So I have this strange theory on what is needed for a successful marriage.
You, of course, need the "standards" like good communication, both possessing a healthy self image and yada yada. My list of needs extends beyond this. I think if both people in a marriage think the following they will be married for years and years.
If you both always believe these things, you have a damn good chance of being the 50% that succeed and stay happy and married. Some of these are going to seem strange but keep in mind that both must believe this about the other.
If only one believes it then this theory does not apply. In fact, if only one feels these things it will likely result in a failed marriage. Bear with me and think about what this means before you decide if you agree or not.
Both of you believe:
Your partner is "out of your league". You hit the home run at your first at-bat in the majors. You won the lottery. You cannot completely understand how your spouse ended up choosing you. Your spouse is a hottie/hunk. They could of easily married above and better than you. Part of you knows they could of chosen someone more "in line" with them; better looking, smarter, nicer, more sane and more deserving. For some reason you lucked out. You hope the other person never figures it out. You hope you are always the spouse that everyone sees and whispers... "how did he/she end up with her/him?"
You can't fuck up. This is your one shot. You will never get this chance again. There are many more fish in the sea but you found yourself the whale. This is on you so be careful and don't take too many chances and don't be stupid. You have to keep stepping up and being just a little better than you have ever been before. You have to be a better person every time or the one time you slip, the one time you make the bad choice that you know is the bad choice could be the one time too many. Lights, camera, action... you're on and don't forget your lines. Reach inside and be the person you always hoped you really are.
Your spouse is not perfect. They do things that annoy you. They think and act in ways, at times, that baffle you. Sometimes not only do you not understand them but, sometimes, you don't really like them. Sometimes you have to bite your lip, turn the other cheek and remind yourself that this is not their normal behavior, this is a tiny blip on an otherwise clear radar screen. Why do you put up with him/her sometimes? Simple. Because what you put up with is NOTHING compared to what they put up with. They absorb all of your crazy. They love you even though sometimes you are a fucking asshole/bitch/looney. Your spouse checks a 747-load of your baggage and all you do is shoulder their carry-on bag every once in awhile. If they can put up with all of your crap then the small shit you absorb is nothing. You are coming out WAY AHEAD in the deal.
Even though the first two things are true and you spend much of your life thinking you traded two dimes for a quarter when it comes to finding your spouse, secretly you've always known you've deserved this. Deep down you knew you deserved someone as great as your spouse. You've secretly waited for them your whole life. You knew someone would see the real you some day and would realize you are that person you strive and hope to be. Your spouse is your raise after a years and years working your ass off and being underpaid. You finally got recognized. You were finally promoted and got the corner office. You deserve the view and plan on showing everyone you getting that corner office is not a fluke. You quietly worked your way here for years. Everyday you need to prove to your spouse and the world that you deserve him/her. Doubters be damned.
It boils down to this; you both need to believe you lucked out and can't fuck up because you ain't getting another at bat. You swing and miss the ball three times and you are getting sent back to the minors... back to the farm team.
The stadium is quiet. The cheers roar but are silent to your ears. Its the bottom of the ninth inning as you knock the dirt off your cleats and tap your bat on the plate.
Two outs, the team is down by one run. The tying run is on third, the winning run is leading the base on second. All of the scouts told the coach you were not major league material. He saw something in you and brought you up to the big team. The paper wrote and article this morning wondering why you were brought up from the farm team. The sports writer called the coach "an idiot" for signing you.
The pitcher nods at the third signal from the catcher and your bat is up, cocked and feels like two-hundred pounds in your hands. You can feel his pitch to come. You know it is going to be fast, straight and right down the middle.
He lifts his leg and starts the wind-up.
For Christ sake... KEEP YOUR EYE ON THE BALL.