Two Simple Suggestions to Help Love and Marriage Last 50 Years… and Counting!

Golden Anniversary

Ed and Loretta

I’ve been married a long time. This summer my husband and I celebrated 50 years together. Yep, you read that right – FIFTY. People have been asking me “What advice do you have for someone who is still at the beginning of the journey?”

What to say? How to describe what works and what doesn’t work in a marriage, or in any relationship, for that matter? There are certain days when some things work out fine. There are other days when the same interaction just fizzles.

I’ve narrowed it down to 2 Simple Suggestions:

1. communication

Not just talking, but really communicating means looking at one another, actively listening, speaking up and being honest.  Did you get that? – LOOK, LISTEN,  SPEAK UP, BE HONEST.

LOOK. This sounds obvious, but how many times have you tried to have a conversation with someone who is not only not looking at you but is often either tapping on a cell phone or has their eyes closed? Pay attention to your interactions and you will both get more out of the conversation.

LISTEN. To listen means to not simply hear something but to actively focus on what is being said and to understand it. If something is not understood, it is up to you to ask for clarification. Don’t assume you “got it” when there is still something about the exchange that was vague.

SPEAK UP. Say what you want to say. If you hold back and walk away feeling that there was more to be discussed, the fault is yours. Remember that there is nothing wrong with expressing yourself. Just make sure your delivery is considerate. Very few points are well made when shouted.

BE HONEST. You know the difference between the truth and the non-truth. If you leave things out or purposely turn an explanation around to suit the moment, it will come back to haunt you. Get it right the first time. Do that by simply being honest.

Love and Marriage 50 Years

(not us)

2. Keep Trying

Relationships are not easy. It makes sense that two people coming from different backgrounds with different needs and sometimes even different values have to work to sustain their love and friendship through the long-term. When times are tough and you know you have a relationship worth saving, putting in the effort is totally worth it.

HOW VALUABLE IS YOUR RELATIONSHIP ? I’ve had clients ask me how long they should KEEP TRYING. They ask “How do I know if it  is really worth saving?”  I can’t answer that – only you can. The question you need to ask yourself is whether YOU really think it is ‘worth it.’

Consider basic questions like:

  • Am I being respected?
  • Am I being considered?
  • Am I getting as much as I am giving?

Coming up with honest answers to these questions is a good place to start your evaluation.

DON’T GIVE UP EASILY. The road is full of bumps and frustrations (as well as  joy and satisfaction), and it is up to you to do what you can to smooth things out when that road gets rough. But some things you can control and some you can’t. You have control over YOURSELF and your actions. Relationships require a ‘team’ effort, and this means that each person is giving their best towards the common goal.

So, find your voice and be heard; listen when your partner is the one doing the talking, and always keep trying to live the life of your dreams. I wish you happiness and good health, love and laughter, and a strong and cherished team that lasts at least 50 years!


Photo Credit: © Can Stock Photo Inc. / Antonio_Diaz

Help Someone Shift to Positive Thinking

Positive Thinking Jumping for Joy

© Can Stock Photo Inc. / Dee21

Sometimes people just need a little help to shift from negative thinking to positive thinking.  When your kids, friends or co-workers start complaining and being negative with ‘poor me,’ ideas, YOU can be the person who turns it all around.

Here’s an example from a recent morning … one of the women who work at the Membership Desk at the YMCA wasn’t busy when I checked in. She looked bored, so I smiled and engaged her in conversation:

            Me:  How’s your day going so far?

            Her: Much better now that I’ve had my coffee and woken up. 

            Me:  Did you have a late night?

            Her: No.  I’m just used to sleeping in now.  I have to change that schedule when I begin teaching.

            Me:  When do you start?

            Her:  August 1st – that is sooo soon.  Summer was way too short.

            Me:  It’s all in how you look at it.  Try telling yourself, “Wow! There are

             still two and ½  weeks left of summer.  I have time to do some fun

            things.”  (I paused for a moment.) So, what are you going to do?

            Her: (thinking) I don’t know.  (Soon she starts talking fast.)  I’ll go to the pool a lot; I’m doing a 5K ‘Run in the Dark’ next week; and I’ll work and make some extra money and go shopping.

  (And she flashed a big smile with eyes shining in all directions.)

Why fight negative thoughts?  First of all, positive people get more out of life; and secondly positive people are much more fun to be around, which in turn spreads positive feelings in all directions. They tend to be more energetic, try new things, and certainly enjoy life more.

Just remember that people are in charge of their own thoughts.  Of course, there are times when you will have doubts and feel negative. That’s normal. The question is do you let yourself believe those thoughts or do you acknowledge the negative ones and then move on to replace them with a better outlook.

