Christopher Chan

Five things couples should promise when they get married

Q What are the promises you should make to each other in addition to the vows you make when you commit to one another?

A Most couples, whether married or living together, make promises of commitment, fidelity and love. But is it enough? Couples who write their own vows on their wedding day often make them unique, specific and intensely personal and relevant to their relationship.

Others who do general vows may promise more specific things during a vow renewal on one of their significant anniversaries. It's a great idea to privately renew your vows, for the stage of your relationship that you're in at that time, each year.

Some really important promises to make to one another, to invest in your relationship include:

1. Never go more than a day or a night without sorting out a conflict. Don't let resentment fester and miscommunication become a pattern. Even if you're not ready to talk about the conflict and need more time to simmer down, don't allow each other to give the other the silent treatment.

2. Maintain your date nights. No matter what the circumstances are, such a demands of work and small children, it is the couples who do not maintain their connection who drift apart and live on in unhappy unions, or split.

3. Don't go more than three days without communicating. In today's day and age, with so many ways to talk, text, email, Facetime, make sure if you experience distance in your relationship that you focus even more energy on staying connected. When you allow a pattern in of not communicating when one of you is away - for work or service or family obligations, or even fun trips with others than your partner - you signal that they are not a priority and you make non communication acceptable.

4. Promise to be interested. When you marry your partner you marry their family, their work, their cares, concerns and hobbies. Be interested in your partner. Promise to share some interests, but also promise to respect their interests and passions.

5. Promise joy. And be specific about it. Promise to laugh together. Promise to touch each other. Promise to enjoy life together.

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