I believe that there are three very important elements which must be present in order for a marriage to work: mutual admiration, respect and romantic love. Shared values can support mutual admiration and respect. I also believe married couples ought to be best friends. In addition to their romantic, physical love for each other, they should also genuinely like each other.
I’ve spoken with many long-time married couples—some married fifty-plus years—who are still happy with their union. A lot of them say, “You have to work at it.” So, perhaps, relationships can progress even when mutual admiration, respect and romantic love do not occur at the same time, if both partners are committed and very willing to work at it, in order to firmly develop all of these elements.
The road to a joyful, fruitful, meaningful, purposeful, enduring and everlasting loving marriage is not without bumps along the way. Both partners should keep fit in mind, body and their “little piece of God” in order to maintain their mutual respect, admiration and romantic love. That often requires self-discipline and delayed gratification.
The wisdom-associated values about which I have often written can deepen each individual’s character and help a marriage to flourish. However, the negative values of selfishness, hate, revenge, greed and envy can negatively impact a person’s relationships. Therefore, working on eliminating these from your life will benefit yourself and your loved ones, particularly your spouse (or future spouse).