People dish out relationship advice left and right, but nobody's quite as qualified to offer it as the world's longest-lasting couples. And fortunately, due to a magical little invention called the Internet, we've had the opportunity to soak up some of their wisdom — and learn about their inspiring love stories. Since there seems to be a new viral "this older couple is the cutest so what are their secrets?" story out every day, I thought I'd get them all into one place and see if there are any patterns.
First, though, here's what science has to say about making love last. A Gottman Institute study of 79 couples found that the people who stay together are the ones who address problems immediately and listen to one another's complaints. So, while avoiding conflict may seem to keep the peace in the short-term, it could actually just increase your chances of experiencing a bigger fight down the line. And when it comes to keeping the passion alive, another study in the Journal of Sex Research found that long-term couples can maintain satisfying sex lives by doing it at least once a week, taking the time to set the mood beforehand, and communicating in bed.
And some experts say it's about the little things. "You need to look for the random acts of consideration and kindness," psychologist Nikki Martinez tells Bustle. "These are the things that will make you last. For example, my toilet paper and paper towels have been magically refilled since a month into dating my husband."
But how does this compare to people's firsthand experience? Here are some words of wisdom from people in relationships that have stood the test of time.
1John and Ann Betar
The Betars started dating over 84 years ago, and last Valentine's Day, they hosted a Twitter chat about their secrets to long-lasting love. She mentioned that she makes an effort not to try to control him: "I say, 'Oh go do what you want.' Nine out of 10 times he doesn't!" In addition, positive thinking has been key, she said: "He loves the whole world. He doesn't think about disliking anybody. I don't either."
2Ashraf and Mohammed Mohyeddin
This couple spent over 80 years together before Ashraf passed away, and they both lived past 100 years old. She admitted in a documentary about the couple that there were times when she "couldn't even look at his ugly face," but she stuck with it by laughing at these tough situations.
3John And His Wife
In this viral video, a man named John describes his 65-year marriage — and proves that love and first sight really does exist. He met her 70 years ago, he recalls. "I said to myself, 'she is the one for me.'" And he was right.
4Zelmyra and Herbert Fisher
After being married for 87 years, the Fishers released a Q&A on how they kept their love alive. Their secrets included learning to "bend, not break" during disagreements and to "never keep a score" because you're really "on the same team to win."
5Karam and Kartari Chand
These two were married for 90 years when he died, making them the world's longest-married couple. They tied the knot when they were still in their teens. How'd they put up with each other for that long? Simple: They made peace with compromise instead of arguing.
These tips just go to show there really aren't any shortcuts. Compromise, communication, perseverance, and all the other things we're taught to work on in relationships really are the key to making them last. But the good news is that if you put in the effort, relationships can survive for decades upon decades.