Last week I shared the many losses associated with divorce and asserted my belief in marriage. Today I would like to focus on how marriage works. Do healthy marriages require work? Absolutely, healthy marriages are successful when couples do the work. Do healthy marriages require both parties to work at the marriage equally hard? In an ideal world that would be great, but the reality is that at certain times one person is working at the marriage more than the other, but both are fully engaged in the maintenance and improvement of their marriage. Marriage works, but it takes work. In other words, communicate directly and constructively with love and respect. Foster connection through shared activities and make your marriage a high priority. In many situations, work, children, friends or family are placed above the marriage which jeopardizes the relationship. Why not ask your spouse whether they feel you place your marriage at the top. Better yet, ask them what their needs are for the marriage. It helps to know what is important to your spouse if you’re looking for a greater connection. Another essential component of a healthy marriage is the ability to resolve conflict. This requires open discussion, emotional expression, compromise, and the ability to let go of the conflict after resolution has been reached even if you have to agree to disagree. Trust, forgiveness, and intimacy are equally important components of a healthy marriage. While there is such a thing as “love at first sight,” there’s a lot of life to live after that first sight. Personal responsibility powers healthy relationships. Do it now!