I've always wondered about celebrity weddings. The extravagant settings and lavish dresses, rings, food, parties and celebrations would ideally signify a fairy tale-like love and devotion. But for many rich and famous, it seems to be all about the wedding. The money and energy spent on the wedding day rarely foreshadow a long and committed marriage.

Marriage is a huge step. It immeasurably changes your life. It dictates the lives of your children. It's a beautiful, decisive and far-reaching commitment. Whether you're considering marriage or in the middle of one, here are some keys to making marriage successful.

Tread cautiously

Before you say "I do," do your research. Meet the family and close friends. Observe how your sweetheart interacts with his or her parents. Does he or she demonstrate love and respect?

Pray and ask God if the marriage is right for you. God wants you to be happy; if you ask, he'll guide you in your decisions. Listen to the thoughts and feelings you receive in your prayers.

Serve, serve, serve

Do you want your spouse to pitch in with the dishes and help make the bed? Then take your turns, but also go beyond your division of labor.

The small favors you provide to lighten your spouse's load are your demonstrations of love. They are your love in action. As a rule, put your mate first in your life. Be unselfish.


You aren't going to agree on everything, or get along all the time. Don't allow your issues or concerns with your spouse to fester. You can, and should, express yourself. Do it in a gentle, respectful manner. Don't attack, nag or berate.

Be tolerant of your in-laws

So your father-in-law is impossible to talk to, and your mate's mom is a little weird. The thing is, you can't get around the fact that you now belong to their family.

They might make you crazy, but be nice. You may not agree or identify with your in-laws, but you have one very important thing in common. You all love your spouse. Make your companion's life easier by playing nice with the family.


Want to ruin your marriage? Hold grudges.

When the honeymoon is over, and the warts start to show, be quick to ignore the little things. The small infractions, like forgetting to pick up milk or put gas in the car, aren't really important. Don't hold grudges. If you want your marriage to work, you have to learn to forgive.

Don't keep secrets

Tiny secrets, like your hiding places for chocolate or chewing gum, are OK. It's the bigger things that can endanger a marriage.

Rekindling an old flame on Facebook, spending large amounts of money on the sly, and hiding your whereabouts and the company you keep are risks not worth taking. Don't diminish the trust in your marriage. Be upfront with your spouse.

Get counseling

If your relationship suffers, but there is hope to work things out, don't throw away the time you've invested in your marriage. Seek professional help. Do whatever it takes to salvage your marriage commitment. Remember why you first loved each other.

If you have children and staying married to your spouse is the healthiest option for them, fight to keep your marriage and family intact.

Marriage is work. The wedding day fairy tale doesn't stretch much past the honeymoon stage. However, marriage is wonderful. Make your marriage happy by being unselfish and putting your spouse first.

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