Bono has revealed the “magic” that has kept his 34-year marriage to teenage sweetheart, Ali Hewson going strong.
The couple met forty years ago this week in their hometown of Dublin, Ireland — before the U2 frontman became a household name. He walked her to the bus stop after their date, he told ET at the Glamour Women of the Year awards this week. Three decades on and the pair have four children and are clearly still very much in love. The musician joked that although it wasn’t love at first sight for Hewson (“she’s still working up to that”), the red carpet keeps the magic alive.
“We feel the red carpet has kept us close,” he quipped. “If things are going around, we say, ‘Let’s do the red carpet, certainly.’”
Whether Bono is joking or not, feeling content and passionate in a marriage for that long is no mean feat. And, while the pair no doubt have their moments like all couples, relationship experts agree that simple tricks can keep a long-term relationship special. Here, Rachel Vosey, principal psychologist at Sydney therapists, The Relationship Room and John Aiken, relationship psychologist and expert on the hit Ch 9 series Married At First Sight share the advice they always gives their clients…
Rachel says…Stay curious
“Everyone knows communication is key, but to keep the magic alive, it’s a little more than just talking.
“As a partner you need to stay curious about your partner. Try not to assume that you know everything about each other. Ask them questions and listen to their answers like you would with a good friend.”
John says…Do little things daily
“Do little things daily and often to bring your partner close. Forget about grand gestures once a month (e.g flowers) — it’s all about every day actions. Pay compliments, kiss your partner hello and goodbye, take an interest and ask little questions.
“Listen to your partner when they’re stressed and don’t offer advice, put the phone down when your talking to each other, go for a morning walk together and go to bed at the same time. This builds connection, intimacy and friendship, and maintains the magic.”
Rachel says…Spend time together
“So many couples say that they are just too busy to make time for their relationship, but research shows that having fun together is key to keeping love alive. It doesn’t have to be a fancy or elaborate night out — just make time to laugh and play in some way together each week.”
John says…Make time for your relationship outside of the kids
“Prioritise each other so that you don’t lose your connection. For instance, keep kids out of the bedroom, go out on a date night, talk about things outside of the kids, have regular sex, have couple rituals away from the kids (e.g. morning coffee, glass of wine after they go to bed, lunch during the week), and always remember to parent as a team in front of them.”
Rachel says…Try the six second kiss
“Research has revealed that the way we say hello and goodbye to each other is something that happy couples often do really well.
There is something very special about a kiss that lasts 6 seconds or more, so try making this little extra effort when you see your partner at the end of the day.”
John says…Have a great friendship
“The secret to a loving long-term relationship is to have a great friendship. The way to get this is to increase the positive behaviours between you both. The magic ratio is 5:1 positive to negative.
“So saturate the relationship with positive interactions — run errands, express compliments, have sex, send a thoughtful text, go for an evening walk, clean the house, unload the dishwasher — they more you do, the closer you get.”
Rachel says…Don’t sweep disagreements under the rug
“Disagreements and different points of view are part of every relationship, so some conflict is inevitable and that’s okay.
“Couples who come back to disagreements when they are calm and can share their feelings and points of view and listen well to each others perspective tend to have much less resentment build up over time.”
John says…Avoid this mistake
“The biggest mistake that husbands and wives make is that when they have an issue or problem, they bring it up with a sledgehammer!
“Research shows that how you start a conversation will determine how it goes. So if you begin with a criticism or harsh tone, then it’s going to go badly. Instead think about how you want to bring up a problem — and then do it softly with an “I feel” statement.”
Rachel says…Keep developing your communication skills
“None of us are born with good communication skills, it is something we all have to learn.
“Effective communication can completely change a relationship that feels stuck. Seeing a good couples therapist doesn’t have to be the result of being in a crisis. There are lots of small ways a therapist can help you make big changes.”
John says…Stay close in hard times
“Listen to each other and don’t fix! Whenever you’re under stress and times get tough – you must always empathise with your partner, side with them and never ever offer solutions.
“They just need to know that you have their back. No judgments, blame or advice – just support and empathy.”
John says…Try these five tricks today
1) Hellos and goodbyes — make a point today of prioritising your partner above the kids, pets anything. Kiss them when you leave, and kiss them when you return.
2) Prioritise affection — sit next to them tonight on the couch, kiss them, hold them, initiate lots of non-sexual touch
3) Express 3 good things — tell them three things that they did today that you really loved/appreciated about them
4) Send thoughtful texts — during the day take a moment to send some thoughtful texts to touch base and let them know you’re thinking of them
5) Debrief for 20 mins — spend time tonight venting about your stressful day and your partner must listen, take your side and offer no advice!
Read more at http://honey.nine.com.au/2016/11/17/13/43/marriage-problems#vh87eHzqTx8TdRX4.99