62 Tips to Create Your Own Love Story

by Tess

Today is my 39th wedding anniversary. The secret to a loving relationship is to do the work it takes to grow peacefully and lovingly into the future. 

My wonderful regular readers know I married when I was 17 years old and pregnant; we were parents to four little girls when I was 22 years old. The odds were against us. Big time. 

How do we do it? We do the work required of relationships. We’ve gotten the help we need.

We have been to individual and couples therapy (lots of it), and we have attended retreats, workshops and conferences together.

We put each other above all else.

We know how to have fun, be adventurous, work together and "be" together.

We also fight, blame, get angry and begin again. There’s no perfection.

Yet, there is constant improvement and the willingness to change and to begin again.

When it’s difficult we put one foot in front of the other. We lean on each other. 

When it’s easy we celebrate, knowing hat we’ll be together until death creates an unspoken peace. 

We made a commitment. I’m not against divorce. I’m really not against much at all. Live and let live is my motto.

For us, marriage just works. 

We have learned that every day is a clean slate. On most days we choose to get out of our own way. 

The following tips when practiced will help you have a long and healthy relationship. 

Allow kindness to create a mood of love.

Do things that bring both of you joy.

Prepare for love. Set a loving intention each morning.

Give up blame.

Know your partner isn’t the source of your pain.

Be generous–give more than you think you can.

Be adventurous.

Eat together…slowly.

Seek outside help.

Learn to hold your own hand.

Focus on changing your own annoying habits.

Lower your expectations.

Remember love is a verb.

Accept imperfection in all things.

Know to “be” in love and

“feel” in love.

Seek comfort within your relationship.

Focus on the beauty within your partner.

Connect with your heart and soul.

The more love you share, the more love you have.

Dance and play together.

Point all of your actions to love.

Decide to forgive.

Release judgment.

Never underestimate the power of touch.

Be willing to change.

Thrive on simplicity.

Fill your life with adventure.

Learn new things together.

Appreciate each other.

Take risks together.

Create a spirit of unity.

Learn to ask for and receive love.

Give more than you receive.

Let go of past hurt and resentment.

Establish a daily spiritual practice.

Abandon the need to be right.

Turn your burdens into blessings.

Believe the best is yet to come.

Have dinner by candle light.

Leave time for hobbies and fun.

Schedule alone time and vacations.

Smile and laugh together.

Respond to each other with love.

Be grateful for challenges and lessons.

Live in a relaxed, peaceful flow.

Respond in a calm and peaceful manner.

Don’t fix what isn’t broken.

Affirm: “I can let this go.”

Allow each other space to breathe.

Seek out the good in each other.

Keep your heart and mind open.

Surrender control.

Embrace the unexpected.

Apologize and offer to change your behavior.

Lighten up! Find humor in difficult situations.

Disengage from all drama.

Volunteer together.

Create a plan for your future.

Leave time for family and fun.

Be spontaneous.

Create room for intimacy and sex.

Pay attention to what doesn’t feel right.

Remember only love matters.

What makes your relationship work?

{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

Dandy January 14, 2011 at 3:26 pm

Congratulations on your 39th anniversary! That’s truely inspiring Tess! I find that compassion really makes my relationship work. When my partner is going through a hard time I just try to be there for him. Also I’ve learned that it isn’t always about me. When he’s had a rough day it isn’t because I’ve failed in anyway. Rough days happen to us all. Thanks for this positive post on love Tess! Take care!
.-= Dandy´s last post…Live out of your imagination- not your history! =-.

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Leah McClellan January 14, 2011 at 3:36 pm

This is such a great story, especially since you started so young! Definitely the odds were against you. But you two made choices, and that’s so wonderful. I love your tips, and partly because I spent more time in marriage counseling and marriage programs (as well as ind.) than I can count, I recognize the value in all of these.

This one is a biggy, in my opinion: “Apologize and offer to change your behavior.” I think a lot of people are resistant to this, as if changing a behavior means changing oneself. It’s just a behavior, and change isn’t always a bad thing. Then again, how we go about discussing things (or not) and asking for changes etc and taking into account all the other tips and so much more is a big part of the whole scene.

I’ll let you know what makes my relationship work when I have one lol (on sabbatical post divorce :)
.-= Leah McClellan´s last post…Thank God Almighty We Are Free At Last =-.

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Sandra Lee January 14, 2011 at 5:50 pm

Tess,
Congratulations on 39 years of a wonderful marriage. That is a supreme accomplishment.

