Well, of course friendship, trust, and communication are essential. But I just finished reading Mark Manson’s article on successful relationships (https://qz.com/884448/every-successful-relationship-is-successful-for-the-same-exact-reasons/) and was struck by his findings:
“What I can tell you is the #1 thing, most important above all else is respect. It’s not sexual attraction, looks, shared goals, religion or lack of, nor is it love. There are times when you won’t feel love for your partner. That is the truth. But you never want to lose respect for your partner. Once you lose respect you will never get it back”.
And then I wasn’t.
Of course it is respect. Respect is entwined with support, trust, and communication. Respect means you won’t always be passionately in love with your partner. Respect means you won’t always agree with your partner. But respect means you will ALWAYS support your partner, encourage them in their hobbies and alone time, give them an equal say in the relationship, talk to them if there is a problem – don’t just bitch to your friends, be open with them about everything, and put your marriage first as the foundation of a strong family.