Love is the first and foremost part of any marriage. This sounds obvious, but I am amazed at the marriages I see that you wouldn't think would work but they do because there is love there. But, oddly enough, love is not enough. Your spouse is your best friend. Not your only friend, but the friend you can tell anything to, the person that will not judge you, the person that accepts you, completely, for who you are. I have met both women and men that say if only they could change a couple of things about their spouse/girlfriend/boyfriend, they could be totally happy. Rawr? No no no. If you love that person, completely, than you love all of them, completely. There is no such phrase as "I love you, but...". It's "I love you."
There must be trust, again, completely. Trust that your spouse or partner loves you and accepts you. Trust that your partner is loyal and true to you. Trust that your partner can forgive you, and believe you can forgive them, for minor trespasses, and major ones as well.
There must be honesty. Truth can be painful, but lies build upon lies and will be the death of a marriage.
There must be partnership. Your world is not completely your own anymore. You have agreed to share your life with another human, with someone that you have sworn to love and be one with. You certainly do not subsume yourself to another, but the world is not all about you anymore, either. Suddenly, maybe you shouldn't go out drinking with your buddies, but should stay home with the wife. Maybe you shouldn't have sex with the hot pool boy, but should be true to your marriage. Life is a choice of maybes, and with marriage the choices we make can have a larger impact than expected.
I know, for me, if I were single I would have a house, with my wife I have a home. I love coming home to her after work. I love being able to hold her when I am sad, and comforting her when she weeps. I love the decisions we make together, and our support of one another. Being married to her feels right.
I think that's the key. Being married should feel right. When someone asks me why I love my wife, I can't give them an answer. I just know that I do, that I can't imagine being married to someone else, or being alone. We never ask the question "Will we make it fifty years?". We ask the question "What will we do on our fiftieth wedding anniversary." There should be joy and happiness, pain and heartache, and all the emotions in between. There should be a life between a married couple.
Perfect, isn't it? Thank you, my friend!
<3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3