Some people dream of their wedding their entire lives, but it’s less often the case that people dream about their marriage. Marriage is not always glamorous, nor is it for the faint of heart. Whether you’re thinking about tying the knot or you’ve been married for fifty years, marriage is often anything but smooth sailing.

Success in marriage does not come merely through finding the right mate, but through being the right mate.

Love/Commitment.

At its core, love is a decision to be committed to another person. It is far more than a fleeting emotion as portrayed on television, the big screen, and romance novels. Feelings come and go, but a true decision to be committed lasts forever—and that is what defines healthy marriages.

Have a “growth mind-set” for a successful marriage. Be a lifelong learner. If both of you are willing to learn from your mistakes and the challenges in your relationship, you will thrive as individuals and as a couple. Related: 4 Common Marriage Problems—and Solutions for a Happy Marriage

Develop a realistic view of committed relationships.

Recognize that the crazy infatuation you experienced when your romance was new won’t last. A deeper, richer relationship, and one that should still include romance, will replace it. A long-term relationship has ups and downs, and expecting it will be all sunny and roses all the time is unrealistic.

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Things you need to know for a long and happy marriage

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