Wind back 20-30 years. People lived together as family or housemates, rarely as lovers. Those who were in loving committed relationships often chose marriage as a way of consolidating their commitment to one another. Children were created as part of the growth of a marital relationship.

If divorce was on the agenda it was often a last resort. Nowadays, it seems people have gotten married, divorced and moved onto a new romantic relationship within a few short years... if they have married at all. In some cases this scenario has now been replaced with moving in together as long-term partners, creating children together, and buying a house.

The way we manage our romantic relationships now is completely different to how the previous generations did only a few decades before us. Whilst the generations before us had a system that seemed to be passed through the ages, a “how-to” for maintaining a successful relationship, modern day relationships almost seem to be winging it!

What happened to those simple ingredients for a successful marriage, the ingredients that could also be applied to co-habiting couples?

Of course, there are many factors one needs to take into consideration now. We do live in a different society than the one our parents and those before them used to live in. Yes, we are constantly bombarded with images of the “perfect” life by the media. Yes, we are drawn in by all the very many options available to us today. Yes, we can easily divorce without being seen as the untouchable of the local village. Yes, we can have children out of wed-lock and not be sent away to stay with a distant relative. Yes, times are different now but does this mean that the relationship success principles taught to us by the generations before us have no value now? No! Perhaps it’s our haste to shed all things old fashioned that has brought us to this phase in modern society where few marriages and long-term relationships seem to last.

What were we taught by our parents? What were our parents taught by their parents? What can we learn, from what we see and read, about the years and centuries gone by?


Marriage and co-habiting is about living a life together. You are a team. You complement one another in the skills and qualities you bring to the partnership. The other person is there to help you whether you fall down the stairs or fall into a pit of depression. You help each other to attain personal goals. You support one another financially, mentally and physically. Your job is to increase the happiness your partner experiences and reduce their unhappiness.

Companionship provides company. It provides security. It provides a safe haven for you to retreat to and a launch pad for you to leap from.

Companionship is about the duo. You are a pair. You can’t live your life purely in the solo lane when you are a companion to someone else. Great relationships are based on two independent beings working interdependently.


It never ceases to amaze me how many people get into marriage or long-term romantic relationships only to realise that their major life goals are not shared by their partner. I’m referring to goals about things like:
• whether or not you want to have children;
• how many children you want to have;
• at what age or stage in your life you want to have children;
• how you wish to raise children, including which faith you would like them to follow, if any;
• which values and morals are important to you;
• how important living close to your family is;
• how important your own career is;
• and what you want to achieve in life.

When people omit to address such issues they will not evade them forever. They are simply delaying the inevitable. They will come up at some point and if they discover later on that they are not “singing from the same hymn sheet” they may come to the realisation that they are not meant to be together and that they have wasted years of their (dating) life.

Furthermore, if children are a part of this relationship, they are going to destroy their life as they know it and this may bring grave consequences, not just sadness.

Before embarking on any major commitment, marriage or long-term co-habiting, you need to have frank discussion about all of the above. If you are not meant to be together, it is better to know it before any major commitment takes place. There would be fewer divorces and break-ups if everyone bothered to fill in these blanks in their relationship puzzle at an earlier stage.


We do live in a modern society and whilst I am all for the equality of men and women, we are still different sexes and such differences should be celebrated and accommodated rather than buried.

Men and women are built differently and they think differently, they display their emotions differently and they evaluate matters from different perspectives.

Perhaps I am old fashioned but I quite like the fact that my husband takes on the household DIY duties. I would be more than capable of performing odd jobs around the house myself but would rather he do them. Why? I feel more like a woman. I feel looked after. More importantly, though, I would not want to emasculate him by removing his opportunities of personal growth. The sense of achievement he feels when he has completed DIY jobs at home feeds his self-confidence as the man of the house. I am sure he and I would both feel out of balance with our inner selves, as man and woman, if I tied a tool belt around my hips, grabbed the drill and told him to stand back whilst he went off to make me a cup of tea.

