The love of your life stands before you. What will life send your way? Right now you're thinking nothing can go wrong. What will happen when life surrounds you and tries to pull you apart? How will your marriage survive?

There are many elements to a long, happy marriage but the following four are essential.


Faith is one of the most essential elements. Faith in God translates into trust in God and making choices that include him.

Faith binds. It binds you to God, your spouse and your goals. Matthew 19:26 says all things are possible with God. Faith in the Lord helps keep your relationship strong. Through faith, you can build a strong foundation and together you can lean on it when trials try to pull you apart.

Commit to a shared faith with common values. Even if you're from different religions, this is possible. Trust in and communicate with each other. Discuss what God means to each of you and how important he is to yourselves and your marriage. This commitment to faith and trust in God will help you overcome obstacles.

Look to the Lord

A relationship whose foundation is faith in God is sacred and strong. Romance-only relationships tend to be selfish. Faith helps mature the relationship and allows couples to say "I'm sorry" and to forgive.

Strength comes from God and when you both look to the Lord, you believe in each other and your marriage. Pray together, read the bible together and share your religious beliefs. Attend church often; even visiting each other's if you're from different religions. Do not try to convert each other. Instead, try to understand each other's faith and unify the traditions you can and work with the ones you can't. Faith will guide your life and marriage.

I was ready for marriage and prayed each night for a husband. One day I asked my brother to go to the movies with me. He had plans with his friend. "Bring him along," I said. Afterward we began dating, talked about God, and I prayed to know that he was the one for me. Our relationship started with faith and still relies on the Lord.

Define love

Communication is important in all phases of a relationship. Talk to one another about what love means and how you can support each other with that love. Faith in each other's love strengthens the marriage and helps couples work harder to stay together.

Unconditional love meets each other's needs; it doesn't ask for something in return. Love supports each other through the good and the bad and is there with a shoulder, no matter how often it's needed.

Faith and unconditional love is the only way couples are going to remain together. It won't work if one or both wants to quit as soon as life tries them or the relationship. The article, 3 qualities of love, explains the mature love needed to maintain a long, happy marriage.

When we were dating, my husband asked why I hadn't told him I loved him. I told him I didn't want to say it until he understood what love meant to me. This discussion allowed me to tell him, and he me, what "I love you" means. Knowing this has made it easier to survive the rough waters.


Remember your marriage vows. Most vows ask if you will honor and love your spouse for better or for worse. The answer is commonly, "I do." And, yet, according to a study done by Jennifer Baker, Forest Institute of Professional Psychology, Springfield, divorce rates for first time marriages are 45 percent to 50 percent, second time divorce rates are 60 percent to 67 percent, third time rates are 70 percent to 73 percent and don't confirm the ideals of the day the words "I do" were spoken.

To honor someone is to revere them, to respect them, to consider them worth more than anything. Faith makes it easier to honor as explained in Romans 12:10. Follow this scripture's advice to prefer one another and you'll strengthen your marriage.

Remember your vows when your spouse tries you. Never speak unkind words and be ready to ask forgiveness if you do. Be loving and devoted to each other throughout your marriage as you promised that first day. Trust in the Lord and rely on your faith.

We began our marriage with faith in God, each other and the ability to weather through any storm that would test our marriage. Almost 30 years later, we're still leaning on that faith and each other. The fun part I tell others is that we have three marriage certificates, one from his mom's preacher that married him to me, one from my mom's preacher that married me to him and the renewal of our marriage vows where we married for time and eternity. We love and honor each other so much; we plan to remain married beyond this life.

The article 6 essential ingredients for a long, happy marriage introduces other integral elements that will help keep your marriage healthy.

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