Not a day goes by where I don’t hear someone, whether it be a colleague, a relative, or a person on social media, complain about his or her partner. From how lazy he is, how disrespectful she is, or how annoying he can be, it seems like everyone always has something to say about their spouse.

What baffles me the most is that oftentimes, the topics I hear complaints on are topics that a married couple should be able to discuss. They are topics that should have been communicated about and agreed upon way before it got to the point of venting to a colleague about it.

Marriage is the ultimate ’til-death-partnership, and the success of your marriage is almost completely reliant on how well you communicate with one another.

Conflict is inevitable in a marriage, but there are a few topics, in my opinion, which must be highly communicated about and agreed upon in order for your marriage to work (and by work, I mean work in a healthy manner!).

3 MUST-HAVES for a long, healthy, successful marriage

1 – MUST have visible respect for one another.

If you talk poorly about your spouse with others, that is showing a lack of respect. In a stepfamily, if your spouse lets his children walk all over you, that is a direct reflection of your spouse’s lack of respect for you. Trust me, this is a hard pill to swallow, but you must have visible respect for one another. After all, perception is reality!

WHAT TO DO:

If you think this is a challenge area for you and your partner, talk to him about it! Get specific, and let him know examples of what he has done to make you feel disrespected.

Practice introspection, and think about what you could be doing differently.

If your spouse cannot get on the same page as you about outwardly respecting one another, then the exemplified disrespect is only going to get worse over time.

2 – MUST agree on basic parenting principles.

If you want kids but your partner does not, that is a problem. If you have kids and believe that you two should play equal roles in discipline, but your partner thinks you should play “Good Cop, Bad Cop,” that needs to be discussed. Also, remember that forcing your spouse to get on the same page in these issues may lead to long term complications.

WHAT TO DO:

Talk to your spouse, and try to find a common ground. Note: “Common Ground” does not mean you demand or manipulate your spouse into agreeing with you. Finding common ground means compromise on both ends to find a solution you’re both comfortable living with.

3 – MUST agree on having friends of the opposite gender, as well as communication with any exes.

Do you believe that men and women can be “just friends?” What if one or both of the parties are in a committed relationship? Even more difficult- do you think it’s possible to be friends with an Ex? If you think this is possible but your partner does not, it is critical you find a solution.

WHAT TO DO:

Think about what is best for your marriage. Prioritize your partner, and think about what level of temptation you’re really willing to allow each other be exposed to.

In some circumstances (such as with shared children), a relationship with the Ex is necessary… but to what degree? Decide on specific boundaries you can and cannot cross, and stick to them. Every couple is different… find what works best for your unique relationship.

3 Must-Haves for a Happy and Successful Marriage | Marriage Tips and Tricks | How to Stay Married | How to Communicate with your Husband | Stepmom Help | How to Stepmom | Stepmom Resources | Blended Family Dynamics | Blended Family Help | Stepmum | Resources | Stepmom Blog | Stepmomming Blog | Life After Divorce with Kids | Stepmom Coaching | Stepparenting

Everyone wants their marriage to be highly-functioning. No one wants to wake up and feel in a rut, although it happens. Above all else, we must remember to communicate- again and again- with our partners. Perhaps consider your partner’s love language, and go from there. Assuming that your spouse knows how you feel is a recipe for disaster.

I want your input! What else would you add to this list of marriage MUST HAVES?

P.S. If all you blended family mamas out there really want to fight for your marriage, then REFUSE to be a part of the 67%.

About The Author

Ashley is a police wife, a stepmom to two beautiful stepdaughters, and a Dog Mom to her German Shepherd, Dirk. By day, she works in academic affairs at a large university in Virginia. By night, she delivers honest and humorous advice for blended families as the Content Manager for Stepmomming.com.

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