Working together to solve problems is the key to relationship happiness.
Life is hard, no doubt about it.
Add a spouse with their own set of problems, it can be doubly as hard. Factor in jobs, kids, the economy, and debt and it's no wonder half of all marriages end in divorce.
But there is a way to not only stay together, but beat all those problems waiting for you out there in the world. And it's all about mindset.
You need a shared goal.
This doesn't mean you have to be into the same things or have the same projects or directions in your life, but the best way to make a marriage work is for both people to want to get to the same place, and be willing to work together to get there.
Say you want to buy a vacation home in Tuscany (who wouldn't?), it behooves both people to help the other out in their priorities to increase wealth and savings and set up the life that is necessary to get there. Because it's not just about working together on a shared goal, it's about improving yourselves along the way.
According to an article in the New York Times, research shows that the happiest couples are the ones where each person feels that they are growing and becoming better because of the other. Happy couples support each other, help each other, and teach each other. While many people worry that they would lose themselves in a relationship, these people say they're growing into the relationship.
It's so easy in a relationship with someone to let competition creep in, as each person tries to one-up the other. That's a recipe for disaster. This leads to jealousy and feelings of resentment and blame when you feel that you're not getting further ahead in your goals because the other person is an anchor holding you down. Your spouse should never feel like your enemy.
Instead, offer help. Accept help (this can be the hardest thing for some people). Communicate about where you are and what you need help with. Set a goal together, or several goals. A life goal, a 10 year goal and a 5 year goal.
Some people call this a Marriage Mastermind, where two minds that are totally in sync create an even stronger "third mind" that accomplishes more than the two could have done separately.
Talk with your spouse about it, get both parties on board. It doesn't just happen, you have to make it happen. Remember, it doesn't just benefit the marriage, it benefits both of the people in it, making for a happier, more fulfilling, and successful life.