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The secret to survival: How to ensure your relationship lasts forever

Mar 30, 2012, 7 a.m.

Building a lasting relationship takes work. When you're younger, it can be fun to simply fall into a low-maintenance relationship, one built in a sense of fun and affection, but perhaps not so much deep commitment, real intimacy or shared responsibility.

A good marriage needs to be a shared love as well as a full partnership. Not one or the other, but both reinforcing each other. The best way to attain this in a marriage is with total and complete honesty about everything. Your needs, your wants, your fears, your passions -- it should all be fair game.

There are stories of husbands who are perhaps embarrassed about certain aspects of their private life, not even necessarily sexual in nature, and they share this with a mistress or a girlfriend on the side rather than with their wife. What they don't know is that that's really a lot of hassle for nothing. If a marriage is going to last and make both partners happy, then nothing should be taboo. Secrets lead to resentment, which can sit for decades before ruining an otherwise perfect relationship.

If someone admits some secret ambition, some secret curiosity or passion or fear to their partner and their partner is not comfortable with it, then it's an incompatible marriage and it's in the best interest of both parties to move on, as painful as that may be. So in the long run, telling the truth, if not about everything then at least about who you are, is the only strategy that makes anyone happy as they grow older.

There's a lot more good, solid marriage advice than will ever fit into a single page of information, but bear in mind the importance of honesty and intimacy and the rest should fall into place.

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