Marriage is very much like a work of art in that after many strokes and much time it reveals its truest masterpiece.
Many enter marriage with an unhealthy understanding of what sustains long-term relationships. Many believe, like the song says, “love is all we need!” and fail to understand that love will be tested and that there is a chance it will either grow weaker or stronger because of the testing. They believe somehow that their love will supersede the pain and pitfalls, the resentment and regrets that so often befall couples, eventually leading to divorce. For them, love is a perfect and unchanging gift. But for many long-term couples, marriage has been a continued effort toward mastery, forged by many trials and errors.
A successful marriage relationship not only demands a realistic love but also requires the commitment, discipline, and fortitude that many artists employ to bring their masterpieces to fruition – the very things that every couple needs to have their “till death do we part” realized.
Fortitude is defined as the mental strength and courage that allow someone to face danger and pain for the sake of something greater. It is about being reliable and dependable. It is determining to stick with it when the going gets tough. It is being reminded of the vows of ‘for better of for worse.’
Discipline is what your partner is relying on when you are not with them or when it comes to spending or sharing your gifts, time, and talents with others. And it is not about controlling your partner or spouse; it is about self-control. It is about one’s own willingness to keep, protect, and serve the agreements and conditions of the marriage covenant. Discipline is being aware of the threats are out there and avoiding putting the marriage at an unnecessary risk.
In addition, couples who desire a sustainable love in a sustainable marriage must also be open to patience, forgiveness, and compromise.
Forgiveness is key! It is the ability to accept each other’s faults and to pardon your partner’s mistakes. Forgiveness is not necessarily forgetting, but it is in remembering what you learned from past mistakes. Forgiveness is not necessarily avoiding the occasional revisiting of the pain associated with mistakes, but it is in not bringing them back up once you have released them– understanding that every time you bring up past faults, there’s the potential or likelihood of assigning blame, which is the antithesis of forgiveness.
Compromise is king! Marriage is for any willing heart, but a long, happy marriage is for the faithful, the courageous, and those who master the art of compromise. As each partner learns to navigate, adapt, and adjust to the other’s quirks, styles, and habits, they have the potential to become master negotiators. Love and marriage are upheld by often ‘giving in’ over the pull toward ‘giving up.’ One might say it another way: the frame of love is compromise; if you don’t learn this art, you will never see the masterpiece.
Love seeks out the risk takers; it romances the adventurers; but it snares the fools that take it for granted. True love is the one thing that can supersede pain and heartbreak, but it must never be taken for granted. Love demands vulnerability, and the odds are that you will get hurt. But a real and sustainable love is well worth the risks!
 http://www.wikihow.com/Learn-Patience-in-a-Relationship retrieved 2/12/2015
I am a proud, passionate liberal thinker, social-justice advocate, entrepreneur, creative thinker, and songwriter whose mission in life is to try be the change that I hope someday would be in the world. I am also a husband, father, and community minister. I hold an undergraduate degree in Organizational Leadership, a Master of Business Administration (MBA) and a Master of Divinity degrees. Currently, I am serving as Managing Director of Clergy 211, an organization of inclusive and progressive clergy that provide non-judgmental rite-of-passage ceremonies for all people.