A long-lasting marriage needs commitment, great communication, and a good dose of love.
The following pointers for a happy marriage from Theresa Bung, principal therapist with the Family Life Society, have been proven to work in a wide variety of relationships, including ones in which couples haven't yet tied the knot.
1 COMMUNICATE EFFECTIVELY
As good communication is the essence of all relationships, it is important that you and your spouse are able to express your thoughts and feelings freely and candidly.
Giving each other undivided attention shows that you respect and value each other's opinions. You must be comfortable asking questions without getting on each other's nerves.
And think before you speak. Waiting before responding to something that has annoyed you can reduce bickering. Count to 10.
It's better to discuss difficult issues once emotions are not so high. In time, you will both come to understand and sense each other's underlying feelings and needs.
2 SET GOALS
Dreaming about the future you will have is exciting. Setting goals together will ensure you make progress towards that future.
It gives you a path to follow, and pushes you to improve - both individually and as a couple. This will strengthen your marriage and make it easier to take on new roles, like becoming parents.
3 ALWAYS KEEP YOUR COOL
Disagreements happen, so be mindful of your partner's feelings when there are differences in opinions or thoughts. Carefully pick your battles, and let the other ones slide.
Remind yourselves that you are both special, and it is this uniqueness that brought you together. Learn to embrace each other's strengths and weaknesses, especially when it comes to conflicts.
4 MAKE FRIENDS WITH YOUR IN-LAWS
Getting along with each other's families does not necessarily mean you have to meet all their expectations. Be clear from the start about how much influence you wish each other's families to have on the family you are starting.
Discuss and agree on how you will accord due respect to your respective in-laws.
5 OVERCOME FINANCIAL DIFFERENCES
According to the 2012 Marriage Statistics, financial issues are a common reason why marriages break up. It isn't necessarily the amount of money a couple has that creates friction.
It's the differences in your spending habits and especially your lack of communication when it comes to dollars and sense. Understand each other's perspective on money and materialism before tackling problems.
You should discuss and agree on all major fi nancial decisions, including how much to save, what bills go under whose care, significant expenditures, as well as longterm investments - and appreciate the other person's contribution.
Budgeting wisely also goes a long way towards avoiding future finance-related conflicts.