Learn how to recognize common relationship pitfalls and nip them in the bud.
Step 1: Talk and share Set rules for discussion of common relationship problems, like meeting in a public place to talk to avert raised voices. Agree not to interrupt, or use absolute or accusatory phrases like "You always..." or "You never... ."
Step 2: Demonstrate willingness Slow down and make time to share dreams, memories, and experiences again. Demonstrate a willingness to solve problems by keeping eye contact and nodding while listening, instead of making faces or gestures.
Step 3: Compromise and sacrifice Communicate your sexual needs and encourage your partner to share theirs to feel more involved, respected, and satisfied. Give respect to get respect.
TIP: If you can't work things out alone, seek advice from a qualified sex therapist.
Step 4: Address money problems Address conflicts over money by agreeing on a budget. Be honest with each other -- don't hide purchases or debts. Plan well in advance for your kids' education and your retirement.
Step 5: Accept differences Accept the differences in the way both of you were raised and learn to compromise. Show respect and let your partner know they matter. Don't pick at old wounds.
TIP: Remember -- you can't control anyone else's behavior, only your own.
Step 6: Divide chores fairly Divide up housework and chores fairly so roles are defined and don't have to become a point of contention.
Step 7: Follow through Follow through on all commitments and prove you're trustworthy. With compromise, communication, and honesty you'll be able to work through many relationship hurdles and enjoy a long life together.
FACT: In 2001, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 43 percent of first marriages in the United States end in divorce.