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The word “relationship” is synonymous with hard work and dedication. Thinking back on your wedding day, it may be a whirlwind of events and memories. But what comes after should be clearly defined by the married couple if you want a relationship that will last. These are some of the skills taught in relationship therapy and are a great place to start cultivating your marriage success.

Face-to-Face Communication

This cannot be overstated in a marriage. Communication can often make or break a marriage. In an age where distractions are more abundant, we have to strive to invest our time and energy into communicating with each other in an open and honest manner. A small change that can have a huge impact on your marriage is emphasizing the face-to-face contact that is essential for intimacy in your marriage. Married couples should strive to communicate each and every day, which can sometimes be a difficult thing to do. Communicating in an intimate manner will pay dividends later in your marriage. This is the foundation for trust and should be practiced by couples no matter how seasoned the marriage.

Establish Common Goals

In a perfect world, all married couples would have similar goals that involve both partners working toward a common purpose. More often than not, couples are individually driven for many reasons whether it be career goals, personal goals, or financial goals. But at the very least, these goals should be discussed. Individual goals have their merit, but if any individual goal is placed before the marriage it should be discussed at length. Goals that include both parties are often more successful because they choose to pursue the endeavor together.

Pause and Reflect

The importance of observation is often understated. Typically an observer is an unbiased third party, but in marriages, no partner is ever in an objective mindset. But nonetheless, taking a step back or a moment to pause can add some clarity to many situations. Taking the time to observe will allow you to reflect on both sides of the argument. Many times where conversations turn into heated arguments, there is little time given to hear what the other is actually saying and it becomes an emotional battle where neither side is the victor. In the small moments of reflection, you may find that it may be something you have done that triggered the event in the first place. These pauses in conversation will allow you to properly address any issues calmly and clearly.

Have Each Other’s Back

Married life can be difficult and if each respective partner is concerned only about their own well-being, the relationship with wither away. Everyone has issues and concerns, but one of the most important things in a relationship is knowing your partner has your back. You can be there for each other whenever times get hard and offer words of encouragement both in the bad and good times. Life has its ups and downs and it’s what the married couple chooses to do within this spectrum of difficulties that can make your marriage smoother.

Remember Why You Love Them

Many couples drift apart. And during that process, they forget what it was that drew them together in the first place. It is important that couples seek after each other even in marriage. The rings on each of your fingers are a symbol of your commitment to one another, but they aren’t the end all be all for fixing or maintaining your relationship. Successful relationships take work every day. Keeping thoughts about why you love your partner and strive to be together at the forefront of your mind will create an atmosphere of commitment. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither is a successful marriage. If you’re interested in being proactive about creating a healthy, happy marriage, consider relationship therapy. It’s not only for couples in crisis but also a great way to put boundaries in place and set goals together, with a third party to help lead the important discussions.