13 Old Wives’ Tales About Finding True Love That Are Actually True
When it comes to creating a healthy, long-term relationship, there are all sorts of old-fashioned love advice out there that you can tap into in order to find and keep true love. There's also plenty of totally out-dated advice, that you can completely ignore. But, for the most part, love advice is love advice, and most of it can still be applied to relationships today.
"There is a lot of age-old love advice. Because, while relationships evolve, love is timeless," Chicago-area couples therapist Theresa Herring, LMFT tells Bustle. "Whether old-fashioned or newfangled, love advice is about connection and commitment."
And that's why you may want to pay attention to it. "Much old-fashioned advice is rooted in helping couples in love learn to grow together," spiritual counselor Davida Rappaport tells Bustle. "If you both love each other enough to be in the relationship for the long haul, old-fashioned advice can keep you grounded and remind you to pay attention to what your partner says, does, doesn’t say, and what they need. As long as you both communicate your needs, and are willing to put forth the effort it takes to fulfill your individual and collective needs, you are well on the your way to that happily ever after."
Here are some age-old pieces of advice that have stood the test of time, and experts say may even be helpful today.
1. Believe In Love At First Sight
If you feel that spark of love at first sight — perhaps while on a date, or when making eye contact with a cute stranger in a coffeeshop — it may feel too good to be true. But there is something to be said for such an initial spark.
As Dr. Laura Deitsch of Vibrant tells Bustle, "I think love at first sight is possible. It might not be everlasting love, but initial attraction is a powerful thing and if it's mutual, can make for a great adventure and warm story."
2. Pay Attention To How They Treat Others
When you're out on a date with your new partner, pay attention to how they treat others, such as the wait staff in a restaurant or a barista. "It is nearly always indicative of a person's character," Deitsch says. If they're nice and polite to everyone they come across, then there's a good change they'll be nice and polite to you, too.
3. Keep Private Things Private
Back in the day, people didn't have a huge platform on which to air out their secrets, like we do today. So take this old saying to heart before you post about your relationship problems online.
"While there isn't anything inherently wrong with living our lives [online], modern couples could benefit from keeping private things private," Herring says. "Oversharing can really hurt relationships."
4. Try To Stick It Out Through The Ups And Downs
Hey, if your relationship feels toxic or unsafe in any way, you should definitely reach out to loved ones or a therapist to help strategize ways to leave. But if your relationship is healthy, and you'd like to stay in it, consider heeding this advice and sticking it out — even if you experience ups and downs.
"Couples today could benefit from the age-old advice to 'stick it out,'" Herring says. "Many modern relationships don't have staying power. Couples are more interested in immediate gratification than long-term goals. And, when it comes to marriage, splitting is an emotionally and financially costly decision. I'm not a proponent of 'suffering through,' but rather fighting to make your relationship work for you. And that requires perseverance, commitment, and 'sticking it out.'" Especially if you feel that your partner may be "The One," it may be worth it to fight for your relationship.
5. Be Best Friends
Going through life with someone who is not only your partner, but also your friend, is pretty much the best situation you can ask for when it comes to relationships. As Rappaport says, "if your partner is your best friend, you have hit the lottery and possibly found your soulmate."
So look for qualities in them that will keep you bonded in friendship (i.e., traits that go beyond just great sex or paying rent together — even though those thing are important, too). If you can find someone who has all of the above, it may just be true love.
6. Have Plenty Of Give And Take
In order to have a truly balanced relationship, there will have to be give and take. As Rappaport says, "Sharing and support is one of the cornerstones of a healthy relationship."
This might mean splitting the chores 50/50, or supporting your partner while they do something for themselves, then taking their support when you want to do something for yourself. True love is all about that balance.
7. It's The Little Things That Count
As the saying goes, "it's the little things that count." And when it comes to relationships, that's definitely true. "In any healthy relationship, it's often the small gestures that mean the most," health and wellness expert Caleb Backe of Maple Holistics tells Bustle. "Be it a flower, a nice text, a foot rub, or even running a bath, the small gestures are what solidify any meaningful relationship."
8. Forgive And Forget
OK, so this isn't to say that you should forgive or forget major problems in your relationship, but in order to keep things healthy, it is a good idea to let the minor things go. As counselor Tasha Holland-Kornegay, Phd LPCS tells Bustle, "forgiveness is an important part of improving one's relationship."
9. Be Generous With Your Time
If you want to find and keep true love, it'll be important to be generous — with your time, your energy, etc. And expect your partner to do so as well.
"Make sure you take care of the one you love," Holland-Kornegay says. "Couples who are generous with one another report being more satisfied in their marriage and more likely to be sexually satisfied."
10. Make Time For Sex
Another surefire way to keep a good thing going? By always making time for sex, intimacy, and couple time. "The couple that communicates about sex and stays consistent sexually will be closer," psychologist Douglas Weiss, Ph.D., author of Intimacy: 100 Day Guide to Lasting Relationships, tells Bustle. Whether that means actually scheduling sex nights into your calendar, or going out of your way to keep the spark alive by planning fun date nights, be sure to keep sex in your romantic life in a way that is comfortable for the both of you.
11. Dating Is Cheaper Than Divorce
The saying "dating is cheaper than divorce" simply means that it's important to put effort into your relationship, and not let your busy schedules or complacency get in the way — especially since doing so can often lead to the demise of your relationship, experts say. "The couple that dates regularly stays in love," Weiss says. "The discipline of prioritizing [your] relationship says 'I love you' loud and clear."
12. The Way To Your Partner's Heart Is Through Their Stomach
Ever heard the old wives' tale "the way to your partner's heart is through their stomach"? Well, it has some truth to it, Beverly Hills-based psychotherapist Dr. Fran Walfish tells Bustle. Cooking together is not only a bonding experience, but sharing food is just about the most affectionate thing you can do.
13. Believe People When They Tell You Who They Are
The original quote, from poet Maya Angelou, is "When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time." And it's a good one to keep in mind when creating a healthy, long-lasting relationship. "No one should enter a relationship or marriage with the thought 'it'll get better,'" relationship experts Elvin and Allison Perez tell Bustle. "If you can't accept this person as is, then they aren't the right one for you."
In other words, recognize early on whether or not you're tempted to "change them." If you're already having doubts on the first date, or notice some major character flaws right away, you'll need to either accept your partner as-is or move on.
Keep these age-old tips in mind when getting in a relationship, and experts say you should be able to weed out the bad situations, and find yourself love that'll truly last.