TS: I don't want to jinx it! I guess I don't take it for granted. I don't think either of us do, which means we still make an effort for each other. One of the upsides of being married to someone who's away from home a lot is we have lots of reunions, and the romance that's inherent in that. We have meeting places all over the world, and if we haven't seen each other in a few weeks, we make a date and we get excited about seeing each other.
AH: How have you seen your marriage change over the years?
TS: Like most people, it's more settled and less stormy than it was at the beginning of our relationship, 28 years ago. Our mutual understanding of each other has grown over the years. The kids are growing up, so that gives us more time for one another and with one another. And our needs are pretty simple...we're just a couple happy to hang out, socialize with friends, go to the movies, go out dancing sometimes. We're best friends, so that's very important too. And he makes me laugh a lot. No one makes me laugh like Sting.
AH: What do you want your children to know about love and commitment?
TS: I think I want them to know that honesty and openness are the keys to happiness between two people. Those are the ingredients needed for both intimacy and independence. Also, not being afraid to have hard discussions. Even if it feels difficult, they're always worth doing, because through those honest and open discussions comes the solution of whatever problem is going on. If it gets left, if it gets into the body's system and resentments build up. I think that's where problems can arise.
I sometimes see couples who are unhappy in long-term relationships, and it's almost like they're afraid of each other. I can see a couple who are just on their mutual islands...they're waving politely at each other; they're not engaged with each other. I've seen other couples who are having the time of their lives and they're fully engaged. I bet one of the secrets to that is they're not afraid to have the hard talks.
AH: Do you have any other secrets to a happy marriage?
TS: I would say change. It's very important that your partner is changing at the same rate as you, that you're going in similar directions. That doesn't mean that you're living on top of each other and suffocating each other; it means that you have a true sense of where you are with each other and what each of you wants and likes. That needs to be constantly updated, that needs constant dialog. And that's where the honest discussions come in.
AH: So what do you know for sure?
TS: I know that, in life, change is inevitable. To be happy, you have to be able to embrace change.
Trudie Styler i s an actress, film producer, director, human rights activist, environmentalist, organic farmer and UNICEF Ambassador. Styler's most recent projects include the release of a series of five mind-body fitness DVDs with Gaiam , shot on location at hers and Sting's Tuscan villa with celebrity trainer James D'Silva. Styler also recently appeared in the Joe Berlinger–directed documentary Crude, which follows the story of 30,000 Ecuadorian indigenous rainforest dwellers in their fight against the U.S. oil giant Chevron. In 1988, along with her husband, Sting, Styler started the Rainforest Foundation, an organization devoted to protecting rainforests and their indigenous peoples. Styler's production company Xingu Films focuses on social issues through its documentaries while also building a reputation as a nurturing home for talented first-time feature filmmakers.
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