Here is an interesting infographic for you to consider. (By the way, an ‘infographic’ shows information and data graphically in a simple, clear and quick way.)

In my MAKE HAPPY A HABIT campaign, I shared how doing five simple things every day for 30 days can actually help you rewire your brain toward happiness. My Accomplish-Coaching Instagram @makehappyahabit has 30 days of daily encouragement to spread around.  #makehappyahabit

Make Happy a Habit with Loretta Saff

Five Simple Steps to MAKE HAPPY A HABIT

1 – Practice Gratitude: First thing each morning say out loud three (3) things you are grateful for.

2 – Journaling: Before bedtime, write down one good thing that happened that day.

3 – Meditation: Spend 2-5 minutes listening to wordless music, focusing on either the music or your breathing.

4 – Exercise: Exercise at least 20 minutes a day.  If you are short on time, this can be done in two 10-minute intervals.

5 – Be KindPerform a random act of kindness.  Hold a door for someone; compliment the salesperson who helps you or surprise an old friend with a phone call or email.

Sometimes people just need a little help.  Remember that when you start your day.  Whether it’s your child, a friend or a co-worker, YOU be the person who helps shift a mood from negative to positive.

The great thing about your being the spark for others is that  you’re also helping yourself. Negative thoughts get pushed aside, and suddenly you find yourself surrounded by positive people!

Now, doesn’t that sound nice?

Life is Good

© Can Stock Photo Inc. / Nelosa


3 Mental Mindsets to Banish Valentine Disappointment and Have a Great Day


It’s in the air and in the stores; it’s out there screaming to us: “Buy Something!” A sweater or chocolates?  Flowers or jewelry?  A new briefcase or wallet?   Here’s a test:  Which would you rather have:

A new watch or Unlimited time with your special someone
A box of chocolates or Fun in the kitchen making chocolate cookies
A Hallmark card or A few personal, handwritten lines that make you feel special

This Valentine’s Day, I urge you to consider and cherish your relationships.  Be careful that the media and the merchandising do not sweep you away to the point that you find yourself feeling disappointed.

Companies look at the calendar for ways to make more money.  You know it; you’ve experienced it.  Remember how Christmas crept into the stores right after Halloween and even before Thanksgiving turkeys had a chance to gobble?

Here are are 3 Valentine’s Day Mental MINDSETS to banish disappointment and make the day great!

AVOID COMPARISONS  – Just because Janet got a new wedding band for Valentine’s Day or Anne Marie received an expensive nightie, it does not mean that their relationship is better or stronger than yours. Gift-envy has been the downfall of many couples but if you look closely, you might find that the relationship you admire has it’s own issues.  Relationships are not measured in the cost of gifts.

BEWARE EXPECTATIONS – It’s true that we are bombarded daily by merchants/social media/television and from just about every other direction to remember our Valentine in special (and mostly expensive) ways.  So, … you start to think, and then wish, and then … EXPECT.

If you don’t fill yourself with expectations, you won’t be disappointed.  If it means a lot to you to celebrate Valentine’s Day, talk about it with your husband/partner. Don’t test him to see whether or not he responds.


Plan an “I Love You” dinner date on an unexpected day! Be sure to fill it full of surprises!  How about your own special progressive dinner:  an appetizer at one restaurant, main dish at another, and dessert somewhere else!   Each of you can come up with two surprises during the evening.  Often the element of surprise adds fun – and spice! – to a dinner out. (And, anyway, do you really want to spend all that extra money on a ‘”Special Valentine’s Day Menu?”)

Focus Valentine’s Day celebrations on your kids – or any kids.  Children always appreciate the extra attention, so share the day with them.  And be sure it includes special hugs and at least one “I love you!”

Make Valentine’s Day a day of gratitude.  Have each family member make a list of three things for which he/she is grateful. Why should Thanksgiving Day be the only time we go around the table and say what we are thankful for?

In a famous experiment,  Drs. John and Julie Gottman, researchers in creating stronger relationships, observed interactions between 130 newlyweds during a day at a bed and breakfast retreat. They saw that throughout the day, one or both partners would try to make connections with the other by bidding for their loved one’s attention. In some cases the wife or husband would “turn toward” their significant other and in other cases he or she would “turn away.” Those who chose to pay attention to and engage with their significant other were more than two times as likely to be together six years later. Through observing these interactions, the Gottmans can predict with up to 94 percent certainty whether couples will stay together or break up in the future.

Notice that it doesn’t say anything in there about whether he/she got a gift for Valentine’s Day. However you choose to spend February 14th, consider that over your morning coffee!


Photo Credit: © Can Stock Photo Inc. / Gitusik