By Robin Smyth

Nothing is more adorable than watching a still-in-love senior citizen couple holding hands as they make their slow and steady way through life. Anniversaries of 50, 60 and even 75 years are almost mind blowing to me. In a world of revolving door relationships, what is the secret to staying the course?

From reading story after happy story of long lasting relationships, I saw a pattern. Marry your best friend. Marry the person you can trust and talk to. The person who gets who you are, in your heart. Keep in mind that life is full of both joy and hardships so having your truest friend as your spouse can be a real blessing for facing whatever challenges arise.

Realize that any long-term relationship takes work. Hard times are just that. Hard. Not every day will be sunshine and gumdrops. People argue and can go through periods where they don’t like each other very much. But the friendship, that commitment to the marriage and the layers of love, that’s what gets people through the storms of life.

When love seems stretched into a line so thin it looks like a thread, couples can take strength from drawing on the commitment of the marriage vows that were exchanged on the wedding day. Being married is more than a glam ceremony. It’s a promise before friends and family, your god of choice, to each other. It’s literally a contract both on paper and of the soul to each other to stand side-by-side for the unpredictable future that lies ahead.

If your marriage is outside of what our society deems as normal, if your ceremony and pledge exist beyond the courts or church, the same commitments and vows can be as applicable as marriages condoned by law. Couples of all gender blends and faiths can work the ideology that respect to the promise made to the everlasting bond between them, faith and love will endure time and frailty of the heart.

Is there a mysterious secret to everlasting love or is the truth of the matter that some people just don’t give up on each other no matter what? I look to my grandparents, both maternal and fraternal, and marvel in their decades-long successful marriages. In their 90s, you can bet hard times fell on them individually and as couples. Maybe the answer is love, always.

Robin Smyth is a for the people writer. Open, honest, uplifting and hilarious. Follow her on Twitter @RobinDS3.