The tips here are amazing for both inside marriage and outside of it too. I love this point you made in the introduction: “We know how to have fun, be adventurous, work together and “be” together.” I could focus on manifesting just this one lesson alone and we haven’t even gotten to the tips yet!

Two favorite tips are to eat together, slowly and to learn to hold your own hand. Bu they’re all fantastic. How about one a week for a year!
.-= Sandra Lee´s last post…Free Yourself with Free Writing =-.

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Betsy at Zen Mama January 14, 2011 at 6:32 pm

Tess,
I love this post! I had never heard your story…amazing! The nice side is that you are/will be a young grandmother! I love your many tips but esp your first…allow kindness to create a mood of love. My great aunt gave us some advice just before we were married. She said, “Want more for the other person than you want for yourself.” At the time I thought “Well, why not want more for us both?” But over time I’ve realized that unconditional love is just that, wanting more for the other person. It’s not being a doormat, it’s just unconditional love.
Thanks for your reminders!!

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Evita January 14, 2011 at 7:09 pm

Dear Tess,

What a beautiful post and testament to your marriage, love and unity!

I was greatly touched by the whole post and read it out loud for myself and Markus. We pride ourselves on our relationship being a unity and practice so much of what you have included in your list daily, with constant, consistent improvements. We have chosen a life together too, and we truly find there is not enough time in each day for us to spend together. We intend each day and re-commit ourselves to each other as well. I have a good feeling that one day we too will be celebrating our 39-th anniversary ;)

Happy amazing 39 years to you and Roger! You are an inspiration and a shining example of love :)

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Sue January 14, 2011 at 7:24 pm

Hi Tess,

Wow. Thirty-nine years together with your beloved; a cause for celebration, indeed! My sweetie and I celebrated five years of being together on January 1st–and we have a long distance relationship! Kindness, compassion and shared laughter are important ingredients in our happiness. Also we are aligned on our major values and outlooks and are kindred spirits in many ways. One of the other biggies for strengthening the emotional bonds is remembering to tell your beloved on a frequent basis that she or he is greatly loved and appreciated.

I hope you and hubby have/had a wonderful celebration.
Bright blessings for an equally happy and joyful future.

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Cathy Hesselink January 14, 2011 at 7:41 pm

Congratulations to you and Roger! What a wonderful accomplishment 39 years of marriage! Happy Anniversary and may you both be blessed with many more joyous years together!

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Ande Waggener January 14, 2011 at 8:19 pm

Happy Anniversary, Tess! This is love at its best and love worth keeping. A lovely treasure map to the “gold” of marriage. Thank you for sharing your joy and your wisdom!
.-= Ande Waggener´s last post…This Is What Exuberant Expectation Looks Like =-.

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Angela Artemis January 14, 2011 at 9:26 pm

Dear Tess,
Congratulations on your 39th anniversary! I’m going to print out your excellent tips and savor each one for the nugget of wisdom in contains. I know that part of your success is your great personality and fabulous sense of humor!
Hugs,
Angela
.-= Angela Artemis´s last post…Intuition- Developing X-Ray Vision &amp A Remote Viewing Experiment =-.

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Andrea DeBell - britetalk January 14, 2011 at 10:18 pm

Hi Tess! Congrats! These are wonderful tips from an expert on the subject. I specially love: Know your partner isn’t the source of your pain. We often blame others or we look for others to complete us instead of looking within. These are very wise words.
Thanks for this beautiful reminder. Loving blessings!
.-= Andrea DeBell – britetalk´s last post…No Worries About the Future- The Secret of Effortless Living =-.

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Alex Blackwell January 15, 2011 at 5:22 am

Congratulations Tess and thank you for sharing a wonderful list of heartfelt tips.

It’s good to see how beautiful a marriage can be.

Alex

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Megan "JoyGirl!" Bord January 15, 2011 at 7:07 am

Congratulations, Tess! I loved this list, and hope to celebrate many of my own anniversaries. I appreciate your guidance and inspiration!

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Kristy January 15, 2011 at 9:18 am

Mom, happy 39th!!!! What a milestone and wonderful example you and dad have been to me! My steadfast to my relationship is something I learned from you both along with a willingness to do the work!!!! Love to you both!!! xoxoxo

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Sibyl - alternaview January 15, 2011 at 1:59 pm

Tess: Happy 39th Anniversary. What a beautiful post and message. I particularly appreciated your advice to accept imperfection in all things. I think that is such a powerful statement because it is so easy to fall into the trap of building up all of these expectations for our significant other and then when something doesn’t happen as we like, we look at them as being imperfect. The reality is that we can do ourselves so much good by just accepting and loving them for what they are. Great post and message.

