More and more couples have been married for fifty or sixty years, according to figures from Statistics Netherlands of 2018. The number of shorter marriages is actually decreasing. What is the secret of a good marriage? An interview by Hendrielle de Groot for Metro News in the Netherlands posted on November 6, 2019.
Greet van den Pol (58), team manager substructure at the Christian College Groevenbeek in Putten, has been married to Cees (65) for almost 37 years. They met at her parents’ agricultural mechanization company, where her love worked as a mechanic. It was not love at first sight, but started with a careful scan. They spent more and more time together. “My husband was doing motocross at that time, then I went with him. We were also at the same youth club and had the same friends. ”
What started as a friendship grew into a relationship. After five years Greet got a permanent job as a teacher at a primary school. That was the time to seal their relationship with a marriage, but a romantic proposal was not forthcoming: Cees did not get on his knee. “It was not so common in our time. I never hear friends about that either. We didn’t have a bachelor party either, it just didn’t exist. No, we just, very practically, put the agendas side by side to set a date.
She liked his appearance: dark hair and brown eyes, but also his personality. “Cees radiates a certain peace and security. I don’t have that myself, I’m more impatient and more like ‘it has to be done now’. My husband thinks longer about decisions. That is good for the balance. ” Together they had three children: two daughters and a son.
They have never had serious relationship problems, but there have sometimes been problems. “My husband is doing tractor stuffing, which means building a huge tractor. When we were just married, we used to sit on the couch at night and he suddenly said, “I’m going to tinker” and he was gone. I found that very uncomfortable. Then we made the agreement that he will have a regular evening for that, the Wednesday evening. ”
The secret of a good marriage
What is the secret of a good marriage? “What I find important is that you give each other space,” says Greet. “It is not the intention to do everything together, as you see with some couples. I have been working for four days now and always worked full time before we had children.
My husband has always supported me in this. If it hadn’t been that way, we wouldn’t have kept it up, because I’m not the type to sit at home for five days. ” Another key to a steadfast relationship is equality, she says. “Whether he changes a diaper or I makes no difference. He also did the tasks needed in a family. ”
Cheating in a relationship
Relationship therapist Jacqueline Evers sees couples with very different problems in her doctor’s office. Cheating is high on the agenda. What also happens is that one of the partners wants an open relationship. Or that a woman wants to have a relationship with several men, because she does not care about sex, but wants to stay with the father of her children.
Other reasons to get professional help
Quarrels and increasing irritations can be a reason to seek professional help. They are often about the simplest things, says Evers. “Couples keep track of who did what at home. Sometimes people are overloaded by moving or work, which requires a lot of attention, and is therefore more irritable.
What I also often hear is that people are too busy with houskeeping and family stuff, but have lost each other as partners and lovers. Bottom line in relationships is about communication, intimacy, feeling really understood and supported. The forms of expression are different for each couple. ”
80% of the couples stay together after couples therapy
Many couples will eventually be fine again, is Evers experience. She estimates that eighty percent of couples who go to therapy with her choose to stay together. “I think the secret to a good relationship is connection. That you are in contact with your own feelings and thoughts, and those of your partner, and that there is equality. ”
In practice, she often sees that there is an unhealthy dynamic, with one in the parent role and the other in the role of the child. The man lectures the woman, or vice versa. “If there is equality in the contact, a lot is possible in a marriage. Sexuality and intimacy are also important. If that is missing, it is a sign that they are more distant from each other. ”
Tips for a good marriage
Jacqueline has a few tips for keeping a good marriage. “Make time for each other and ask each other: what do you long for, what else would you like? A kind of mini reflection. Also look at the communication, discuss what your partner is saying. For example, if the wife says that she is annoyed that her husband is home too late to eat, show understanding instead of making rational arguments or defending. ”
Annual Relationship Checkup
Finally, she would advise a ‘annual relationship checkup’, an annual moment of attention for your relationship, just like for your car, in which you receive tips tailored to you by a relationship therapist. “This gives you new insights and you can break through old patterns. Relationship therapy is often about old pain, not being seen or supported by your parents. Or a way of communicating that you got from home. Some people express themselves in anger, while other people withdraw. This then creates problems in relationships. ”
EFT Relationship Course – Hold Me Tight
What more and more people choose is the relationship course ‘hold me, which is not therapy but a way to change your relationship step by step. We are often used to investing in our personal or business development. But when you invest in your relationship development, you become a happier person. And you radiate that. “That I wish everybody” says Jacqueline Evers Loveworkx.