After asking 10 married women some questions about love, here is the insight they had to share.
How long have you and your significant other been together?
Woman 1: "18 years"
Woman 2: "29 years "
Woman 3: "Dated 5, married 20"
Woman 4: "8 years"
Woman 5: "18 years"
Woman 6: "29 years"
Woman 7: "37 years"
Woman 8: "50 years"
Woman 9: "My significant other and I have been together a combined 32 years. Some high school breakups and a divorce occurred through there — but who's keeping record?"
Woman 10: "A little over 16 years"
At what age did you and your significant other meet?
Woman 1: "I was 32, he was 39"
Woman 2: "19 years old "
Woman 3: "22 years old "
Woman 4: "42 and 50"
Woman 5: "32 years old"
Woman 6: "23 and 25"
Woman 7: "When we were teenagers"
Woman 8: "12 years old"
Woman 9: "I was 15 and he was 16 when we met. We are the product of a blind date. I had just came out of a destructive relationship and my brother and his then-girlfriend thought that I would benefit from branching out to other horizons. To my surprise, they were correct. He as well had just come out of a destructive relationship of unfaithfulness. We clicked right away and became immersed in our relationship. For our two year anniversary, he bought me a promise ring. We stood on my deck as he placed it on my finger and we said our vows to each other- I know it's weird, but so very sweet the connection was. What appeared to bring us together inadvertently was what contributed to the demise of our relationship several times. There was no unfaithfulness, however, the damage from the past relationships with it lingered and would rear its ugly head at times. The closer we became, the more cautious and protective we became. I became a bit contentious and he became disconnected. By God's grace we always seemed to be drawn back together. As we've grown, we have developed effective communication and appropriate conflict resolution skills — took many years to develop those. Now we are stronger than ever, more honest than ever, and humbled."
Woman 10: "Around 34"
How long were you together before you got engaged?
Woman 1: " Two years"
Woman 2: "Two years"
Woman 3: "Four years"
Woman 4: "Six months"
Woman 5: "One year"
Woman 6: "Seven months"
Woman 7: "Three years"
Woman 8: "Eight years on and off"
Woman 9: "Honestly we never got "engaged". We moved in together when I was 19. My family life was a bit volatile. One day my mother and sister were yelling at me in front of him because I was going to work and not going to be home to babysit my sister's kids for her to go out. Without saying a word, he went into my room, broke down my bed, and started carrying my stuff out to his truck. We lived together until I was 23, then I got pregnant — not my proudest moment getting pregnant out of wedlock, but God saw us through. We then got married when I was 23 prior to giving birth. So I would say we were together 8 years and lived together 4 years before getting married."
Woman 10: "We were married after 8 months of dating."
Who said "I love you" first?
Woman 1: "Him"
Woman 2: "He did"
Woman 3: "Him"
Woman 4: "He did"
Woman 5: "He did"
Woman 6: "He did"
Woman 7: "He did"
Woman 8: "Me"
Woman 9: "He said I love you first — feelings were very mutual."
Woman 10: "He did"
Was there a defining moment that made you realize you loved your significant other?
Woman 1: "Not really, I was crazy about him from the beginning."
Woman 2: "Not a specific moment rather than more of a feeling of completion and peace when we were together. A significance of this was intended."
Woman 3: "No"
Woman 4: "Honestly, when he fostered a mama cat and her four kittens. He knew I loved cats and being a dog person wanted to know more about them. You know the rest! "
Woman 5: "When he took care of me when I was sick."
Woman 6: "Yes, when we called off our engagement."
Woman 7: "After I tried dating other people."
Woman 8: "It started out as a teenager crush and as the years went by it grew into a deep love."
Woman 9: "There have been many defining moments that made me realize I loved my significant other. The first time was when I was a teenager and he didn't call me one night before going to bed — silly but true. I fell in love with him quicker than I expected or was ready to. After we divorced, I knew that I still loved him deeply because nothing felt right — I know that sounds cliche. The air didn't smell right, the holidays did not feel right, it just felt like I was WATCHING my life instead of LIVING my life. My soul was completely broken."
Woman 10: "I cannot think of one defining moment. I worked with him for years before we dated so I knew him very well."
How did you know they were the one?
Woman 1: "Couldn't stand to be without him."
Woman 2: "Our likes and interests were very similar. We had a lot in common, and loving him came very easy and natural as it is intended in true love. When spending time with my spouse and not loving him wasn't an option, missing him because of him and nothing else and not wanting to be anywhere else or with anyone different. I don't know that there has to be a defining moment, time, or place rather than for me it was and still is a feeling that sometimes can't be described. To love someone so deeply and be loved the same way is a true blessing and gift. When someone can love you through the absolute most difficult times in life as well as the happiest times, you just know that this person is your soul mate."
Woman 3: "He was kind."
