Mudita Rastogi, Ph.D., a licensed marriage and family therapist in Arlington Heights, Ill, advises:
“Your interests, opinions, and experiences can change as you grow. But if you share the same core belief systems, you will have a platform from which to build a strong relationship.”
Yet, remember to respect each other and give your partner the freedom s/he needs:
“We are all multifaceted, complex creatures. Your partner will never be able to match all your needs and interests. It is OK to pursue some separate activities, either individually, or with friends, apart from your partner.”
Furthermore, Meredith Hansen, Psy.D, a clinical psychologist who specializes in couples, premarital and newlywed counseling, maintains:
“Knowing what you both want out of life and working together to make those dreams a reality will strengthen the bond in your marriage. “
Mark E. Sharp, Ph.D., a psychologist in private practice who specializes in relationship issues, says:
“Long lasting true love is when two people make a commitment to each other and choose to act in ways that sustain their feelings for each other and their connection to each other over time.”
The following story was an example of such love that lasted for seven decades, and it will definitely melt your heart:
While they were studying in Philadelphia, Preble Staver, who was born on October 17, 1921, and Isabell Whitney, born on October 31 of the same year, met on a blind date. Since day one, these two youngsters knew that they are destined to go through life hand by hand.
When the United States entered the Second World War, they both decided to sign up. While Preble joined as a Marine and ended up receiving a Bronze Star, Isabell was a Navy nurse in Maryland. Five months after the end of the war, they reunited and married on February 15, 1946.
Their life was full of love and joy, and they were both determined to cope with all difficulties together. After the war, Preble worked as a lobbyist and banker, so they had to move a lot around U.S. places, including Virginia, Florida, and South Carolina.
According to one of their five children, the 63-year-old Laurie Staver Clinton, Preble was “a tall, outgoing man with a strong, ‘larger than life’ personality” and Isabell was described as“[her] heart” and someone who “taught [her] how to be a kind person, how to be a compassionate person.”
In 1975, their son, Peter, died during the last football game of his high school senior year.
“At that point, we began to really see a softer side of my dad. Parents aren’t supposed to bury their kids and that really took a toll on my folks, but it also brought them together. Something like that can either tear a couple apart, but they made a pact to get through it together. They really were each other’s support team.”
Life brought about numerous challenges afterward, and in 2013, Isabell started showing dementia signs.
This made the couple move into a long-term care facility in Norfolk, Virginia. They stayed in the same place but slept in separate rooms. These times were especially difficult for them, especially for Preble, who was forced to watch his loved one drift deeper into the disease.
“They just found another way to express their love. Dad, even after he stopped walking and was in a wheelchair, he would wheel himself down to the Memory Care Unit and go visit mom. When I would reunite them, they always, the first thing they’d do was put their hands out and hold each other’s hand and tell each other they loved each other.”
Preble was one last wish before his 96th birthday, to have one more nap with his wife.
His wish was made true with the help of the staff of the facility, and the couple had three hours for a nap, in order to enjoy their true love once more, being one beside the other.
“There was not a single word spoken between the two of them. They held hands and just fell asleep.”
Only several days afterward, on October 25, 2017, Isabell passed away, and her husband was there to say goodbye. After 14 hours, Preble died too.
This was the end of their amazing life together, that lasted for 71 years. Yet, their love left an unforgettable mark in the lives of all people that had the chance to meet them.
Laurie put it in a nutshell:
“Mom and dad really lived out that, if you make a commitment, and even though life gets rough or life gets in the way, you work through life. And you live your life together.”