It’s Valentine’s Day and who better to ask “how do you stay in love?” than a psychologist and professor of psychology? This was my old professor back when I was an undergraduate student at UIC (the University of Illinois at Chicago), an inspiration herself in matters of love. Her famous presentation to her students “How To Stay In Love For 50 Years” is legend. So I asked her to speak with me, and brought her burning questions from moms to answer.

You can read her keynote presentation here How To Stay In Love For 50 Years. It’s a real gem.

Katherine Noll Ph.D retired from teaching and seeing patients in May of 2014 along with her husband Gary Noll Ph.D. They both were mutli Silver Circle Award winners for their teaching. What makes the Silver Circle award especially meaningful is its selection committee: graduating seniors. So you can see why I still remember Professor Noll all these years later. Students loved her and her husband. You can learn from a textbook, but you have to want to too, and both Professor Nolls are teachers who made you want to learn all you could, not passively study and memorize just to get through a class.

I hope this video is informative and helpful to you. The way it came to be was that I was hearing about spikes in breakups during quarantine, while there is a record 50 year low in the U.S. divorce rate. So I was curious to see if there was someone I knew who could share some wisdom on love in the hopes of helping struggling couples.

Gary and Katherine Noll Then and Now

After almost seven years of marriage (let’s see if the Seven Year Itch is true) I definitely see now how the stresses of parenting and everyday life can crack away at lover’s rock (shout out to Sade). When they say you have to work at love and marriage, I know what they mean by it. It’s not that marriage is hell or like a job. Marriage and love is like anything you care about, it needs nurturing and nothing good comes easy all the time. Marriage gets easy by doing all that important work upfront, and doing the little things right after years and year of you and your partner changing and reconnecting through the changes you face together. And like any adventure (remember the Disney Pixar movie Up (2009)?) it takes daring, strength, and perserverance. The person you’re married to can be your greatest adventure. Learning about them, learning with them; getting to understand them and they you; going on adventures from mundane to extravagant…and love will always be the best investment we can ever make. Just look at Katherine and Gary Noll. With examples like them, the possibility of being like them with your partner in the golden years is possible if you put in the work. And remember, work is always more fun when you have someone to help. That’s the beauty of love.


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