Marriage is much more than a random pairing of hearts: It's integral to personal progression and happiness. The essential roles of husband, wife, father, and mother are the fundamental responsibilities that support life, stability, and society.

The world has developed a skeptical attitude toward marriage, buying into a self-fulfilling, doomed outlook: that if half of marriages fail, then you might likely be in an ill-fated relationship. The practice of a trial partnerships and prenuptials put participants into a losing game.

Think about it: would you keep rooting for you basketball team if the players went into each game believing, "More than likely, we’ll lose tonight. Again!" If the players performed with those expectations, in no time, their dread would be justified, because they’d be losing all their games, along with their fans and franchises. As long as people believe in the possible failure of their unions, it's no wonder too that marriage is suffering in our society.

But if we take a positive view, nothing in the world could prevent us from succeeding in our marriages. It's each person's job to make their marriage a refuge of hope. You plant the seeds of faith and love that will blossom and bear fruit over time. You nurture your love for your spouse and tend to his or her needs and the demands of caring for your relationship as a solemn responsibility.

A positive outlook will go a long way toward success in any relationship. Follow these guidelines to enjoy a rewarding marriage:

First, take care of yourself.
The best thing you can do for a loved one is to be a whole, congruent person yourself. Define your values, actively pursue your goals, and improve yourself toward your defined values. When you know who you are and what’s most important to you, you have purpose in your life. It matters more that you’re headed in the right direction with an eye on the destination, than to have reached your goal. When two congruent people share common values and dreams, nothing can get in their way. By taking care of yourself, you don't come into a relationship needy, expecting someone or something outside of your control to make you happy. Fulfillment comes from within. Most relationships fail because one or both partners expect the impossible of the other — to complete them and make them into a whole entity. A marriage of two halves leaves a widening gulf in the middle. But when two complete people unite in purpose, they are able to see ways to fulfill each other’s needs, while taking care of their own.

Learn to subordinate selfishness for togetherness.
A relationship is a shared experience, requiring an investment of time and energy. Early in my marriage, I took on the task of arranging instrumental versions of my songs. Nights I spent hours in the creative work. One night, Robin expressed her concern that I was spending too much time. I realized I was overlooking her need for togetherness for something I wanted to do. I needed that lesson on perspective. We need to look out for each other’s needs. Everyone should have a home team advantage, where their most ardent fans support them and root for their success.

Keep daily focus on your loved ones.
Pray for each other. Keep a spirit of gratitude, appreciation, and positive praise. Express thanks for your loved one. Show your appreciation by helping out whenever you can. Put time on your side — make it an investment to value what is most important. Take time, energy, and passion. Romance each other as if you're still in the chase. Make your marriage an obsession.

The rewards can last forever.
The things that matter most are the ones that last the longest. Home, family, and loved ones bring the most significant happiness. When people actively share the responsibility to create a loving atmosphere, their bond of togetherness becomes a rich tapestry of joyful memories.

Author's Bio: 

Benjamin Devey hosts and publishes insights on love relationships in the monthly newsletter, "Learning Love & Life," available on the website