There's an article in today's Toronto Star that reveals the results of a survey done in Great Britain about what makes for a long-lasting marriage.
Apparently you need:
1. to say "I love you" daily
2. share two hobbies
3. make love three times a week
4. communicate three times a day during working hours
5. enjoy two romantic meals a month
6. exchange four kisses and three cuddles a day
7. get away three times a year for holidays
8. snuggle together three nights a week watching the telly
The long-married couples also typically met through friends, dated for three and a half years before they married, waited two years and two months to have kids and when they married, were 31 for the guy, 29 for the girl.
According to these criteria, my husband and I would not have been married for thirty years this June.
How are we different? Let me count the ways.
1. Say "I love you" daily: Well, okay, yes, the hubby and I do this.
2. Share two hobbies: No. Don't even share one.
3. Make love three times a week: Some things should remain private.
4. Communicate three times a day during working hours: Since the hubby now works from home, we could answer yes to this one, although I'm including, "Can you please turn down the TV? I'm trying to write a love scene here!" (The hubby can work with sports, etc. on in the background. I cannot.)
5. Enjoy two romantic meals a month: Hahahahahahaaaaaa! I mean, really? When you've got little kids? And money is tight? No. Way.
6. Exchange four kisses and three cuddles a day: I don't keep track, but we probably manage this, if I count a hug as a quick cuddle.
7. Get away three times a year for holidays: Haa haa haa! Hooo hooo hooo! Oh, stop it - my sides are aching. Again, really? Three times a year? Were these millionaires they surveyed or what?
8. Snuggle together three nights a week watching the telly: Now, heaven knows I like my television shows. And the hubby actually follows more than I do. But our tastes don't match, so often I'll be watching my show upstairs, he'll be watching his downstairs.
Age at marriage: 22 (Bride) and 24 (Groom). Time until birth of kids - three years. Number of years dating - 10 months (but had been acquainted for over 2 years)
So according to this, our marriage was Doomed.
Except... These are activities. They don't measure what I think are the true keys to a good relationship.
Trust, and the security that comes with it.
Affection. I'd include sense of humor in this.
If you don't have these, you can spend hours with your partner, cuddling, kissing, making love, eating romantic dinners by candlelight, and it won't mean a thing in terms of a deep emotional connection and commitment.
This is one reason I don't watch The Bachelor. To me, that's all about setting and props - Hollywood telling us what love should look like, not what it is.