When we look at the divorce rate, the number of relationships that fall apart before people get married and people who stay together even though they are miserable, we might conclude that people go out of their way to wreck their relationships.
Here are six things to remember if you don't want to wreck your relationship:
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1. Don't misunderstand what makes a good relationship. When I Googled "What makes a good relationship," responses like a good sex life, compatibility, mutual respect, agreement about money matters and good communication were common. But in the 44 years I have been a marriage and family counselor, I have found that the core quality for having a good relationship is simpler and more basic.
I've found that having a strong emotional bond is the key to a joyful love life.
Sue Johnson is an expert in helping couples achieve and maintain a joyful relationship throughout their lives. In her book, Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love, she says she learned that "romantic love was all about attachment and emotional bonding. It was all about our wired-in need to have someone to depend on, a loved one who can offer reliable emotional connection and comfort."
But most of our views on relationships take us in a completely opposite direction. Many believe emotions are something we should control, not express. They tell us that too much emotion is the basic problem in most marriages.
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According to Johnson, you must "recognize and admit that you are emotionally attached to and dependent on your partner in much the same way that a child is on a parent for nurturing, soothing and protection." She says adult attachments may be more reciprocal and less centered on physical contact but the nature of the emotional bond is the same.
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