15 imperatives for a lasting marriage

15 imperatives for a lasting marriage


1. Make it your mission to be the best spouse in the world

a. when you both have that attitude your marriage becomes more resilient

2. Become each other’s best friend

a. Make sure you take time to chat and keep updated on what’s happening in each other’s lives.

b. Share your thoughts and opinions

c. Share your dreams and fantasies

Side note: ii. Only act out on about 20% of your fantasies, some things are best kept in the realms of the mind. But be brave enough to share them and mature enough to receive them…..

3. Allow your partner to be who they really are.

a. Don’t try to make them more like you.

b. At the end of the day, don’t we all just want to be loved and respected for

who we are?

c. And while we may change for those we love, over time, don’t we always

default back to who we really are?


4. Facilitate growth in each other.

a. Personal,

b. Spiritual,

c. Emotional.

d. Intellectual.

e. Recognise that marriage is one HUGE growth experience

5. Find new ways to please each other

a. Don’t get complacent

b. Don’t rest on your laurels

c. Keep things spicy everywhere, not only in the kitchen.

6. Learn to communicate:

a. Learn and respect each other’s values

b. Recognise how your differences make you a team

c. Learn and talk in each other’s love language

d. Learn and talk in each other’s apology language

e. And then actually express your love

f. And actually apologise when you are wrong

7. And forgive graciously and quickly

a. we are all human and we will make mistakes

8. Resist temptation

a. Temptation is real and we are all susceptible

b. Temptation is not only sexual

c. Could also be Financial (overspending an agreed budget)

d. or being overly Controlling or Selfish

e. Usurping each others authority

f. And this gets even harder when the kids arrive

  1. Trust each other
    1. Trust until you are given reason not to rather than assert that trust must be earned
    2. You are going into this marriage with trust, so always expect the best of each other
    3. Always give each other the benefit of the doubt
  2. Manage change over time
    1. 20 years later I am not the man Jacqui married and she is not the women I married
    2. You will both change
    3. Right now you are attracted to the things that make you the same
    4. As you move through time you will not only grow & change but you will get to see each other’s full personality
    5. The good and the bad will emerge

11. Power struggles

  1. To be honest, I don’t know how to address this topic properly, It has proven to be the most difficult area of my marriage
    1. Who is the head of the family, when?
    2. Managing different parenting styles
    3. How do we spend the money?
    4. Apologising
    5. Pouting/Cold Shoulder
    6. Withholding time/ sex / favors / words

12. Be realistic in your expectations of

  1. yourself,
  2. your spouse,
  3. your relationship
  4. and your marriage

13. Recognize that you are responsible for your own happiness

  1. It is not your partners duty to make you happy
  2. Only you can achieve that
  3. You are choosing to find happiness together
  4. But not abdicating responsibility to the other

14. Celebrate occasions

  1. Buy each other cards and gifts on:
  2. Wedding anniversary
  3. Valentine’s day
  4. Christmas
  5. New Year
  6. Birthdays
  7. Mother’s day
  8. Father’s day

15. Have a common Vision

  1. Agree on short, mid and long term goals in all 7 areas of life (Physical, Mental, Spiritual, Social, Familial, Vocational, Financial)
  2. How many children you will have?
  3. Where you want them to go to school?
  4. How you will discipline them?
  5. To spank or not to spank?
  6. How you will spend the money?
  7. How much you will save and invest?
  8. Where you would like to end up living (and retiring)?
  9. Will you go to church? And when the kids arrive?
  10. Can you afford to have mom at home when the ids arrive?
  11. Would mom actually want to stay home?
  12. Know where you want to be 50 years from now in all 7 areas (Physical, Mental, Spiritual, Social, Familial, Vocational, and Financial)!


This is an excerpt from the book, “So you’re married, now what?

Written by the marriage expert, Stephen van Basten



About Stephen van Basten - The Marriage Expert

When you meet Stephen van Basten you instantly realize that there is more to him than meets the eye. This is not a moment to judge a book by its cover. Stephen boasts a list of achievements: He met his wife, Jacqui, 27 years ago, married her 21 years ago and is the proud father of a 'very together' 18 year old daughter. Stephen will immediately tell you with a twinkle in his eye, that Life, Work, Marriage and Parenthood are not for sissies. That while they are all hard work, they can be, and should be, incredibly rewarding and fulfilling. Stephen is a past Karate World Champion, a yoga enthusiast and recovering golfer. If you opened Trip Advisor on his facebook page you will see that he has visited 81 cities in 52 countries including the USA, Alaska, Japan, Europe, Australia and China. Stephen has owned his own company, worked in his family's business, being employed by small and large businesses like Shell SA and the BTG Group. His titles include Brand Manager, Sales Manager, Account Manager, Sales Representative and Business Owner. He now sees himself as an Author, Speaker, Trainer and Coach. Stephen published his first book, "So you're engaged, now what? The journey from engaged to married" in December 2013. His ingenious marketing strategy put this book into over 2000 hands in its first 6 months. His second book "So you're alive, now what? The journey from birth to death" is available online and he is working on 5 more books in the series including "So you're married, now what?". Stephen's obvious passion and first love is Human Behavior and specifically Human Behavior as it manifests in RELATIONSHIPS. He is quick to point out that we have many differing relationships: employer, employees, customers, suppliers, colleagues, friendships, marriage, parents, siblings, children, our maker, other drivers on the roads and we generally have issues in most if not all of them. Stephen is a student of the well-known human behavior specialist, Dr. John Demartini and is constantly researching and honing his understanding of this incredibly complex subject. In 2013 he completed over 175 hours of intense training on T. Harv Eker's signature courses.
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