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Relationship Advice: How to Be Together
By Jeff Herring

Many couples face the decision about whether to stay together or to part ways. Once you have decided to stay together, then what?

Is the other half always happy?

If half of all marriages don't make it, then half of all marriages do make it (my high school math teacher would be so proud).

The easy assumption to make is that 100 percent of the people in marriages that stay together are happy. A more accurate guess might be 15 percent to 20 percent of those that stay together are happy.

The key question here is how the partners want the marriage to be.

Friends of mine recently built a house. An amazing amount of detail, planning and time went into the design of their home.

What would a marriage be like if that much attention was regularly given to putting it all together?

Key areas to consider

How can you teach each other to be the other's partner? It's the job of each person lo teach their spouse how to be his or her partner. The hang up here is simply silly human pride.

How teachable are you in this area?

What is currently in your relationship that you would like not to be there?

What is currently not in your relationship that you would like to be there?

If you could create a blue print for your relationship, what would it look like?

Relationship Advice: K is for Keeps

A few years ago I read an article in USA Today that sent me right into a relationship rant.

The article reported that there was a new term popular among young people getting married for the first time. The new term?

Starter marriages.

As in the first one that you use only to break you in because you know you will move on to the next one.

Similar to starter cars, starter jobs, and starter houses.

Yeah, right.

Playing for keeps

If you are going to make a long term relationship work, you have to go into with the notion that you are playing for keeps.

If you go in with the same level of commitment you would have for your first job, you are in deep trouble from the start.

Advantages of playing for keeps

Here are three advantages of playing for keeps:

1. When tough issues come up, and they will, playing for keeps allows you to hang in there and work it out.

2. As a result of the stretching and work necessary in number one above, you grow up so much.

3. Playing for keeps provides each of you, and the relationship, with the sense of security needed to make it over the long haul.

Giving up is easy. Hanging in there to work it out is hard.

And worth it.