Different men have different ideas about what makes them feel masculine and powerful just as women have about what makes them feel feminine and powerful. Some men want/need to bring home more money than their female partner in order to feel masculine. Some need to know that they have a better understanding of how to fix cars, a better knowledge of directions and greater physical strength. Some need to drive the bigger vehicle of the two they own. Some need to show that they are not quick to become emotional.

Whatever makes the male half of the relationship feel masculine should be accounted for and nurtured on an ongoing basis throughout the relationship. Such experiences are integral to, and help shape, the male’s self-confidence, his relationships, and his life. Let a man be a man.


A lady wants to feel feminine, sexy, protected and protective. She likes to nurture, she likes to provide emotional security and she likes to maintain pride in the appearance of herself, her partner and their home.

A man should take his lady in his arms every now and again with that animalistic passion in his eyes that makes her heart skip a beat and reminds her that she is desirable, sexy and feminine.

Simple things like allowing the lady to wait in the car whilst the man loads the shopping bags into the car during wet weather shows a woman that the man wishes to nurture and protect her. You see, it’s not necessarily the act so much as the message it conveys that helps maintain the notion of their masculinity and femininity.

Being feminine does not mean you cannot have aspects of your personality that are somewhat masculine or that being masculine you cannot have feminine qualities. If, however, we want to have a successful marriage or life-long co-habiting relationship, we need to satisfy some of our gender roles in order to create balance. Celebrate your uniqueness, don’t be ashamed of it.

You and your partner need to decide which gender roles fit you best and which you have zero tolerance for. Create and maintain your own version of the male and female role within your relationship in your very own modern way. Old fashioned gender roles with various tweaks can pave the way for modern day relationship success.


Don’t know why, perhaps it is so akin to their mothers looking after them, but men like to be fed home cooked food. This relatively simple act will bring a smile to his face, make him feel loved and cared for, and make him feel masculine too.

It feels pretty good to feed your loved ones too. Maybe it’s a feminine thing!


The Couple vs. The World is true solidarity.

Your partner should be your rock, and you theirs.

Your romantic partner should be the one you can always talk to, the one you can always rely on, the one who will take a stand for you, the one who will back you up when the moment requires.
You should face the world and any problems as a team.


People in mature relationships invest so much effort into them. If one partner does not show appreciation of it, the other partner will feel as though they are undervalued by their partner. This can in turn lead to arguments and negative thought processes which will in turn lead to overall dissatisfaction with the relationship in question.
Feeling and showing appreciation is vital in a relationship. In its absence, people wonder why they are with the person who does not appreciate them, whether the grass is greener on the other side of the fence, whether their relationship will become increasingly unappreciative and so on.

Let your partner know all the things about them that you appreciate and all the things they do that you appreciate. Let them know how these things make you feel. They will tend to respond in likeness by showing you appreciation too. If they do not, let them know that it is not acceptable.


The term commitment really refers to many aspects of the romantic relationship. It refers to the commitment to be with one another monogamously. It’s the ability to have staying power and the resolve to see your relationship over the hurdles and on towards continued success. It’s the commitment to showing them with your actions that you appreciate them. It’s the commitment to do things together so that you grow together. It’s the commitment to help and support each other when necessary. It’s the commitment to let your partner be independent.

Commit to the success of your relationship.

If you feel you are missing any of the above in your relationship and want some professional, confidential help, contact Sam Owen for an informal chat. After we’ve spoken, you decide if you feel there is anything Sam can do to help you achieve the relationship you both desire.

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Author's Bio: 

Sam Owen is a personal and business relationship coach, psychologist, speaker, blogger and author. Helping people improve their relationships is her passion.

She is happily married, is the youngest member of a large family and has grown up around family businesses.

She states with a cheeky grin, "I started work at the age of 3, had promoted myself by the age of 4, I love people and I love to help."

She goes on to explain, "Jim Rohn (RIP) has probably influenced my mind more than anyone in the world, except for my adorable parents."