Marriage is complicated - filled with challenges at every corner. When marriage rates fall and divorce rates climb, one can't help but wonder whether there are any lasting marriages left...
Thankfully, many marriages exist where husbands and wives take their vows seriously. Could you learn a thing or two from these marriages?
These 10 signs will help you know if your marriage is going to last forever.
1. You talk
The number one sign a marriage is going to last forever? Continuous communication, both verbal and nonverbal.
Successful spouses truly talk to each other, and not just small talk. These couples still frequently have lasting conversations - just like they did when they first fell in love. They establish a pattern of communication at the beginning of their marriages and never deviate from that path.
2. You're there for each other - no matter the obstacle
Marriages are battered with challenges, small and large. In successful marriages, such batterings still rear their ugly heads, but spouses are there for each other no matter what happens.
Are you sensitive to your spouse's challenges? Sometimes, those challenges are not as evident as we'd like them to be, but your attentiveness will pay off in the end.
3. You forgive each other over and over
Forgiveness is an underrated aspect of many marriages. Grudges are just so easy to hold tight! But we all have our quirks, our bouts of weirdness, our failings ... we all do things that could offend at every turn. Ask for forgiveness every day.
Recognizing your own flaws will help keep your marriage strong, but honestly forgiving your spouse on a daily basis will solidify your relationship. The old adage "Never go to bed angry" is still pretty good advice.
4. You show love and charity - DAILY
Daily love and charity should come naturally if you are in love. Little acts of love and charity are easy - a kiss before work, a little note on the bathroom mirror, a phone call or text throughout the day, a small act of service (and maybe another kiss or two).
Are you truly loving and kind to your spouse?
5. Your spouse is the first one to hear your news - good or bad
Do you remember when you and your sweetheart first fell in love? Who was the first person you wanted to talk to each day, the first person you wanted to share your day's events with?
In rock solid marriages, this is still the case. These couples literally cannot wait to tell their spouses any news. Spouses should never learn important things from Facebook or Twitter.
6. You still date once a week
Dating is the glue that welds together communication, love and understanding. If your marriage is a keeper, you anticipate that special weekly time with your spouse.
We live in a busy, bustling world full of all sorts of things that derail our priorities. Setting aside one evening - or as many as you can - to be alone with your spouse is paramount to a continued successful marriage.
7. You never fantasize about being with someone else
At the marriage altar, you made the promise to cherish your spouse and be loyal to him or her, for better or for worse. In our society, it is easy to get caught up in the many infidelities and immodesties found in movies, TV shows, social media... It seems commonplace in our culture to "fantasize" because everybody else is doing it.
But solid marriages do not allow these thoughts to creep in - ever. Focus, and pay strict attention to your spouse.
8. You share your hopes and dreams
We all have hopes and dreams. Some come to life. Some don't. But lasting couples share their hopes and dreams with each other and then work together toward bringing those goals to fruition. Nothing, perhaps, is more gratifying than achieving a common goal with your spouse.
Have you shared your dreams with your spouse? Have you worked hard together? Have you felt that connectedness grow between you, filling your marriage with even more love and hope?
9. You commit
An unwavering commitment to your spouse cements your feelings for him or her, stirring within you a fierce loyalty. Though our culture tends to gloss over and minimize commitment and devotion, none of us can simply say or do whatever we want without consequences.
Never stop working to strengthen your commitment to your spouse, for this is the mark of truly successful marriages.
10. You give up the "blame game"
In many marriages (particularly those that end in divorce) a tendency to blame one's partner for anything bad that happens becomes commonplace. Fingers point. Hateful words like "it's your fault" escape from angry lips.
In successful marriages, couples are accountable for their own actions, and they seek to help one another overcome challenges. The best couples use their individual strengths to help each other overcome weaknesses.
Even if these 10 signs are all present in your marriage, things might not always be perfect - but keep going. Your marriage will grow more perfect every day. In the end, the overall key to success hinges on trying to do what one very wise man once recommended doing...
"Your best. Your very best."