Whether you've been married for days, months or years; you've experienced disappointments, divorce, or abandonment. Even if your marriage is hanging by a thread, believe me - there is hope. There is always time to develop a relationship that completes you, brings happiness and lasts.

The stories that we're told as children start with "once upon a time." They tell stories of courage, hope and eternal love. In the majority of such tales, good conquers evil, and they end "happily ever after." Real life, however, requires a lot of courage, hope and love from both partners to make a marriage happy forever, or at least while it lasts.

Here are a few reminders to use with your spouse to help build a happy and lasting marriage.

1. Include God in everything

When God is present in a marriage, husband and wife can seek out inspiration for day-to-day problems together. A couple that prays together about their problems, the education of their children, financial difficulties, and thank the Lord for everything, experiences a type of happiness and peace that is not found in any other place. Pray for one another. A man or woman that talks to God about their spouse recognizes his or her true importance in their life.

2. Read the Holy Scriptures

A couple that reads the scriptures together learns together. By reading the stories of the prophets and peoples that lived before us, couples gain the ability to better understand that adversity is a part of life, and that only by putting aside our pride, seeking out God, accepting his will, and being perseverant in keeping his commandments and teaching them to our children will we achieve a long-lasting happiness.

3. Put your heart in your family

A specialist on family named Dieter Uchtdorf said, "What we love determines what we seek. What we seek determines what we think and do. What we think and do determines who we are - and who we will become." Once you recognize that marriage is sacred and decide to put your heart into your family, you will know that only with family can real happiness be achieved.

4. Be faithful and decide not to lie

Make up your mind before you get married. Once married, make your spouse that person that completes your life. Fidelity is a promise, and living without lies is absolutely essential in order to enjoy a love with trust and peace. Peace cannot exist without transparency. Neither can intimacy that unites a couple exist without loyalty.

5. Live unselfishly each day

True love is a process that requires personal action. It is through the small, simple things each day that we can demonstrate our love and recognize that we are loved. Above all other distractions and problems, it's nice to know that someone is interested in being happy with you. When we love someone, we treat that person differently, better, and caringly.

6. Work hard to build unity

Look to be one in purpose. Educate your children together. Do things together. Help one another reach your dreams. Be present at important events, and always stay together. Unity between a husband and wife is a commandment of God. Be together not only during happiness and health, but also in times of sadness and sickness. God wants our hearts to grow together. It's not only ideal, it's a necessity.

7. Invest in consideration and dedication

Marriage is a partnership of equals, without one exercising dominion over the other, and it requires encouraging and helping out with the responsibilities and aspirations of each other. If you make the well-being and happiness of your spouse your goal, there will be reciprocation, and you will have a marriage that will last.

8. Develop patience

God teaches us that perfect love possesses perfect patience. No one has perfect patience, but every situation that tries our patience is an opportunity to gain even more. Thinking before we speak is a great way to exercise patience. Seeking to master self-control is a way to live it. This is true in all relationships but especially in marriage.

9. Nourish your love

Love needs courtesy, gentleness, attention, exclusiveness and time every day, whether it be a simple glance or an intimate moment. If we feed love with contrary feelings, it gets sick and dies, just like our bodies if we don't nourish it. Establishing nourishing feelings and actions of love truly makes a marriage happy.

10. Use and abuse forgiveness

Sincerely apologizing to your spouse can restore a relationship and make love grow, saving your marriage. Recognizing causes of conflict and doing your best to avoid and resolve them is fundamental in a happy love.

11. Establish and take care of priorities

Be calm. Dedicate time to get to know each other. It takes time to build a lasting relationship. Establish priorities. It's easier to evolve together when both respect the timing of the other. Any relationship becomes more constant, harmonious and satisfactory when it has a well-structured foundation.

12. Communicate

When you're friends, there is more respect, acceptance, patience, and humor. With the pressure we all face every day, learning to communicate better with your spouse is essential. Plan your future together. Make goals. Have fun.

Marriage is more than just living with a person you're attracted to. It's showing every day what that person means to you, how happy you are having them close by, that they are the choice of your heart, and that you treasure the friendship and love that unites you both.

A lasting marriage will require the courage it takes to do all of this. Then, together you'll find your "happily ever after." It's not easy, but it's also not impossible. A happy marriage is the foundation of a happy family and, consequently, a happy life.

Translated and adapted by Vaughn Christensen from the article "12 formas de construir um casamento feliz e duradouro" by Chris Ayres.

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