Couples share ingredients to successful relationships
Every relationship is different. There is no one secret to creating and maintaining a successful one. With this being said, there are some good starting points. We talked to three different couples, all at different stages in their lives together, and learned some of the ingredients that have made for lasting relationships.
Married for 12 years
Moira and Brian Kucaba of Mount Pleasant met in their mid-twenties at the gym and were married in 2005 after dating for two years.
Five years ago, the couple decided to go to therapy. “I didn’t want just the average marriage where we bicker and fight. I wanted us to be great,” Moira says.
To strive for this greatness, the Kucabas lean heavily on faith, compromising, and prioritizing date nights.
“When you put God at the center of your marriage and you walk that path, it makes everyone stronger. It’s impossible to do it all on your own,” Brian says.
The Kucabas have two kids, six and eight. Now that they have kids, they still try to make date nights a priority.
“We love hanging out with our kids, but we need to have one-on-one time sometimes, too. We’ll hire a sitter just to go out and ride bikes for a couple of hours on the beach,” Moira says.
They also stress the importance of compromising, which they dealt with in the beginning with wedding planning and more recently with building a house.
“You’ve got to be a team player, even if sometimes you don’t want to be. You have to learn to just give and take. It’s a compromise on both sides,” Brian says.
Married for 25 years
For couple Brian and Mellanie Dunn, it didn’t take long before they knew they wanted to be married. The two dated for about nine months before being engaged and were married six months later.
Looking back, they realize they didn’t know each other all that well.
“We were only 23 so we grew up and grew together, getting to know each other along the way,” Brian, says.
Throughout their relationship, it all comes back commitment, loyalty, and compromise.
“When we first started talking about getting married, we both had the belief that divorce wasn’t an option. We looked to commitment and loyalty to pull us through many obstacles,” Mellanie says.
Right off the bat, the couple says they dealt with compromise on where to raise their girls. Over the years, this compromise turned into where to spend holidays.
The two recently moved to Mount Pleasant to enjoy being newfound empty nesters while they explore the restaurants, hike and just enjoy more time together. But when they had kids in the house they had a rule to take one trip together at least once a year. This helped them to connect as spouses versus always being mom and dad.
“As we get older we’re realizing it’s a deeper kind of love—a different kind of love. It’s a different kind of support when you start aging and a strong companionship,” Mellanie says.
Married for 56 years
Tommy and Betty Williams were both born and raised in Mount Pleasant back when there was just one bridge in and out and no highway going north.
When asked how they met, Betty responded, “It’s more like when did we not know each other? We just kind of grew up together.”
The two went through high school together, but didn’t really date until college when Tommy was at the Citadel and Betty at the College of Charleston.
After Tommy graduated, the marriage happened less than a month after.
Tommy’s job offer happened quick as well. He took a job with the Navy’s NCIS unit – which required a lot of traveling. This is where the first compromise came in, for Betty at least.
“I promised her if she let me take the job, we would eventually come back to Mount Pleasant,” Tommy says.
They traveled all over the world from Italy to Japan. Their three children graduated high school in different countries—one in Italy, one in the U.S. and one in the Philippines.
When asked for their secret to making it last, Betty replied, “Make every place you are, home. No matter where it is.”
Tommy’s take is, “Become friends with your spouse first. You don’t have to always be lovey dovey with each other, but you always have to respect one another. I think if you do that, marriage will last.”
And for Tommy and Betty, making it last hasn’t seemed to be an issue for them.
So what makes a relationship work? Is it loyalty? Respect? We won’t ever know the secret formula, but after talking to the couples, it seems that compromise is certainly a good place to start…whether you’re married for 12 years or 56.