Woman 4: "Everything was just easy, without being boring. It just felt 'right.'"
Woman 5: "When I saw how he was with kids."
Woman 6: "I couldn't stop thinking about him. He is my everything!"
Woman 7: "I just knew, I felt it"
Woman 8: "We grew up together"
Woman 9: "I just knew he was the one because he was the kindest, affectionate, patient, slow to speak, quick to listen person I had ever met. We were raised so differently but shared a loved so similar. He is the purest to himself person I know and am truly blessed to wake up to him every day."
Woman 10: " Again, not really sure how to explain it, I just knew."
What would you say the secret to a happy healthy relationship is?
Woman 1: "Being friends first and foremost, having a shared vision for your life together that makes both people's needs important."
Woman 2: "Communication and respect."
Woman 3: "Effort — put effort into your relationship because they require work."
Woman 4: "Communication and compromise."
Woman 5: "Honesty and forgiveness."
Woman 6: "Put him under God in the hierarchy of order. Put him before anyone else."
Woman 7: "Acceptance of each other and have individual things and forgiveness."
Woman 8: "Have mutual love and respect. Encourage each other, be kind, and thoughtful of each other. You can't have it your way all the time. It's not always 50-50. Be willing to be flexible if something is more important to one or the other. Be mindful of what comes out of your mouth; You can't take back words once said in anger. Open communication and really listen to what your partner is trying to tell you. Be sensitive, and caring to each other. Always "be there" for each other. Share everything with one another."
Woman 9: "The secret to a happy and healthy relationship involves satisfying many facets of that relationship. You have to first and foremost be honest — tactfully honest. Understand that no one is alike and someone's coping mechanism may be very different from yours. Many characteristics to have are: be cognizant of nonverbal communication — communication in any form is essential — be able to adapt & change for compromise sake, be genuine & kind, have mutual respect, contribute to keeping relationship growing — don't let it become stagnant — be quick to listen and slow to speak (I'm still working on this one), love with a full heart, and be patient."
Woman 10: "Communication - Cooperation - Commitment - Compromise."
What advice can you give to younger generations about relationships?
Woman 1: "Take your time — hormones wear off and it's good to enjoy the dating life"
Woman 2: "Effective communication and respect for one another of course. Never stop having fun! Put the effort in, I promise it will be worth it. Support one another through life and always be the other person's constant. Be best friends and love your love."
Woman 3: "Know what is important to you in a relationship and don't settle for anything less. Look at the family dynamic of the person you are dating — it matters in most cases. Don't get married just to change the life you are currently living. Talk about money, bank accounts, kids, lifestyle, where you will live, how often you will vacation, will you both work when you have kids, etc. before getting married. Make sure you two are on the same page or at least reading the same book. If there is something that drives you crazy that they do, it will only drive you crazier later, so make sure you can live with it. Listen to your friends and family when they tell you something that concerns them. They are usually seeing what you can't because of that damn lovebug. Look for the things the other person does for you. Are they putting effort into your relationship or letting you do it all? Respect is huge, do they have your back and do they support your dreams and goals? Make sure you aren't just supporting theirs. Are the things that are important to you in your lifestyle important to them? Are they active and eat healthy if that is important to you? Do they like to travel if you do? Do they spend money the same way you do? Do you have the same interests? If you don't, are you OK still doing yours on your own and will they support you? How will the household work, be divided and are you cool with that? Put on your detective hat at times and make sure what you think about your relationship and also in what your extended family's relationship is accurate. Sometimes you only see the good in a new relationship, and you don't want to get married and see the crazy. Ask questions and keep your eyes open. Relationships are a lot of work and last a long time. Find someone that compliments your strengths and weaknesses, is your best cheerleader, and has your back. Oh, and as they get older, they start having a lot of the same characteristics as their parents. Watch their parents, the way they interact with their spouse, and how they treat other people. Also if they wear polyester pants and Velcro shoes — make sure you love that too. It could be your future...."
Woman 4: "They're hard work, but worth the effort."
Woman 5: "Take your time to find the right match for you — it shouldn't feel like work initially, it should feel right."
Woman 6: "If you make Christ the center of your relationship, you will thrive!"
Woman 7: "Learn who are and love you before you try and love someone else "
Woman 8: "It's like anything else. The more you put into your relationship, the more you get out of it. Make it a priority!"
Woman 9: "The advice I would give about relationships is to attempt to emulate God's love for you for someone else. Be honest and genuine, be kind with your words, communicate effectively, don't be afraid of humility — constructive humility — don't be rash, be patient, and set realistic obtainable relationship goals for your self and your significant other, love your self, embrace each other's differences, encourage each other, and COMMUNICATE."
Woman 10: "Basically, we make our decisions based on what is best for the other."
Follow Swoon on Instagram.