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Talk about what you mean by words such as relationship, commitment, love, and faithfulness. Couples tend to assume that money should be pooled, but it usually isn't that easy.

ou may think he's focused entirely on time, power or money, but what he's really trying to do is create enough security that he can feel safe to let his guard down.

Intimacy is the art of making your partner feel understood and accepted. Gentle touch, eye contact a gentle sense of humor and the right words all create the atmosphere.

To reconnect, make an effort to listen and understand each others' needs and wants.

The most powerful thing you can do to keep a marriage strong is form a partnership, a team, where both parties feel respected, cared about and needed.

Even if it's hard for you to figure out, discussing how you give and receive love will improve your relationship.

You will understand what makes each of you feel loved, and how to express your love effectively. Asking yourselves these questions are excellent tests of your ability to define and work out problems.

They read books, attend seminars, browse Web articles and observe other successful couples.

However, successful couples will tell you that they also learn by experience — trial and error. Greg and Erin Smalley, Focus on the Family has created questions that evaluate the strength of 12 essential traits of your marriage.

Here are 10 principles of success I have learned from working with and observing hundreds of couples: Dr.

Greg and Erin Smalley explore the traits of a healthy and thriving marriage.

Constructive discussion that leads to a mutually satisfactory solution means you know how to solve problems in your relationship. STAYING TOGETHER The skills couples need to keep intimacy alive in a long-term relationship differ from new relationship intimacy skills, and they're not obvious because people don't talk about them.