Taken from: 50 Things You Need to Know About Marital Relationships Great relationships don’t just happen; they are created. You have to work at it. If your job takes all of your best energy, your marriage will suffer. One of the greatest gifts you can give your spouse is your own happiness. It is possible to love and hate someone at the same time. When you complain about your spouse to your friends, remember that their feedback can be distorted. The only rules in your marriage are those you both choose to agree with. It is not conflict that destroys marriage; it is the cold, smoldering resentment that you hold for a long time. It’s not what you’ve got, it’s what you do with what you have. If you think you are too good for your spouse, think again. Growing up in a happy household doesn’t ensure a happy marriage, or vice versa. It’s never too late to repair damaged trust. The real issue is usually not the one you are arguing about. Love isn’t just a feeling; it is expressed through our actions. Expectations set us up for disappointment and resentment. Arguments cannot be avoided, but destructive arguments can be avoided. One of the greatest gifts you can give your spouse is focused attention. Even people with happy marriages sometimes worry that they married the wrong person. Your spouse cannot rescue you from unhappiness, but they can help you rescue yourself. The cost of a lie is far greater than any advantage you gain from speaking it. Your opinion is not necessarily the truth. Trust takes years to establish and moments to destroy. Guilt-tripping won’t get you what you really want. Don’t neglect your friends. If you think, “You are not the person I married,” you are probably right. Resisting the temptation to prove your point will win you a lot of points. Generosity of spirit is the foundation of a good marriage. If your spouse is being defensive, you might be giving them reasons to be like that. Marriage isn’t 50/50; it’s 100/100. You can pay now or pay later, but the later you pay, the more interest and penalties you acquire. Marriage requires sacrifice, but your benefits outweigh your costs. Forgiveness isn’t a one-time event; it’s a continous process. Accepting the challenges of marriage will shape you into a better person. Creating a marriage is like launching a rocket: once it clears the pull of gravity, it takes much less energy to sustain the flight. A successful marriage has more to do with how you deal with your current reality than with what you’ve experienced in the past. Don’t keep feelings of gratitude to yourself. There is no greater eloquence than the silence of real listening. One of the greatest questions to ask your spouse is “How best can I love you?” Marriage can stay fresh over time. Assumptions are fine as long as you check them before acting upon them. Intention may not be the only thing, but it is the most important thing. Good sex won’t make your marriage, but it’ll help. Privacy won’t hurt your marriage, but secrecy will. Possessiveness and jealousy are born out of fear, not love. Authenticity is contagious and habit-forming. If your spouse thinks something is important, then it is. Marriage never outgrows the need for romance. The sparkle of a new relationship is always temporary. There is violence in silence when it’s used as a weapon. It’s better to focus on what you can do to make things right, then what your partner did to make things wrong. If you think marriage counseling is too expensive, try divorce.