As most of you know, I'm on my second marriage. 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.

Almost nine years later after we said our vows, I am still confident that I married the RIGHT person. If you have been married before and married again, you know exactly what I mean. I want to make sure that we continue to be happy, feel valued and fulfilled.

In the book, 12 Hours To A Great Marriage: A Step by Step Guide To Make Love Last, the authors 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. These are really just things you should be doing anyway for, and with, someone that you love. Too bad it doesn't come so naturally sometimes. We have a lot of baggage we are carrying.

Granted all marriages are different, just like the people that are in them, but one thing is for sure. When you find the right one, it's worth the work to keep that real love. It's definitely worth following the rules. I love him more every day.


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