Many people say that if you are truly in love, marriage should not take effort. Others say that marriage is too difficult and takes too much work. The truth is that there is a middle ground! When you are in love with your spouse/partner and when you love your spouse/partner, then you WANT to work on the relationship. Yes, relationships take work, but it doesn't have to be "dirty" work. You can have an incredible relationship with the love of your life if you wish to! Much of our relationship depends on our own attitudes and perspectives.
If you want a healthy relationship, you must have respect, trust, and effective communication (sometimes more difficult to do than to say). You also must be patient, accepting and understanding of your spouse/partner. You will love them unconditionally when those things are true. Unconditional love does not mean that someone can be abusive. Unconditional love means that you accept the other person just as they are knowing that there are things that you may not like or that may bother you about the other person. That doesn't mean that we assess a judgment; only that we recognize the beauty of the other soul to whom we have committed our life.
There are several things we can do to cultivate a strong marriage. First, we must have respect. Without a mutual respect, relationships do not fare well. Second, trust is also a cornerstone of the relationship. When your foundation is not solid, the relationship will crumble and fall. Third, we should work on self first then learn to accept our spouse for the essence of their beingness. By that I am saying that we must learn to love them without judgment. Just accept them for the person that they are and love them for those very same reasons. Fourth, it is important to "listen with your heart" when you are living your life with another soul. Fifth, we must learn to ask and not ASSUME. Assumptions are not healthy. Do not assume that your spouse/partner already knows what is bothering you or what your heart desires. Share that information so there are no misgivings/ by doing so you create a loving environment that is safe for the two of you to exist.
We have talked about the "Love Languages" many times on my blog and on my radio show. If the two of you are failing to hear what the other is saying, stop and assess how you feel the most loved and heard. If you don't know, make that assessment so you can share that with your partner. It is not fair to have expectations of your partner/spouse when you do not know the reality of what your expectations are. Be fair! You can ask if there are other words that your spouse/partner would like to hear, you can ask if there are ways or things that can be done or done differently that creates a feeling of love and acceptance between the two of you.
It is very important to always be sincere and to be honest in your expressions. When you are not sincere, what do you really expect your spouse/partner to understand? If you are not being honest, how can you realistically expect the relationship to be anything more than what you are putting forth? It is very important to be honest and communicate what you REALLY feel. Do not make the other person guess. Be upfront and share those expressions. It is very important to be honest, otherwise, it feels like the two of you are playing games. Relationships are not solid, nor do they last, when couples are not honest and are playing games with one another. Game playing causes resentment and hurt that may be irreparable.
It is okay to set boundaries! Most of us come from very different backgrounds and have different expectations of love and relationships. Set the boundaries for what your soul can tolerate and what it cannot. There is nothing wrong with having reasonable expectations of one another. It is most important to respect the needs of your spouse/partner. These types of acts further promote respect and appreciation from your spouse.
Remember that everyone grows over time. Growth is a positive thing (most of the time) but requires patience and acceptance through those transitions. If there are issues that are holding you back from positive growth together, look to the reasons why. Many times those reasons are subconscious and are not obvious when we are transitioning.
It is up to the two of you as a couple or as individuals to recognize that you have committed to one another and will take the necessary steps to make the relationship work. When you do not have the commitment to one another to work through whatever arises, you cannot reasonably expect the other person to hold everything together. Relationships take two if you want to have those very strong love bonds. It is entirely possible to have such an awesome experience in love, you just have to put forth the effort to make those dreams your reality!