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The tradition of giving specific gifts to mark anniversary milestones is ancient, dating back at least half a millennium. Following the list of traditional gift-giving — in which a different gemstone or material represents certain milestones — few couples make it to their platinum anniversary, which marks 70 years of marriage. To do so, you have to not only live longer than average but stay married in the process! How do couples achieve this impressive feat?
How to Live to Age 100
To reach your platinum anniversary, you have to get married in your twenties and make it to your nineties, or marry around age 30 and live to be 100. That’s significantly older than average. Even in Japan — which boasts some of the longest life expectancies in the world — people live an average of 84.7 years.
And yet, some people beat the odds. What do the world’s oldest people have in common?
- Good genes: Many people who live to be 100 had a parent who also lived well into old age.
- Physical fitness: In many of the communities with large centenarian populations, people make fitness a part of their daily lives. They tend to spend more time outdoors and enjoy walking and gardening.
- A healthy diet: High-fat and high-sugar diets are uncommon among people who make it to age 100. Instead, many of them eat meals rich in fruits, vegetables, fish and healthy oils, such as olive oil.
- Mindful eating: It takes your body over 20 minutes to understand that you’re full. People who live long lives tend not to overeat, and they also tend to share meals with family and friends rather than eating alone.
- A sense of connection: The oldest people have strong social ties and remain an active part of their community.
- A sense of purpose: Creating arts and crafts, taking part in family gatherings and helping to raise their great-grandchildren, most centenarians keep busy with meaningful tasks.
How to Have a Healthy Relationship
Living to age 100 is one thing, but that’s just half the battle. How do you stay married — happily married, no less — for 70 years?
1. Check in Frequently
No, that doesn’t mean constantly texting your partner to find out when they’re getting home. Instead, make your partner feel both desired and desirable by letting them know you’re thinking of them. Ask them how their day is going. Call to say, “Good morning” when they’re away, and just let them know they’re on your mind.
2. Communicate Clearly
To communicate effectively, you need to validate your partner’s feelings, even if you don’t feel the same. If your partner tells you that making jokes about his appearance embarrasses him, then acknowledge that he doesn’t find it funny and apologize for your actions.
Put a positive spin on tough conversations. Instead of saying, “I hate that you don’t do the dishes. It’s disgusting,” try framing it like, “I feel so much happier and relaxed when the house is clean. Could you help me out a little more by doing the dishes every night?”
Using “I” statements is helpful for defusing tense situations. For example, saying, “You never do the dishes,” might immediately make your partner feel defensive or hurt. Starting the conversation with, “I feel…” is better.
3. Spend Time Together
Even sitting down for dinner together goes a long way. Make time for dates, one-on-one activities and outings with your friends as a group. Trying new things together can liven up your relationship, while performing routines like taking a daily walk can strengthen your bond.
4. Learn to Compromise
You won’t always agree with your partner. From which movie to watch to where you want to spend the holidays, you’ll have different wants and needs from time to time. That’s perfectly normal — after all, you’re two different people. The key is to find compromises.
There are some things you can’t compromise on, but, ideally, you should have talked about those things before getting married. For example, you can’t compromise on whether or not to have kids by only having children a few days a week. You either have them or you don’t! But if you and your partner agree when it comes to major life decisions, compromising on smaller issues should be fine.
5. Accept Your Partner’s Flaws
Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. Instead of trying to change your partner, love them exactly as they are. That doesn’t mean to ignore red flags — there’s a difference between learning to live with someone’s snoring and letting them walk all over you. Rather, if you know you’ve found “the one” but she always leaves cabinets and containers open, don’t sweat it. That’s a small price to pay for love.
6. End the Day on a Positive Note
The phrase, “Never go to bed angry” comes up a lot when discussing successful relationships. If you’re feeling frustrated or annoyed with your partner, don’t simmer in resentment until you boil over. Instead, talk to them about what’s bothering you. Apologize if you have to.
7. Get on the Same Page
When it comes to topics like finances, make sure you see eye-to-eye with your partner. If your spouse is a big spender but you save every cent you earn, you can end up disagreeing on how to manage your money. Similarly, areas like religion, family values, monogamy, whether you want pets and even whose job it is to clean the bathroom are important to agree on.
8. Have a Sense of Humor
When you make mistakes or things don’t work out as planned, find the humor in the situation. Laughing together strengthens your bond and signals that you aren’t really upset with each other. Plus, it really is the best medicine — one study saw an almost 4% decrease in systolic blood pressure after laughing, rising to a roughly 11% decrease in people with hypertension.
Celebrating Your Platinum Anniversary
Staying married for 70 years is quite an accomplishment, so if you manage to pull it off, you should be very proud of yourself. In the end, however, the quality of your partnership is more important than how long it lasts. By nurturing your body and your marriage, you can give yourself the best chance at a happy life whether you reach your platinum anniversary or not.
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