30 Lessons For Loving Summary

1-Sentence-Summary: 30 Lessons For Loving gives the relationship advice of hundreds of couples who have stayed together into old age and will teach you how to have happiness and longevity in your love life.

Read in: 4 minutes

Favorite quote from the author:

30 Lessons For Loving Summary

Audio Summary

Listen to the audio of this summary with a free reading.fm account*:

If you’ve ever been in love you know how difficult it is. At first, everything seems great. But once the novelty fades, the real work begins. Sometimes you just get a feeling that it’s not right and it doesn’t even make it to that point. 

So what does it take to find the right partner? And once you’ve done that, how do you keep your love alive for many years? There are a lot of books out there about the topic, but few have the power of personal experience on the matter.

That’s why Karl Pillemer studied long-term marriages. Speaking with over 700 Americans who had been together for 30 years or more, he found the truth of what love really takes. He summarizes his findings in 30 Lessons for Loving: Advice from the Wisest Americans on Love, Relationships, and Marriage.

Here are the 3 most helpful relationship tips I got from this book:

  1. To find the perfect companion you need to listen to your heart and mind.
  2. Your partner isn’t a mind-reader so don’t assume they know how you feel and be careful about the timing of your conversations.
  3. It’s the little actions of love that keep the spark of romance strong over the years.

Ready to finally find and keep that one true love you’ve been waiting for? Let’s get to it!

If you want to save this summary for later, download the free PDF and read it whenever you want.

Download PDF

Lesson 1: Your heart and mind will tell you when you’ve found a companion who you can make a life with.

Do you believe in love at first sight? Or have you ever had this spark of excitement when meeting someone because you think they might be “the one?” 

I met my wife in August of 2011 and I’ll never forget the way I felt when we first spoke. She was and always will be stunningly beautiful, but what really impressed me was how much we had in common. We both now talk about this incredible feeling of peace we have always had about each other, even from day one.

This is one thing that couples in Pillemer’s study said that you must have to marry someone. It’s that “in-love” feeling that we’ve all felt before, but how can you know whether this one really is your one? According to one 65-year-old, it also requires having a vision that the relationship could never end. 

Also, pay close attention when things might not feel completely right. This was the case for one woman who was married for 20 years before divorcing and remarrying. The problem with her first marriage, she said, was that something just didn’t feel right before the wedding. 

If you’ve got nagging thoughts that something is wrong, confront them head-on. A good way to do this is to ask questions to find out what your potential partner values. Having the same core beliefs is vital to a successful relationship. It’s good to ask about a wide range of things, from finances to parenting.

Lesson 2: Timing your conversations right and remembering that your partner isn’t a mind reader will help you communicate better.

Couples fight. My wife and I do it, and you probably do too. I used to wonder how to decrease it, but then I realized two important lessons:

  1. If you are disagreeing about something, then it means you’re not hiding your feelings but instead being honest about them, which is a good thing.
  2. You can communicate effectively regarding your differences in a way that doesn’t lead to arguments if you only talk when your stomach is full and you are well-rested.

The thing about this is, your willpower decreases throughout the day, so it’s usually worst at night after the kids are in bed. Which is usually the only time you and your spouse will get to talk to each other. It’s obvious now why so many couples fight and yell!

Couples in the author’s study confirm this truth as well. They say that picking the right time to share your feelings with each other is vital for success. Strong communication skills, in general, are a must if you want your relationship to last.

Another important note that these sages of love told Pillemer is the importance of not making assumptions. We think that healthy couples “just know” what each other are thinking, but this is a huge myth. 

When you feel your significant other is thinking a certain way, don’t guess, ask! And make sure to pay attention and really try to understand them if you want to make your relationship last.

Lesson 3: If you want to stay together happily for many years, you need to continue doing small acts to show your love.

It’s hard to know how to keep the love you feel when you first meet alive for years to come. But remember that actions speak louder than words. This is especially true in relationships.

That doesn’t mean you need to go all out and prepare a fancy candlelight dinner each night. The little things that are better because you can do them more consistently. 

One man likes to surprise his wife by getting her things that she’s previously expressed interest in. I’ve found that having a shared Amazon wishlist can be really helpful for this by the way!

You don’t need to buy things though. Simple, frequent compliments go a long way in keeping the love strong. And remember that sex, which doesn’t always have to be intercourse, is like the glue that keeps you and your partner close. 

Another thing the couples in the study mentioned is something that my wife and I have seen be important for our success. It’s the power of your friendship with each other. 

We love talking with each other about anything and everything. On long car rides, I’ll sometimes ask her to drive so I can work, but I end up just talking with her the whole time!

30 Lessons For Loving Review

I really enjoyed 30 Lessons For Loving and I think that you will too, no matter your relationship status. After only seven years of marriage, I can confirm that these principles really work because many of them are what my wife and I use to keep our marriage strong! These ideas are so simple and easy to implement but their effect on your life can last forever.

Who would I recommend the 30 Lessons For Loving summary to?

The 43-year-old couple who is having marital problems and wants to find ways to improve their relationship, the 23-year-old who is in love but isn’t sure if this is “the one,” and anyone who would like to become closer to their spouse or significant other.

Last Updated on September 1, 2022

Rate this book!
This book has an average rating of 3.8 based on 5 votes.

Luke Rowley

With over 450 summaries that he contributed to Four Minute Books, first as a part-time writer, then as our full-time Managing Editor until late 2021, Luke is our second-most prolific writer. He's also a professional, licensed engineer, working in the solar industry. Next to his day job, he also runs Goal Engineering, a website dedicated to achieving your goals with a unique, 4-4-4 system. Luke is also a husband, father, 75 Hard finisher, and lover of the outdoors. He lives in Utah with his wife and 3 kids.