It is common knowledge that 50 percent of all U.S. marriages end in divorce, right? Wrong. In reality, since 1980, divorce rates have been declining steadily. That means, contrary to popular belief, more marriages last than fail. So how are these couples building relationships that stand the test of time? Easy. They are ensuring their marriages are brimming with the following.
1. Trust. Trust is the foundation of any healthy marriage. Without it, a couple will never be able to enjoy all of a marriage's intangible benefits wholly. Trust is not easily come by, either. Partners earn trust little by little as they prove to one another they are worthy of receiving it, which is why love is sometimes independent of trust. We can love a partner but not necessarily trust them. But when we trust a partner, loving them becomes much easier.
2. Communication. Another key to building but, more importantly, maintaining a healthy relationship is communication. It is essential for couples to confront each other and keep each other informed when issues arise so they can address and work through them. Without effectively communicating, a couple’s problems will usually fester and eventually get out of hand, possibly leading them to a divorce.
3. Respect. Without mutual respect, a marriage will fail. Having respect for a partner means listening to that person’s point of view and being mindful of how they deliver criticism. To get respect, it is necessary to first give it.
4. Love. Love is not enough to keep a marriage intact but it is necessary for keeping it strong, healthy, and enjoyable. If a couple is not in love, over time, they will find themselves lacing in the drive they need to make their marriage work. Think of love like fuel; without it, a relationship will eventually break down and stop moving. Being in a loveless marriage is no fun.
5. Laughter. What is enjoyable is laughing with your partner, even during difficult times. The ability to laugh means being able to step outside ourselves and recognize the imperfect creatures we are, just like our partner. It also means having the capacity to take a break from any troubles that can bring us down and recharge our batteries.
6. Passion. Infused through all good marriages is passion. Having passion means, even after decades of being together, looking past the flaws that have come with age and still want to make out with each other like teenagers. All kidding aside, it means engaging in a healthy sex life, as well as touching in more than a platonic way.
7. Intimacy. What ultimately arises when all of the above factors are in place is intimacy, or the feeling of closeness shared when a couple’s marriage is satisfying. A couple who is intimate enjoys a physical, emotion, and sexual bond that is unique to only them. A couple who is intimate knows they can depend on each other through bad days as well as enjoy each other during good ones, which is truly what it means to live happily ever after.
Vikki Ziegler is the star of Bravo TV’s Untying the Knot, the founder and CEO of DivorceDating, Author of The Pre-Marital Planner (to stay happily married) and The Pre-Marital Planner: Your Complete Legal Guide to a Perfect Marriage, and a co-founder of and partner at Ziegler & Zemsky, LLC. To learn more about Vikki, visit www.vikkiziegler.com or follow her on Twitter and Facebook.