As most of you know, I recently remarried. Before I decided to, again, attempt to share my life with someone, I thought long and hard about all of the things I /we did to contribute to the end of the marriage. The things I kept coming back to, time and time again, were miscommunication mixed with a lack of commitment and disrespect. This time around, I know that I married the RIGHT person. If you have been married before and married again, you know exactly what I mean. But, I still had to ask myself, how can we STAY together?  The authors of "12 Hours To A Great Marriage", Howard J. Markman, Ph.D., Scott M. Stanley, Ph. D., Susan L. Blumberg, Ph.D., Natalie H. Jenkins and Carol Whiteley, have taken their own experiences and put together a very easy to use manual. Here are their eight rules for a successful marriage:

  1. Stay Calm -- Keep talks constructive, not destructive and accusatory.
  2. Take A Time-Out -- Fights are easy to start and hard to stop. Yell "peanut butter" or "macaroni" if things get out of hand. That means everyone stops, takes a deep breath and has a good laugh.
  3. Speak Clearly -- Make statements that reflect your feelings; "I feel hurt. I feel sad." rather than assuming what your partner thinks "You don't care. You are selfish."
  4. Listen -- State your gripe, then wait for a reply. Repeat the answer to stay on the right track without misinterpretation.
  5. Deal With It -- Don't wait for a problem to escalate. Talk about issues when they arise.
  6. Have Fun -- Sharing leisure time and doing things you both enjoy is important for staying together and being happy.
  7. Keep Love Alive -- Even if the initial rush of romance has passed, stay connected physically by touching and kissing. If you've grown apart, discuss what's gone wrong, then find a way to fix it.
  8. Forgive -- In any relationship, someone will be hurt. It's important to say: "I'm sorry" and mean it. Empty words are worthless.

Hope you find these rules helpful in your own marriage! Real love is definitely worth following the rules for. :-)