- Don’t let conflict fester: Every marriage will run into conflict. Anyone who supposes otherwise is headed for disappointment. However, holding a grudge or remaining angry over disagreements and hurt feelings is detrimental to any relationship. You need to be willing to do two things. First, you need to be prepared to say you are sorry. Second, you need to be willing to forgive.
- Don’t resist change: Change is often difficult and painful, but we usually benefit from it. Many couples actually report that various crises that invoke significant change help strengthen their relationships. They generally feel the change in both themselves and in their spouses has been for the better.
- Don’t ignore your spouse’s contributions to your relationship: Often couples find themselves focusing on who does what and how much each person is contributing. Equality and fairness become central to the relationship, and the showing of love is superseded by whether or not responsibilities are shared equally. Rather than taking this approach, look at how your spouse helps and what efforts are made on both of your parts.
- Don’t divide your finances: If you are to be a happily functioning team in your marriage, you need to cultivate a sense of sharing and commitment. One of the best ways to do this is to put your money together. Your money belongs to each of you, not to the person who earns it. By sharing, you build trust, secure confidence, and work toward togetherness.
- Create dreams and routines to share: Routines are comfortable and stimulate a sense of security and continuity. By establishing routines, you are saying to each other that your marriage is stable and a natural part of your life. Dreams are similarly valuable. Working together toward a goal that is exciting and unique to you and your spouse emphasizes your commitment to create a lasting union.
- Focus on the positive: Every marriage has parts that are good and bad. Excessive emphasis on the negative parts of your relationship is unhealthy and destructive.
- Cultivate your friendship with your spouse: Those in successful marriages have a thriving friendship with their partner, and they do what is necessary to keep the friendship strong and happy. Give your relationship the highest priority in your life.
- Keep your sexual attraction alive: Chemistry is an important part of maintaining a fun and enduring relationship. While sex cannot act as a substitute for commitment, love, support, and respect, it is a vital element of the marital relationship.
- Be willing to spend the time to make your marriage great: A successful and happy relationship requires communication, sacrifice, unselfishness, and change. If you assume marriage will be easy, take a moment to reconsider your reasons for marrying. Part of the reason should include a desire to share and build a life with your spouse.
Johnson, C. Lucky in Love