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Patty - Why Not Start Now? January 15, 2011 at 2:19 pm

What a beautiful couple you two are Tess. I don’t always know what makes my almost 33 year relationship work but I think it’s the commitment you speak of. Knowing there will be ups and downs, yet still sticking through it all and growing together. And relishing the bond that grows so strong. A big congrats to you both!
.-= Patty – Why Not Start Now?´s last post…Patience =-.

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Amit Sodha - The Power Of Choice January 15, 2011 at 9:31 pm

“Believe the best is yet to come” I’m 33 and I’m single so this one is one that believe in wholeheartedly. And the same goes for anyone and in any other area of life…i genuinely believe the best is yet to come.

Congratulations on the relationship Longevity, it’s no easy feat, I’m sure it’s taken effort, ups and downs, plenty of squabbles but you survived them all and you should be proud!
.-= Amit Sodha – The Power Of Choice´s last post…Living Consciously – A Path For Warriors- Not Wussies =-.

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Kate January 16, 2011 at 3:10 am

Congratulations! And a beautiful list of tips, I like ‘space to breathe’ as both my boyfriend and I like time alone. We are good at sensing when the other one doesn’t want to talk or be around people and so find something else to do!
.-= Kate´s last post…Look after You =-.

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Marci January 16, 2011 at 6:30 am

Tess, Congratulations on your wedding anniversary! Not being afraid to have a little conflict is what I too wrote about this week. Thank you for sharing your story. I really enjoy hearing what makes marriages work, not just work, but be more enjoyable than not.

For me, it’s appreciating differences, giving my spouse the benefit of exploring his own way, and not thinking my way is the better way.
.-= Marci´s last post…Do Opposites Still Attract =-.

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Amy Johnson January 16, 2011 at 10:43 am

Happy Anniversary and congrats on a beautiful partnership! It sounds like you and your husband know how to be TOGETHER…and that’s what makes my relationship work. Remembering that we’re on the same team, not competing but working together and remembering that we care about each other above all else.
Congrats to you both!

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Patti Foy January 16, 2011 at 1:22 pm

Congratulations, Tess, and to your hubby too! Isn’t a good relationship one of the absolute best blessings ever?!

My husband and I are coming up on our 19th (not quite as remarkable as 39!) and I think the most important for us has been communication. We simply don’t let things simmer or stew for too long. We put ‘em out on the table and discuss. It’s wonderful! It took a lot of training for me, though, since I grew up in a family where we never talked about anything. And I’m still learning.

Anyway, sooooo happy for you both. And thanks for sharing all these great tips. Lord knows we can use every one of ‘em!
.-= Patti Foy´s last post…Kiss Your Cold Goodbye Fast With These 20 Natural and Vibrational Remedies =-.

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John Sherry January 17, 2011 at 4:52 am

Tess, you are both a rarety these days – 39 wedded years of commitment to love and each other. Youve earned the right to share how to love better and keep it alive. We can feed each other and talk to each other and do things with each other but we will always need love with each other. It needs to be shown to be grown. Thank you for doing that – we need more people proud to declare their love like you. I bless you both for more happy years together Tess.
.-= John Sherry´s last post…The Right Lines =-.

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Hilary January 17, 2011 at 11:03 am

Halloooo Mr and Mrs Tess the Bold .. love it – congratulations to you both .. and Tess you do give us so much wisdom .. those years have paid off – we learnt from you, your family, your beautiful Mum .. so recently gone .. the fields of your lives have given us many flowers …

Fantastic .. long, long may it last .. with love Hilary
.-= Hilary´s last post…Guide Books- Queries – Publishers and Authors- Mariana Starke- Baedeker- Murray- Ward &amp Lock- Wainwright late 1700s to mid 1900s =-.

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Jasmine January 17, 2011 at 11:41 am

39 years that’s amazing, congrats! I have been with my boyfriend for 6 years, and I remember “knowing” that he was the one. Now, it feels like we are roommates. Like we gave up on feeling “in love”. It hurts. I will print out your list, enlarge it and stick it to the fridge with gorilla glue : ) Thank you
.-= Jasmine´s last post…photo jigsaw puzzles =-.

