There are piles upon piles of relationship books, endless pages of love podcasts and millions of relationship therapists who all swear they have the key to the perfect relationship. However, when it really comes down to it- the best relationship advice comes from those who have lived it.

There is a major misconception that we are supposed to find perfect love. When we meet this person, there will be no work-just an instant soulmate. And while this is cute to believe in- and while Disney has pushed this narrative to us for generations- the fact of the matter is, love isn’t found, it is cultivated. Mr. and Mrs. Lombardi, a couple who are 95-years-old, each have been married for over 72 years. It’s pretty safe to say that know a lot more than most people do about what it takes to make a relationship last.

Thankfully, they are happy to share their tips and tricks for making their marriage not only last, but thrive.

1. Compliment one another.

If you’ve been with your partner for a while, you might just assume that they know what you think of them. However, it’s important to never stop letting them know how highly you think of them. Every day, say something complimentary to your partner, even multiple times each day.

2. Keep the spark alive.

Keep your sex life going. Of course, after the beginning, it isn’t likely that you are going to have sex every day (if you do, that’s great), but if the sex dies down, and it’s less often, make the most of the time you do get intimate. And even when you aren’t having sex-make a point to find other ways to be intimate.

3. Stay close to family.

While having a good relationship with your partner is so important-it’s not the only relationship in your life. Make sure to stay close by your family and friends so that you can all make memories together.

4. Take care of yourselves.

You could have all the love in the world- but if you don’t take care of yourself, you will not be around to be there for each other. Exercise regularly, strive for balance in your diet, and take care of yourself and your partner’s health.

5. Choose love every day.

There are going to be days that you do not like your partner. However, it’s important to remember what brought you together to begin with, and to continue choosing love even when it’s not easy. We are told early in life that we will grow up and find our prince charming and everything will be sunshine and rainbows. Unfortunately, that is not true. The only way to make a relationship last is to find common ground with your partner and continue choosing love every day-even when it’s the hardest thing you’ve ever done.

6. Don’t cheat.

No matter how much you do everything perfect in your relationship, if you cheat, you run the risk of destroying the bond you have. While there are cases in which people can forgive their partner- I assure you that they will never forget. It will take much time, effort, and heartache to ever get the relationship back to the way it was before. And in most cases- it never is the same again.

7. It’s okay to argue.

Just because you argue does not mean that your relationship is bad. All couples fight. If you can learn to fight for the relationship more than you fight to be right-you can make your relationship last forever. It’s all about how you fight.

8. Never go to bed angry.

According to the Lombardi’s, no matter how upset you are with your partner, do not go to bed angry. Instead, even if you don’t want to and even if you are mad-kiss your partner. “Just kiss,” they say, and they are firm believers that it helps immensely.

9. Always respect each other.

No matter what you disagree with your partner about, always respect them. No matter how angry you are, and no matter what they have done-treat them with respect. You can assert how you feel, assert boundaries and disagree-just do it in a ‘clean’ way. Because there are certain things you can n ever take back.

10. Be good parents.

If you have kids together, treat them with the same respect you treat your partner. Help to educate them on how to be a good human. Encourage them to find something they love and something they are good at, and push them to go for their dreams. But, don’t try to force them to live out your unrequited dreams. Remember, they are their own person.

11. Take care of your home.

Our homes are a reflection of our lives. If our home is upside down and in disarray, it’s quite likely that your life will be too. So, the Lombardi’s say to keep your home clean and organized.

12. Take the good with the bad.

There are going to be good days and there are going to be bad days. There will be moments that you think your partner hung the moon – and there will be moments in which every little thing they do annoys you. Remember, none of us are perfect. Love requires radical acceptance. That means that you must accept your partner for who they are-not just the parts that you like. If you are always trying to change your partner and cannot accept every bit of them-then you are not in the right relationship, or you need to work on how you approach love and relationships.

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