7 Areas You Must Focus On If You Want Your Marriage To Last

These things will guarantee you build a strong foundation for your marriage to grow on.

Last updated on Jun 23, 2024

Older couple knows ways to help marriage last. fizkes, tommyvideo | Canva

Today's world gives so much coverage to all of the ups and downs, break-ups, and make-ups of the people we deem celebrities. All of this media coverage seems to tell us that it’s okay to change partners with the seasons or to fall in love with someone new every time your job changes. Making a relationship last is work but I’m here to tell you that it is worth it. I am a firm believer in healthy, loving, supportive relationships. I know that these relationships are the ones that last for the long haul and have partners that are happy and committed. If you want to strengthen the chances that your marriage is going to be around for many years to come, you're going to have to work at it. Here are seven ways you and your partner can ensure that you're off to an excellent start!


Here are 7 areas you must focus on if you want your marriage to last:

1. Mutual love

This should be a no-brainer but unfortunately, people are still marrying for reasons that have nothing to do with love. Yes, it is possible to grow to love someone even if that love is not present at the outset. However, love must grow. Whether from the beginning or developed over time, love must be present for marriage to have the best chance. Genuine love is the best basis for respect and mutual respect is crucial for a happy marriage. Love and respect act as a safeguard helping both parties to think before they act: how might this action be perceived and received by my sweetie? Love and respect remind us that we don’t want to do anything that will hurt our beloved. 


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2. Respect

Hand in hand with love and respect is genuine acceptance of who each partner is. I recently saw one of those picture quotes on Facebook that reminded us to fall in love with the person, not the person's potential. This could not be truer. We are all works in progress. Hopefully, we never stop growing and evolving. However, we are all also perfect in our imperfections. Our love for our partners should be because of who they are right now. I am loved for me: overweight, graying, opinionated, reformed control freak that I am and I give that right back to my husband. Is it possible for us to change? Absolutely. Is it a deal breaker if we don’t? Certainly not.

@brinespeaks Respect is the most important thing in a relationship #relationshipadvice ♬ original sound - Brin

3. Acceptance

When your relationship is built on acceptance of the person as they are, there can be no resentment when they don’t live up to "their potential." If your honey never develops those six-pack abs or loses those 20 pounds, it’s no problem. True knowledge and acceptance of who your partner is define real intimacy or into-me-you-see. It creates for both of you a level of safety that you will be hard-pressed to find anywhere else.


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4. Shared values

Your set of core values is what determines how you view the world around you. Your core values tell you whether a given event or set of circumstances is okay with you or not. Your core values are the reason that you meet some people and connect with them, while other people you just can't seem to do so. We all have a set of core values that we operate from; sometimes we are not aware of what they might be. While your value set and your partner's do not have to be identical, they should have some correlation. The ones that are critical to both of you should be similar. At the very least you both should have similar values around fidelity, honesty, and family. Whether or not they are important is not significant as long as you agree.

These shared values form another cornerstone in the foundation of your relationship. They will help prevent the kinds of conflicts that often tear relationships apart. If you have never thought about your values, now is a good time. Understanding each other's value sets can be a big help in understanding reactions to different situations or differing methods of problem-solving.

5. Healthy boundaries

What are healthy boundaries? They are what tells you that enough is enough. They are the limits that YOU set on bad behavior. When someone crosses them likely the little hairs on the nape of your neck stand up or you get some other creepy feeling. You and your partner need to be familiar with each other's boundaries. Once familiar, you both also need to be respectful of them. If you have done the work in determining your value set, you should have some clues as to where your boundaries are. Take a look at the values you have. Which would you consider to be deal breakers? These are things you absolutely won't tolerate. These are also good indicators of your boundaries. For me, honesty and respect are crucial. If you cross the boundary of honesty with me by lying it will forever change any relationship I have with you.


Having boundaries based on your value set is healthy. They help you set standards for acceptable behavior. It is likely that when shared or similar values exist between two partners, shared or similar values will exist also. Become familiar with and/or develop your boundaries and work with your partner to do the same. Knowing and respecting each other’s boundaries will add another layer of strength to your relationship.

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6. Shared goals

Do you know what you want out of life? Where do you see yourself in the next 5, 10, or 20 years? What about your partner? Are your dreams of the future in alignment? If you are just starting, have you discussed things like children and child-rearing? If you are already past that point, have you discussed your future together and how you plan to make it happen? Often couples just drift along assuming that with love these things will take care of themselves. Sometimes they do. However, all too often a couple finds themselves after several years at a place where they realize that their goals or vision for their relationship were vastly different.


Discussing your relationship vision helps you to find any differences and allows you to find ways to work through them so that the outcome is something you both can live with. Having this dialogue early allows you to resolve issues before they become a catalyst for conflict. Discuss your financial goals as well. It is well known that arguments over money can cause real damage in a relationship. These can be touchy issues to tackle, but it is so worth having the discussion to work them out before the emergency arises. Remember that each of you is an individual as well. You will each have your dreams and goals. Be as supportive of each other as possible. Allow each other the space and safety to grow and dream within your union. 

7. Communication and conflict management

Now it is time to talk about communication and conflict management. Poor or ineffective communication and conflict management can undermine any other work that you do. Each of us has our normal communication style, some of us are always humorous, some slightly sarcastic, and some very straightforward. These all have their place. However, in your core relationship, your marriage, you both want to develop a communication style that allows each of you to feel loved, heard, and understood.

Safe and effective communication opens doors to finding common ground during conflict and to healing. I always encourage my clients to approach any serious discussion with their partner from a place of love and appreciation for their partner and the relationship itself. If you cannot do that at the moment it is best to take a break and come back to the discussion later. Trying to resolve conflict from the point of anger can often inflict lasting damage. Especially when conflict arises, it is crucial to approach from a "we win or we lose" perspective, not from "I win." In every conflict, there are two parties. Each should acknowledge their part in creating whatever situation is causing the conflict. Listen to each other with an open heart. Express your truth keeping your love and respect for your partner in the forefront of your mind. Allow your partner to do the same. This will not always be easy to do, but I guarantee you it is worth the effort.

If you follow the tips above, your relationship should be vibrant. You are building on a foundation of love, respect, and trust for each other. You will get to know each other in ways that others won’t know you. You will truly be each other’s best friend and champion. You are strengthening the bonds between you to create a lasting marriage. By practicing effective and loving communication, you and your partner will always feel heard and understood. When conflict does arise, you will have effective tools for exploring and resolving it in ways that protect your relationship rather than add more damage. All of these things should help give your marriage a firm foundation with deep roots that can withstand the ups and downs of life. 


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Akua Bediako is a certified relationship coach, a certified passion test Facilitator, and a member of the International Coach Federation, and the Long Island Coaching Alliance. She helps her clients to enjoy life again, be set free of the baggage of their past, and be open to love fully again.