Sometimes relationships go terribly south.

If this happened to you, you're probably wondering who's to blame. Truth be told, though fault is usually shared, it may not have been shared equally...

Reflect on these characteristics of a devoted partner to see how you influenced your relationship - for better or for worse.

1. Did you show affection in word and in deed?

Did you say "I love you," kiss, hug and hold hands? Were you thoughtful, making holidays and occasions special? Did you spend quality time with your partner, doing a lot of laughing, having fun, reminiscing about why you fell in love, and telling your sweetheart often what you love about her? Did you share your dreams for your future together?

Without this tender affection, romantic sparks totally go out.

2. Were you loyal?

Loyal partners do not participate in anything outside the relationship that would arouse lust. They do not flirt with anyone else. They are upfront and honest with their partners about what they do every day. When things are hard, a loyal partner sticks by the one he loves and avoids going to someone (or something) else for comfort.

Remember, once trust is broken, it can only be rebuilt with change.

3. Did you communicate with love, patience and respect?

Did you work to encourage and uplift rather than nag or criticize? Did you give compliments and show praise every day, speaking kindly of your partner to your friends and family?

Successful couples express their thoughts, feelings and concerns without yelling, fighting or calling names. When they falter, they sincerely apologize, stating what's bothering them rather than turning inward and disconnecting.

Pride should never be more important than your love.

4. Did you value your partner's thoughts, feelings and interests?

A lasting couple makes decisions by carefully considering how their decisions will affect each other. They respect their partner's opinions - even more so than the opinions of parents and friends. They listen and validate.

A good partner offers comfort in times of sadness, support in times of struggle, and praise when her partner succeeds. Did you truly appreciate the talents, skills and hobbies of your partner, trying to learn from him? Were you unselfish, putting your partner's needs before your own?

The best way to make a person feel loved is to sit with him, listen to him, hug him and tell him you love him.

5. Were you able to be happy without your partner?

A good partner does not base her feelings of self-worth on whether or not she is in a relationship. Were you able to feel confident, fulfilled and happy when you were away from your partner, or did you feel insecure and worried when you could not talk to or see him often? Did you love yourself, confident in the knowledge that you are special, you are loved, and that you have so much to offer?

Clinginess kills relationships. Remember that your partner needs personal time - and your trust.

6. Did you do your best to be a good person?

A good partner chooses his friends carefully. He associates with honest, unselfish, loyal people who don't break the law or play with hearts. He does not entertain harmful addictions. When he makes commitments, he keeps them. He works hard, humbly recognizing his own strengths and weaknesses while constantly working to refine himself.

Remember, one who has an addiction (of any kind) loses freedom over his own thoughts, emotions or actions, causing irrationality, dishonesty and lack of productivity.

7. Did you love God and put him first?

Lasting couples know who their creator is and want to please him. They strive to show God they love him (and others) by keeping his commandments. They make time to pray, remembering all the blessings God has given them. They are a light to others, serving others with love.

When a couple strives to put God first, they become more patient, loving and service-oriented. A person who strives for spiritual cleanliness is much better suited for a healthy relationship.

Nobody is perfect, and you won't do all these things perfectly all the time; however, if your relationship has taken a dark turn for the worse, reflect carefully on the part you are playing. Do the very best you can before you consider ending the relationship.

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