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Pea January 17, 2011 at 12:47 pm

Congrats Tess, but I would be surprised to hear anything else.

As a perfectionist the only one that jarred was ‘lower your expectations’ – but that does not mean it isn’t correct.

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Mandy Allen January 18, 2011 at 6:44 am

Every day is a clean slate – I love that one. Best wishes for the years ahead of you, how splendid that you both have the ability to come together with kindness and are both willing to make it work. I recently came out of a 13 year relationship that had become very bitter, sadly. ‘Point all of your actions to love’ and you clearly do.

Enjoy the journey.

Mandy
.-= Mandy Allen´s last post…A New Year Begins =-.

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Lindsay January 18, 2011 at 7:38 am

39 years! CONGRATULATIONS! That’s wonderful.

I’m in a relationship and it’s very new…I plan to take these tips and use ‘em. I’d say the proof is in the pudding that your tips actually work!
.-= Lindsay´s last post…Automatic Intuition- Course in Review =-.

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Roshelle Brockman January 18, 2011 at 6:35 pm

Nice post Mom! xoxo

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Zeenat{Positive Provocations} January 19, 2011 at 5:43 am

Hi Tess,
Congrats congrats congrats! I personally just celebrated my 5th anniversary last week and thought wow for myself :) But you with 39 years is just super duper awesome!
I love a good love story…and I hope one day I reach to where 39 years as happily as you have.
And really this post can literally be a handbook for all couples…so much wisdom here. Thank you…..I appreciate your words and all you share so much.
I’ve been kind of a lazy bum in my commenting lately..but you are in my rss reader and are constantly in my thoughts
So Much love,
Z~
.-= Zeenat{Positive Provocations}´s last post…The Simplest Way to Discover Your Unique Life Purpose =-.

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Bryan Thompson January 19, 2011 at 8:52 am

Tess, congratulations on your anniversary! How amazing! My wife and I will celebrate 9 years this March. You’ve got some great tips here. One of the ones I really like is “be in love, feel in love.” This is what made us marry each other in the first place. It does have to be cultivated sometimes in relationships, but that’s why we have to choose to focus on the qualities we love about the other person. It makes a big difference.
.-= Bryan Thompson´s last post…The Rules For Making A Good Impression =-.

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Debbie @ Happy Maker January 19, 2011 at 12:24 pm

Hi Tess,
This is wonderful. I love your 62 tips to create your own love story. I was wondering you would be interested in letting me put this article in an ebook, yes you would get full credit for it. Here is a link to what I am doing.
http://www.happymakernow.com/2011/01/who-else-wants-to-have-an-e-book-that-has-all-the-possibilities-of-going-viral/
I would love to have you part of this. Just email me at debbie@happymakernow.com Thank you and I like “The Bold Life.” Thanks for sharing.

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Aileen January 20, 2011 at 5:39 pm

Tess Congratulations on your 39th anniversary! How wonderful you shared your tips with us! You offer such great wisdom. Far too often “love” is mis-understood and the journey of love with another person, is much like life’s journey with all it’s twists, turns and challenges.
.-= Aileen´s last post…Dared to be Awkward and Fulfilled a Dream =-.

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Rand January 22, 2011 at 3:48 pm

Fantastic!

Congratulations to both of you!

My mom was 16 when she got married to my dad who was 18. This was 1940 and comming out of the Great Depression with World War on the horizon.

The early 70′s were no piece of cake either.

I remember what Dennis De Young said during his intro to ‘Babe I Love You’ (about his wife) “You need to make your marraige last because you may never get a second chance”.

I will keep your tips from this lovely post to keep focused because just maybe I’ll get a “second chance” some day.

I thank both you and your husband for this…

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Davina Haisell January 26, 2011 at 10:10 pm

Belated Happy Anniversary, Tess! I’m slowly making my rounds after taking a 6-week reading break. When I scrolled through my reader tonight I knew I had to pop in to this post to give you and your husband my best! Wonderful insights here. I resonated with them even though I don’t have a partner. This can apply to anyone in my life. I especially appreciated: “Set a loving intention each morning.” Just that one small step can make the biggest difference.

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Tess January 26, 2011 at 10:18 pm

Davina,
A 6 week break, you are so healthy!!! Thanks so much for stoppin in and joinin the celebration. I appreciate you. And yes they can be for anyone can’t they? xoxo

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