for the advice they would give to a soon-to-be bride and groom. The responses were full of humor, love and loyalty – and taught me more than I expected.

I asked: “What is the secret to a long and happy marriage?

“There isn’t one – there are a hundred – but there is one word – us!” – F; age 84

“Always hold her hand.” – R; age 88

“The other person has to be more important than yourself.” – H; age 92

“You’ll do dumb things. Admit it and change it!” – W; age 93

“Share your love with each other.  My girl waited for me for five years while I was in Germany.  We wrote letters back and forth and I’d take pictures with my little camera to send.  In one picture, I had a partially written letter with a beer in my hand. Her mom told her she couldn’t marry me because I was a drunk!  I bought a ring there and as soon as I returned to the states I drove to our hometown and gave it to her. We have been married over 50 years.” – H; age 88

“Be understanding.  You both bring your stories to the marriage.” – B; age 80

“Always do what she says!” – T; age 88. In response, “Always have a good sense of humor! And forgiveness – even now after 60 years together. And forget it!” – R; age 87

“You have to start with a positive attitude within yourself.  When I have a coffee bean with chocolate stuck on my tooth, I don’t think ‘I look bad to others’.  I think how good that coffee and chocolate taste. And when I am positive with me I can handle behaviors in others because I know I can’t change them anyways!” – B; age 86

“Marriage is work and you have to like the pay.” – B; age 83

One of my favorite stories is from a woman who has been a longtime patient and is in the late stages of Alzheimer’s.  She no longer remembers many details of her life. When I asked her the secret to a happy marriage, without hesitation and with a look of pure love in her eyes, she said, “Be best friends, first and always.”

On behalf of Memory Center Charlotte, thank you for sharing your love lessons with us.

3 Comments

  1. Don Burton on February 7, 2019 at 4:16 pm

    Wonderful. Fun,practical thoughts to carry around day in and day out. Thanks

  2. Lisa Craig on February 8, 2019 at 12:47 am

    What a beautiful post, this made my heart smile. I always enjoy blogs with useful information for caregivers but this was unexpectedly lovely and much appreciated.

  3. Pat Chadick on February 9, 2019 at 2:46 pm

    Lovely and touching

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