A U.K.-based survey may have unlocked the secret—50 secrets actually—to a truly happy May-December marriage, and some of them might surprise you.
Around 2,000 happily married couples were asked about their own personal tips for a successful marriage, and the common answers were comprised into a list of the top 50 secrets. One of the most surprising revelations was that regular sex didn’t even make the top 10; it only came in 20th. So, if these couples are any indication, it takes more than just good sex to make a May-December marriage.
The number one secret on the list was being able to trust each other, which makes complete sense; it’s impossible to have a successful May-December marriage if you don’t trust one another. And that’s why “always being honest with each other” came in third, with having a sense of humor in second. Rounding out the top five secrets to a successful marriage were remembering important dates, like birthdays and anniversaries, and “accepting each other’s faults.”
A lot of the other secrets on this list were pretty predictable, like always saying “I love you,” sharing hobbies and interests, talking about your problems, not going to bed angry, getting along with family, and spending quality time together—these are all the types of things that you need in order to make a May-December marriage work, or any long-term relationship for that matter.
There were also a few secrets on this list that you wouldn’t expect to see, but that can obviously have an impact on a May-December marriage, like having two televisions in the house, each having your own car, not hogging the remote control, having two bathrooms, and not being Facebook friends with any exes.
Despite the wide range of marriage tips included in this list, there seems to be some common trends. All of these tips have to do with either investing effort into the relationship, maintaining open lines of communication, trust, sharing new experiences, showing and expressing love for one another, and doing whatever you can to make each other happy. Even the points about having separate cars and two TVs all go back to fostering the relationship; instead of fighting about what to watch for instance, avoid the argument altogether by each watching whatever you want on separate TVs. Let’s just say it makes it easier to pick your battles in a May-December marriage and instead focus on things that really matter.
The message behind this study is that relationships and marriages take work. But it’s important to remember why you fell in love with each other in the first place. Keep doing the things that you did and that made you happy when you first started dating, and chances are your May-December marriage will thrive because of it.
Greenaway, N., “Secrets to a happy marriage are honesty, compromise and having TWO of everything, including televisions, cars AND toilets,” Daily Mail web site, March 31, 2015; http://goo.gl/HFu6q3.