The simple gestures that make a marriage work

A piece of advice for ensuring a long, happy marriage struck a chord with Annie Ridout. So she decided to implement it into her every day life. Here’s what the advice was (plus some other gems from The Early Hour readers)…

A friend went to a wedding recently and three couples who’d been married a long time stood up to give their advice for a lasting, happy union. This was one piece of advice – and it really stuck with me:

Before getting out of bed in the morning, make sure you have touched your partner. Every day.

When kids come along, it’s so easy to roll out of bed bleary-eyed, reach for caffeine and forget about saying a proper good morning to your lover. I’ve taken this onboard and am making a conscious effort to cuddle, stroke or reach for my husband’s hand between waking and rising.

I turned to Instagram to ask other people in long term relationships what they think about this idea, if it’s something they do without thinking, or if they also forget sometimes? And what their advice be for making a longterm relationship work. Here’s what they said…

mother_of_daughters: “I always say never go to bed on an argument. No matter how cross you might be kiss and make up before going to sleep.”

thecalmbirthschool: “I just complimented my other half on what felt like the most scrumptious cuddle. Far too easy to forget.”

laradownie: “My husband is big on the morning cuddle, whereas I can forget and on a weekday often fly out of the bed into full multitasking mode. But most mornings we have a cup of tea together in bed, and swap dream anecdotes, as we both dream vividly and always remember them. This was one of the first things I loved about him and still do. No one has time to listen to dreams or be interested in them but he always has been. He’s also one of those people who can wake up and make a joke before he’s barely opened his eyes…. Yeah, mornings are pretty special now that I come to think about it.”

techiemumuk: “When we are stressed we often bicker with each other. However, we always apologise to each other. The word sorry means a lot.”

ali.millar: “My husband leaves for work before 6am three days a week, think I’d kill him if he woke me but it’s great advice for the other four days… I’m with @mother_of_daughters about the kissing and making up before bed, nothing worse than the day after an unresolved argument.”

lauraamiss: “I think if I touched Paul and accidentally woke him at 6am it might be the end of our relationship… We do always kiss each other night night.”

lindsaykolkstudio: “After 30+ years of marriage my folks say the trick is “tolerance goes a long way.” They are opposites in so many ways but love each other. My own mantra after a mere seven years married is “don’t compare your days”. When children enter the home bitterness can creep in, especially when one spouse spends more time with the littles and the other spends the day with adults. Good to remember that both of us feel tired and would sometimes like to trade places with the other. Bear each other’s burdens and build each other up!”