The Ten Commandments of Lasting Realistic Relationships

  1. Thou Shalt Be Lovable
    • This is basic, because healthy relationships can be sustained only when each feels worthy of being loved.
  2. Thou Shalt Enjoy Romantic Love, But Recognize Its Limitations
    • Romance provides a lovely halo to a relationship, but it often stems from knowing little about one’s partner. The enchantment and seeming perfection in romantic love pale with intimacy and time. For a marriage to survive, romantic love must give way to a more mature, realistic love and acceptance.
  3. Thou Shalt Share Experiences Which Will Form An Expanding Base For A Lifetime Relationship
    • When the romantic bloom is over, a continuing relationship must be founded on shared, meaningful experiences and interests. Each partner must work to sustain a sense of togetherness through shared experiences.
  4. Thou Shalt Communicate Effectively With One Another
    • Communication is more than just words. It involves listening to and observing one another attentively, with alertness to hidden agendas that complicate relationships. It is a sensitivity to things unsaid as well as said.
  5. Thou Shalt Be Alert To Problem Areas: Sex, Money, In-Laws
    • Surveys consistently identify these areas as the source of significant marital conflict. If you sense potential discord in any of these areas, get it out in the open and work towards clarifying and resolving the differences. Sometimes the task may be to agree to disagree, without being disagreeable.
  6. Thou Shalt Back Off When The Friction Gets Too Great
    • It is unrealistic to expect two people to live together intimately without occasional disagreement and anger. When the heat of anger gets too great, back off; allow for some distance, both physically and emotionally. Let the situation cool down rather than force the issue and increase the friction.
  7. Thou Shalt Not Try To Make Thy Partner Over Into Someone S/He Is Not
    • Don’t enter into a marriage expecting to make great changes in your spouse; nor should you assume that s/he will change to accommodate your wishes if s/he truly loves you. Rather, be tolerant and learn to accept the imperfections of your spouse.
  8. Thou Shalt Not Smother Thy Partner
    • The best marriage relationships do not demand total possession, but allow each partner some degree of freedom.
  9. Thou Shalt Remember That Pride Goeth Before A Fall and Forgiveness Is Essential
    • Marriages are contracts between human beings with all their weaknesses. For a marriage to endure, you must be prepared to forgive periodic thoughtlessness, selfishness and even some indiscretion in your spouse.
  10. Thou Shalt Be Prepared For Change
    • Circumstances in life do change, and you must jointly be prepared to adjust to events that will profoundly affect your marriage – for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health.