Licensed professional counselor Darby Palmer said that many times it just takes a little effort. She said research has revealed that happy, long-lasting couples make a point to compliment each other and show affection. A simple "job well done" or a quick kiss can go a long way.
Now a psychiatric case manager at Beaufort Memorial Hospital, Palmer spent 10 years teaching couples communications classes on various military bases and has counseled numerous couples over the years.
"What (researchers) have found when looking at happy couples who have been together a long time is that they all do some of the same things," Palmer said.
Here are other things successful couples are doing:
Palmer said studies also have shown it takes up to five positive interactions with a spouse to negate one negative one.
"So it's not so much important that you never have a fight," Palmer said. "It's important that you -- the rest of the time -- are doing loving things and showing your spouse you care for them, and that you repair the feelings after a fight."
Read about some of the ways Island Packet and Beaufort Gazette readers have shown affection for their loved ones.
Nicole Piazza Burnett
My husband of almost two years proposed to me on Valentine's Day 2009 after we ran a 1/2 marathon together in Myrtle Beach. After we crossed the finish line, with almost 2,000 people around, he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. I was completely shocked, sweaty and ecstatic! Not only is it my favorite holiday, it's now my favorite memory. He could not have planned it more perfect. I am truly grateful, for both him and that amazing experience.
When I was a high school student in New Jersey, I met an exceptional young man, Bobby Schenck, who had just returned from being a soldier in Vietnam. We clicked immediately, and I fell hard for him. On Christmas 1968, I gave him an ID bracelet. On my 18th birthday, I enlisted in the Navy. Fast forward 42 years. I am retired from the Navy and settled in South Carolina. One day in 2010, I got a letter from Louisiana with no return address. It was from Bobby. He found me again! On Dec. 4 he sent me this e-mail with a photo attached:
Do you remember this? I've held on to it for 42 years now, in my floor safe (my secert treasure all of those years). Mind you I'm not too big on jewelry, but I'll never let go of it. You should also know that YOU have been with me all of those years also.
You're already nervous about your first day of first grade and of course, it never occurred to my little 7-year-old mind that the goofy kid sitting behind me would be waking up to my face some 40 years later.
Even though it took many years and many miles for our paths to cross again, they did several times. I think we were always meant to be together. We are soulmates, as corny as that sounds. He balances my weaknesses with his strengths, and I do the same for him. We are opposite and yet so perfectly suited for each other.
Our "for richer for poorer, for better for worse" promise holds true, and that's just one of many reasons that make him special to me. As I look forward to our 14th wedding anniversary this month, as well as Valentine's Day, I truly love my hubby and know that it's still that goofy kid with the goofy hair that makes me smile every day. I hope he still sees the nerdy girl from grade school when he looks at me, too.
Sun City Hilton Head
Cruising is one of my favorite things to do, so I went on a 14-day celebrity Caribbean cruise from Jan. 15-29. The weather was super, the food was fantastic and the excursions were wonderful. My husband could not go with me since he teaches international economics at the University of South Carolina Beaufort. When I returned home from the cruise, he was waiting for me in the parking lot where the bus dropped me off holding a dozen chocolate-covered strawberries. He had a big smile on his face and looked like a 16-year-old on a first date. As I walked closer to him, he picked me up and swirled me around. Everyone was looking, and it was so cute and made me feel like a teenager too.
Now that is a wonderful romantic moment. My husband, Len, is definitely a keeper!
Sun City Hilton Head
I was discharged from the Marines Corps in January 1959. In 1960, several Marine buddies and I rented a house for the summer in Margate, N.J. One afternoon at Moylan's Bar, I first saw Patircia Duffy. I was instantly smitten. She had a pesonality that matched her beauty. After returning back hom to Philly, I began to woo her and our first date was to an Eagles' football game.
We married on Oct. 21, 1961, and the first day of our honeymoon, we watched the Eagles play the Redskins on TV.
We have four wonderful children and now have 10 beautiful grandchildren - all Eagles fans.
We had only been dating for a few months. His birthday was fast approching, and I needed something deeply romantic for him. My boss, Maria Jackson, is the most romantic, selfless, amazing woman ever. So I went to her for advice. She planned the most romantic birthday ever. It was a private boat ride at sunset. She had everything from food to candles. She even wrote us a letter telling us to be happy together. She not only made his birthday romantic for him, but for myself, as well. Thank you, Maria.
Hilton Head Island has been our haven. Just as the tide returns to the shore, we keep returning to Hilton Head. For my birthday my sweetie took me on one of our "getaways" to Hilton Head. During a romantic moonlit walk on the beach he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. Less than a year later on July 3, 2010, we were married on that very same beach. We will always hold Hilton Head in a special place in our hearts, and will keep returning year after year to celebrate our love.
My husband, Dave, and I started dating in January 1993. Six months earlier I had been for my first baseline mammogram and was told I should return for another mammogram in three months because they had found a lump that looked "suspicious."
The year before had been a difficult one, and I was not feeling particularly optimistic about my future. My first husband of 12 years had broken my heart and my marriage ended in divorce. I was now a single parent working full time and trying to put on a brave face for my 5-year-old son.
As Dave and I had only been dating for a few weeks I had not mentioned the upcoming appointment until the day before. When I told him the nature of my appointment he offered to take me the following day. I thought the gesture was very sweet, but declined. If I was going to receive bad news I wanted to be alone and then have time to process. Little did I know how terrified I was until my doctor told me I was just fine. It was the first miracle of my day.
The second was Dave. As I was leaving my doctor's office I saw Dave sitting in the waiting room. He had been there the whole time. It was at that moment I knew I wanted to marry Dave. His message was clear, "whatever the outcome, I will be here." Seventeen years later, he still is.
Romance has always been in our life together, which started 35 years ago. There are many romantic stories I could tell, but this one floats up to the top of my mind and heart when I recall the day, probably sometime in 1985 or there about.
We lived in Oakland, N.J., a small town where we built our beautiful dream home in 1978 and were raising our 5 kids - two hers, three mine - from previous marriages. When we were married in 1976 our friends referred to us as "Ken and Barbie," what a cute, perfect couple. About two years later they all referred to us as "The Bickersons!" Nothing makes for better romance, though, than a few healthy arguments once in a while woven into the fabric of the marriage. This story is one of those many times when romance was in bloom.
I was working at my business in town and received a phone call from my wife. She said, "Darling, I have a surprise for you when you come home." I pestered her to tell me more. She teased me a bit and said, "Well, I thought we could go away for the weekend. The kids are all away with friends and this would be a perfect getaway time." I told her I would leave early and see her in about 10 minutes.
When I got home the luggage was in front of the house. Wow, she even packed for me. I asked where we were going and when we were leaving. She said you get your bag and I'll get mine, and follow me. She walked back to the house and up on the front porch. Where a candle lit dinner table with a bottle of champagne was waiting. "We are going right here for the weekend," she said, and she took her bag into the house.
Our house was in the woods, and we spent most of that evening well into the night on the most romantic porch in the neighborhood.
We have been, and still are so much in love.
"Without My Glasses: A partly true story"
My wife was out Saturday afternoon when a friend of hers, a lonely widow neighbor, came over seeking company. Distracted by her delicate perfume, I dropped my glasses as she sat next to me on the couch.
"Kiss me, my handsome hunk," she said, to my surprise.
How could I refuse?
Then something happened. The front door burst open, and there was my wife, frozen in horror.
"What do you think you are doing there kissing Charlene?" she stammered.
"Charlene? I thought it was you I was kissing, honey. You know I can't see too well without my glasses."