real life

The one thing that makes marriages last longer.

So you’re married. But how do you STAY married?


If you want to make your head explode, Google ‘how to stay married’ just for kicks.

Just as a heads up, the conflicting advice will leave you rocking in the foetal position under the dining room table.

That fickle minx the interwebz will try and tell you the secret to a long-lasting relationship is everything from pooling all your money (high-five Brynne Edelsten!) to moving house a lot to kissing for at least 10 seconds a day (hopefully with your partner and not with Dave in Accounts) to going to church together to having kids (HAVING KIDS? WHAT ARE YOU, DRUNK?).  Dr Phil will tell you it’s all about meeting your partner’s needs.  And everyone else will tell you it’s about having loads of sex.

But what if the answer was none of those things?

What if the answer was as simple as ‘having some time to yourself’?

Last week the Sydney Morning Herald ran a story that was the most read article of the weekend.  In Forget Sex, The Secret To A Long Lasting Relationship Is Space, journalist Sandy Smith wrote about research that found having space and ‘time for self’ was far more conducive to a happy marriage than having sex.  She writes:

Having enough space or privacy in a relationship is vital.

Having enough space or privacy in a relationship is more important for a couple’s happiness than having a good sex life, according to Dr Terri Orbuch a psychologist, research professor at the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research and author of Finding Love Again: 6 Simple Steps to a New and Happy Relationship.

So why is space so important in a relationship? “When partners have their own set of interests, friends, and time for self, that makes them happier and less bored,” says Orbuch. “Time alone also gives partners time to process their thoughts, pursue hobbies and relax without responsibilities to others.”

Orbuch goes on to talk about how our ability to spend time alone is directly related to the attachment style we each had with our parents (which dictates whether we are secure spending time alone). And not surprisingly the Professor points out that women find it much harder to get time to themselves than men.
You can read the full story here. And it’s worth reading since Orbuch offers tips on how to get the space you need including not keeping secrets from your partner and being transparent about how you spend your time alone.
So what do you think?  Are you able to find ‘time alone’ away from your partner?  How important is it for couples to have separate interests?  What do you think is the secret to a long-lasting relationship?