Everyone thinks they know how to keep it together; but with the divorce rate to nearly fifty percent, that simply cannot be true. Sometimes you're just not compatible, or you have "grown apart" or grown up and realize that you just don't want the same things anymore. But the secret to staying together really has to start with love, that's not all, but this is a big one. It takes two people to make a relationship, and only one person to screw it up.
If you don't love each other, then nothing on this earth can save your relationship. But what I mean by love is that you really don't want to hurt your spouse. Once you intentionally say something to hurt the other and you just don't care if it does, there really isn't a way to come back, very few can. To come back, you have to want to care. You have to make sure there is a line that is never crossed, and it should be pretty much defined by what you'd never do, even in your most extreme rage or jealousy. The kind of love I am talking about also means that you genuinely want to do things for your mate, even if it is something small like making him/her a sandwich without them asking. I believe it is all the little things that count. You don't have to go out and buy a diamond necklace to let someone know that you have been thinking about them, it's the thought that counts. Don't be afraid to give more than the other person or more than you think you should give, ideally you shouldn't keep track. Since it is so easy to mess up a relationship, you really need love as your foundation, it is really important.
Commitment is another really big one, and it really has trust rolled up inside. Being committed to your significant other means that this is the one for you, there is no need to "keep your eye out" for something better along the way. It means you're here to stay, and you expect the same from your mate. This is where trust comes in. You have to trust that your partner is doing the same. If you are always suspicious of your mate, then it is not healthy and you could even be driving him/her away. Commitment also means that even if the boat gets a little rocky, you will stay to see it through; you will try to work out your issues. It is a very good idea to give the benefit of the doubt when it comes to your partner. Just go easy on your partner. Remember, events have no meaning, only the meaning you give them, and your partner may not think the same way you do, the situation could be completely innocent. Women in general tend to over-think a lot of things. This is not necessarily a flaw, but just be aware that men think differently, they mostly just accept things at face value. Being loyal in other words is basically what commitment is. Make sure that you always support each other, if you think of yourselves as being a team, then maybe you'll start to work like one. Cohabiting together in harmony is the goal; you just have to find balance in your daily routines. Distributing chores and knowing when to give each other space is making harmony, but that doesn't mean that your life has to be boring, it's just to complement each other no matter what you do, making everything fit together.
None of the above is possible without communication. That may sound like a very precarious thing to say, but how will you know how to cohabitate or be certain that you really know and love each other without it? It's simple, you can't. Relationships really go bad or end when all communication stops. Even when heated words said in anger, it is not the turning point, it's when you feel nothing at all or you just can't find anything to say to each other. Anger means that you still care; callousness means that there is nothing left and that your relationship is already over, you just haven't realized it yet. When you have a problem, you need to talk about it, period. Problems will not solve themselves. It is best if you keep a cool head, and try not to interrupt. A good technique for solving a problem, is hearing both sides. You should take turns telling your side and then ask your spouse to interpret to you what you have said. That way you both know exactly what was meant. Then it is your turn to listen. And when I say listen, I don't mean listen until you feel like you are being attacked and then interrupt to defend yourself, however hard that may be not to do. If you do try to defend yourself, it means you cannot handle being criticized and that is very childish, and it may just cause more arguing. You should then try to either compromise or try to find a solution together. Don't blame your partner; just understand that your main goal is to try to make it better, not worry about who is right. You will have to hold your tongue and suck it up sometimes, but so will the other person. See how this works? But communication does not mean just talking about problems, it's also saying what you like, and what is good. People like to hear compliments, even saying thank you for something small is like saying I noticed how thoughtful you are. Communication should be used for both sides, positive and negative. You just need to talk, it can make things so much more pleasant and you can really connect with someone. Nothing can be accomplished without communication.
Basically the main points to a successful marriage make a triangle, you can't make a triangle if you take one of the sides out, and that's exactly how this works. You need all three, love as the bottom (the foundation), and commitment and communication as the sides. Talk often, be true to each other, and never forget why you were drawn to your spouse.