When getting together with my girlfriends, I was asked "What makes a successful marriage?" These are my thoughts on that topic.
Marriage is nothing but work. Please do not be fooled. If anyone tells you that marriage is all roses, sunshine and happiness - walk away. Many people wonder what is that magic ingredient that makes a marriage "work." It's not a secret at all. Most people know the answer but prefer to remain in denial. To obtain a successful marriage, one needs an equal portion of love, understanding, compromise and time. The word compromise should not be taboo. It does not mean that you give up your identity. It does not mean to be subservient. It definitely does not mean that you always must put the needs of your spouse first. Compromise means that each party negotiates for the benefit of the whole. Give a little and take a little. It is a precarious balance that requires much attention, time and energy.
Please understand that this is not easy, especially for individuals who are "independent," selfish, little experience with successful marriages or have lived alone so long they do not know how to live with someone else. I see it time and again. Two people with completely different goals in life, marrying one another for the sake of not having to be alone anymore. These are people who are in love with the idea of being in love.
My first marriage was based on a non-existent foundation. We had married too early, too young and too quickly. We were in such a rush that we forgot the most basic principles of marriage: get to know your significant other's wants, needs, financial goals and dreams. We had a very different philosophy on life and a very different ideal of family. A short four and a half years later, our marriage was over and beyond repair.
However, with that lesson learned, my second marriage has been very successful and fulfilling. We have known one another for approximately 12 years. We were dating for 2 years and have been married for the past seven years. It is funny how the lessons from my first marriage became an invaluable resource to draw upon for my second. My husband and I communicate with one another about everything: sex, love, family, dreams, goals, kids, work, etc. It is not very often that you find that one person in the world who completes you.