An African proverb states, "Before you get married, keep both eyes open, and after you marry, close one eye." Before you get involved and make a commitment to someone, don't let lust, desperation, immaturity, ignorance, pressure from others or a low self-esteem, make you blind to warning signs. Keep your eyes open, and don't fool yourself that you can change someone or that what you see as faults aren't really important. Once you decide to commit to someone, over time his or her flaws, vulnerabilities, pet peeves, and differences will become more obvious. If you love your mate and want the relationship to grow and evolve, you've got to learn to close one eye and not let every little thing bother you. You and your mate have many different expectations, emotional needs, values, dreams, weaknesses, and strengths. You are two unique individual children of God who have decided to share a life together. Neither of you are perfect, but are you perfect for each other? Do you bring out the best in each other? Do you compliment and compromise with each other, or do you compete, compare, and control? What do you bring to the relationship? Do you bring past relationships, past hurt, past mistrust, past pain? You can't take someone to the altar to alter him or her. You can't make someone love you or make someone stay. If you develop self-esteem, spiritual discernment, and "a life", you won't find yourself making someone else responsible for your happiness or responsible for your pain. Manipulation, control, jealousy, neediness, and selfishness are not the ingredients of a thriving, healthy, loving and lasting relationship! Seeking status, sex, wealth, and security are the wrong reasons to be in a relationship. What keeps a relationship strong? Communication, intimacy, trust, a sense of humor, sharing household tasks, some getaway time without business or children and daily exchanges (a meal, shared activity, a hug, a call, a touch, a note). Leave a nice message on the voicemail or send a nice email. Sharing common goals and interests. Growth is important. Grow together, not away from each other, giving each other space to grow without feeling insecure. Allow your mate to have outside interest. You can't always be together. Give each other a sense of belonging and assurances of commitment. Don't try to control one another. Learn each other's family situation. Respect his or her parents regardless. Don't try to be your husband's mother he already has one. He wants a wife. Don't try to be your wife's father she already has one. She wants a husband. Don't put pressure on each other for material goods. Remember for richer or for poorer. If these qualities are missing, the relationship will erode as resentment, withdrawal, abuse, neglect, dishonesty, and pain replace the passion. The difference between 'United' and 'Untied' is where you put the i.