The Secret to a Long-Lasting Marriage

Giant 'Happily Ever After' Tag

Article by Wendy McCance

Last night I watched the Wedding Planner with my girls.  The Wedding Planner is a movie that came out in 2001.  It starts Jennifer Lopez and Matthew McConaughey.  It had been so many years since I had seen the movie, that I didn’t remember much about it other than it would be an appropriate movie for the girls, and I thought they would enjoy seeing it.

The movie is about a wedding planner (Jennifer Lopez) who is great at her job, but not so great when it comes to relationships.  She meets a doctor (Matthew McConaughey) under unusual circumstances and falls in love with him.

If you are thinking of seeing the movie, stop right here, go rent the movie and then come back and finish reading this post.  What I am about to say will ruin the movie for you otherwise.

Okay, so I am assuming anyone who is still reading this has either seen the movie or has no intention of renting it, so I will go on.

As we were watching the movie, we find out that the wedding planners father has set the wedding planner up with a guy from their homeland of Italy.  He is interested in arranging a marriage for his daughter (he was in an arranged marriage himself which turned out fantastically well).  He wants to see his daughter married and he feels this guy from Italy would be the perfect choice.

In the mean time, the wedding planner goes on a date with the doctor, the sparks fly and then we find out a horrible secret.  The doctor is engaged and his fiancée had hired the wedding planner to put together their wedding.

The wedding planner finds out and is of course devastated.  In the mean time, the guy from Italy woos the wedding planner.  He is charming, obviously loves her and would devote his life to treating her extremely well.  He is sentimental and takes the whole business of love and marriage seriously.

Around this time in the movie, my girls started talking about how they felt about the wedding planner and her two choices in men.  Honestly, they surprised me with their choice of who she should pick, and their reasoning melted my heart.

They chose the guy from Italy.  They loved the way he took care of the wedding planner.  They thought he was kind and thoughtful.  They loved that he wore his heart on his sleeve.  They thought the doctor was a jerk.  They didn’t like that he manipulated the situation with the wedding planner.  They thought that the doctor was the type of person that only thought of himself and they were right.  They got it.

In the end, the doctor doesn’t get married and runs to break up the marriage of the wedding planner who has decided to go with door number two (the guy from Italy).  Long story short, the wedding planner and the doctor end up together.  By this time, both of my girls were shouting at the movie yelling, “no” and said they couldn’t believe what a bad choice the wedding planner was making.  At the same time, they were talking about how bad they felt for the guy from Italy.  They thought he was wonderful and didn’t understand how she could choose the jerky doctor?

When I first watched this movie, I don’t think I had the same reaction as the girls.  I don’t think I saw the movie in the same light.  I just got sucked into which relationship seemed to have the most sparks flying.  The relationship with the Italian guy was quieter, but sweeter.  It would have been the type of relationship that would have had little drama, but lots of love.

Herein is where I realized what I have done in my own past and what my wise kids have learned from the mistakes of both me and their dad.

Drama doesn’t work.  Huge highs and lows in feelings are not what makes for a long, happy marriage.  Those slow, quiet relationships might not feel as intense, but when there is respect, care and people more interested in putting the other person first instead of concentrating on what they personally need and want, a long, happy relationship will bloom.

It’s about the long road ahead.  How will a couple get through the hard times unless their heart is truly devoted to the other.  Those high drama relationships will fizzle at the first difficult moment or when the spark dies out (which inevitably happens in every relationship).

What some people don’t realize is that as the spark quiets down, in a good, solid relationship, the love actually intensifies.  True romance is about feeling that deep down love, not the butterflies in your stomach that happens at times during the initial stages of a relationship.

I have been in relationships where there is intense chemistry right from the beginning.  Those relationships were always the ones where there always ended up being a lot of fighting and a sense of selfishness on the part of both people involved.  The emphasis would turn to how do I feel and am I getting all that I want?

When I had found a quieter relationship where hearts were exposed, the whole emphasis was on how the other person felt and the concentration was on doing everything possible to make another feel loved and cared for.  When both people handle a relationship like this, you have magic and the ingredients to a long-lasting marriage.  Somehow, my girls instinctively understood this.  They recognized what it took for a relationship to be healthy and a success.

When I was growing up, my parents were very self oriented.  They fought quite a bit.  Their fights were always about how they needed certain things and never focused on how the other one felt.  I never saw them hugging, holding hands or taking care of each other.  There were never moments where I could just tell how much love and respect they had for each other.  They never took care of the other one first just because they wanted to make the other person feel loved.

I am so grateful that my daughters have seen enough relationships that they understand what a good relationship looks like, and what a toxic relationship can do .  My kids understand this secret, and now you do too.

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Wendy McCance

Wendy McCance is a Michigan based freelance writer and social media consultant. Wendy has gained attention as the founder of the popular blog Searching for the Happiness which can be viewed in 6 local papers online, including the Oakland Press.The combination of writing skills and social media knowledge is what makes Wendy such a powerhouse to work with. Stay tuned for opportunities to advertise, guest post and as always, have your questions answered.

To contact Wendy McCance about a writing assignment, interview or speaking engagement, please email her at: [email protected]

24 thoughts on “The Secret to a Long-Lasting Marriage

  1. Wonderful…Amazing…Awesome post…
    Nice thoughts & beautifully presented..
    Liked the line “When I had found a quieter relationship where hearts were exposed, the whole emphasis was on how the other person felt and the concentration was on doing everything possible to make another feel loved and cared for.”
    One who can understand this understands the true meaning of relations.


  2. Marriage can withstand anything where there is commitment to each other and the vows made. This has been true for me and we have been through the gambit of drama, but we are committed to each other and we will celebrate our 48th anniversary this month.

  3. Good post Wendy and it was interesting to read the dialogue between you and your daughters on the issue of relationships. It’s a complex subject and I agree with the conclusion.

    At the end of December we celebrated our 46th anniversary! We’ve weathered a lot of storms over the years but we’ve come through and it’s because of what you said about caring for one another. We only knew each other 6 months before we were married which would have put our marriage on the skids right from the start. But because we talked alot when we were dating we got to know each other’s dreams and values and our relationship grew into something more than physical and carried us through the tough times when we got married.

    I’m often reminded of an answer of a question Dr. Phil had for a couple that had been married 60 years. He asked what had kept them together for so long. The wife spoke and said, “They never fell out of love at the same time.”

    I have a story on my sight if you’re interested in reading. It’s called “Young Love to Old Love” and is about when and how my husband and I first met and married. Here’s the link if that’s okay to share here (

    Happy New Year everyone! :-)

      • I think I have seen the movie but didn’t pay much attention to it because I think I was on my computer at the same time and I guess I wasn’t too interested in relationshippy films at the time but I will look out for it in the future. Thanks.

  4. I have never seent the movie and guess what I don’t have any plans to watch it so will I be missing anything maybe but maybe not to me the movie was just so cliched………….ok enough about a movie I haven’t seen………now onto relationships I think you need to be with someone who loves you without any drama involved relationships that have drama will not last……….

  5. Congratulations! You can pat yourself on the back for a job well done. You have shown your children what a real relationship is from your marriage. I have had both sides of this issue, and it’s the quiet relationship that works in the end.

    • It never occured to me that the girls would really pick up on the subtleties that make a relationship a good or bad one. I was so thankful to find out they had been paying attention.

      • I agree with this article,Actually I love my hubby so much but since last 2 years our marriage is not running well,I need your favour if you can give me..Actually I want to share this article with my hubby,if you will share it would be better than if I share..May I get your favour?

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