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On Valentine’s Day, couples reveal their secrets to a long-lasting relationship

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By Patrick Garcia

“What is the secret for a long lasting relationship?”

Although this timeless question often pops up in the minds of couples, it is still hard to give an exact answer.

According to a study by American psychologist Dr. John Grohol of Psych Central, the top secrets to a successful long-term relationship are compromise, communication, and choosing your battles carefully.

Of course, not all people and couples are the same, so Manila Bulletin talked to three couples who on the ways they manage to keep their love flourishing through the years.

Communication

For entrepreneurs Joey and Sophia Santillan, having good communication and understanding are the keys to their six-year relationship.

“[P]erhaps the biggest way we’ve been able to make it work is through communication of feelings and expectations,” Sophia said. “We try to communicate openly and early on when something is bothering us, especially when it comes to the business.”

The couple owns a bicycle shop in Quezon City. They met and fell in love with each other through cycling.

“Syempre di naman kasi pwedeng sarili mo lang iniisip mo, eh (Of course you cannot just think of yourself), you should always consider the feelings of your partner,” Joey added.

Compromise

According to restaurateurs Robert and Gloria Madrigal, compromise is their secret to 37 years of being together.

“Hindi dapat mawala ang compromise sa isang relasyon. Pag hindi kayo marunong magkasundo,  talagang walang mangyayari sa inyo,” Mr. Madrigal said. (Compromise should never be lost from a relationship. If you can’t get along with each other, then nothing will happen to the both of you.)

They said compromise is an integral part of their lives, not just in their relationship but in their business as well.

“Siguro pwede din naming masabing compromise is what really makes our relationship as well as our business succeed (We can say that compromise is what really makes our relationship and business succeed),” Mrs. Madrigal said. “We are both the chefs of the resto kaya hindi maiiwasang magkaroon ng arguments lalo na sa pagluluto,” (We are both the head chefs of the restaurant, that’s why it’s inevitable to have arguments, especially in cooking).

“[B]ut of course at the end of the day, we always try to understand each other and say sorry. Sobrang importante din ‘yung marunong ka mag-sorry sa partner mo (Saying sorry to your partner is also very important).”

Patience

Military veterans Lolo (Grandpa) Bong and Lola (Grandma) Elvira Mercado said that patience is what has allowed their relationship of 62 years to flourish.

“Kailangan talaga mahaba pasensiya mo sa partner mo. Kung wala kang pasensiya, hindi n’yo maiintindihan ang isa’t-isa (It’s important that you have a lot of patience with your partner. If you don’t have patience, you can never understand each other),” Lola Elvira said. “Kahit noon pang nanliligaw si Bong, sinusubukan na niya pasensiya ko.”

(Even back when Bong was courting me, he was already testing my patience.)

Lolo Bong also reminisced about the time he was still an active member of the Philippine Air Force and often away from Lola Elvira.

“[I] tend to send her letters almost every day while I was stationed in Villamor Airbase, and she was far away in Cavite. Talagang sinubukan ng Diyos ‘yung pasensiya and pagmamahal naming mag asawa,” he said. (God really tried our patience and love for each other.)

“Patience talaga ‘yung palagi naming pinapaalala sa mga anak at apo namin (We always kept reminding our children and grandchildren about the value of patience). That is one of the keys not just for a successful and long lasting relationship, but also to being a good person in society.”

Love is for everyone

Ms. Janice De Jesus, a barangay social worker who handles disputes between couples, said even though everyone is different, love is something that everyone can relate to.

“Sobrang dami kasing tips for a long lasting relationship with your partner eh, kasi lahat ng tao magkakaiba (There are a lot of tips for a long lasting relationship with your partner because all of us differ from one another).

“What’s important the most is understanding and acceptance for your partner. With that, no matter how much you differ from one another, mag-wo-work at mag-wo-work ‘yung relasyon n’yo (your relationship will work),” she said.

“Love doesn’t only relate to having a partner for life, it also means appreciating yourself and being a role model for the community.”

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