The Surprising Word Prince Philip Once Used to Explain his Marriage

At a celebratory Golden Anniversary luncheon in 1997, the late Prince Philip, who was married to his beloved Queen Elizabeth II for 73 years, remarked: “I think the most important lesson we have learned is that tolerance is the most important is ingredient of any happy marriage ... you can tell me that the queen abounds in the quality of tolerance. "
The quote is a chapter opener in Victoria Murphy's new book The Queen: A Life in Pictures that looks back on the Queen's impressive reign but also spends some time reflecting on the relationship between her and Philip, the man she once mentioned as their "strength and staying power".
As a royals expert and relationship writer, I had to admit that this was surprising. After all, tolerance is not a word that is often used as an attribute of a successful marriage. Doesn't that mean just gritting your teeth and getting through something? Not necessarily, say the experts.
"Tolerance in good relationships is when both people let go of things that aren't possible and learn to be happy and content with what they have," said William Schroeder, co-owner and advisor at Just Mind, LLC. "You have to find a way to accept and admire what you have instead of focusing on what you don't have. This means letting go of the emotional reckoning of each other's mistakes."
Schröder's colleague David Jenkins offers an additional insight: “One of the most important things to consider is what a lack of tolerance would look like in a marriage. Almost anything you can think of - blame, judge, feel disgusted - will lead you to the reason why people often lead unsolved conflicts. "
Still, there is one critical detail that could be more important than tolerance in the long run, says Jenkins. It has to be paired with acceptance. "Tolerance means enduring something undesirable in another, while acceptance drops judgment altogether and takes the person for who they are."
Is tolerance the secret of many, many years of marital happiness? The proof may lie in the length of the royal marriage.
RELATED: Here's why Prince Philip's death is a little different for me
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Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh

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