Couples, whose marriages and relationships have withstood the test of time as they weathered family struggles and hardships, working and living abroad, and now supporting each other in their golden years, offer excellent tips on how to appreciate a spouse.
Two couples — Ed and Norma Pozo and Jose and Millie Cravetz, residing at The Palace Suites, an independent living rental community in Kendall — certainly are examples of successful couples.
The Pozos will celebrate their 70th anniversary on June 14. Norma loves telling the story about how she met Ed when she and a girlfriend went to a Spanish movie in New York City. It was during World War II. Ed and his brother were on leave and in New York.
Dressed in their Navy uniforms they made a quite dashing impression. Norma and Ed corresponded for a year while he was in stationed in Uruguay. Though he proposed before he left, they both feel they fell in love through their letters. When he came back to New York, they were married.
The Cravetzes have been married 63 years and were married on Feb. 4, 1954. They also met in New York but at a Latin American Club attended mainly by Jewish people.
At one of the club’s parties, Millie noticed Jose was one of the quiet guys among the exuberant Latin Americans and she caught his eye. Despite claiming he had two left feet, he asked her to dance. He stepped all over her but they believe they fell in love that night and dated for a year before marrying.
Millie’s father teased her that a Cuban born girl had to go all the way to New York to fall in love with a Cuban man.
Here are some of the couples’ tips for successful relationships:
• Let your spouse know they are appreciated. Norma said she often tells Ed she can’t live without him and lets him know it. It’s important to verbalize appreciation.
• Be in love. Don’t lose the sparkle you have for your spouse and remember what it was that attracted you. Norma remembers how she was attracted to Ed when they first met. She knew he was a good man who was considerate and generous.
• Don’t say things you don’t mean, even in jest, because these words can be hurtful even teasing. The couples find it more constructive to focus on their partners’ positives.
• Be considerate of a partner’s feelings. Norma and Ed acknowledge they may get mad at each other and may differ about an issue but if they are considerate, these differences can be worked out.
• Understand your strengths and weaknesses balance out those of your spouse. Each couple acknowledges that over the years the wife has been the social fiber of the couple. Making friends and creating a couple’s social life may come easier for one spouse or the other and that’s okay.
• Show your spouse they are valued. Joe advises that each spouse should listen with his/her ears but also listen with their heart.
It doesn’t hurt to say, “Yes dear.” Acknowledging your spouse by agreeing with them goes a long way in showing appreciation.
• Express gratitude for what your spouse may do even if it’s something small. The couples point out taking a partner for granted often dooms many marriages.
• Consider yourself lucky to be married to your spouse. Both the Pozos and Cravetzes say this helps couples weather the good and bad times.
• Don’t lose sight of the big picture. You want to have a strong, happy marriage. Don’t let the little things become big things they advise.