Jul 17, 2014 / by Alisa Hafen / No Comments

Wouldn’t it be great to find the perfect person to spend the rest of your life with? Marrying the right person the first time would certainly eliminate the increase in the divorce rate in this country, which continues to climb.

Keeping a marriage together these days takes a lot of hard work. It takes a lot of giving and less taking.

Why do some succeed and others fail? I believe you really have to know the person you intend to take down the aisle. Do you truly know the person you have fallen in love with?

If you have spent a significant amount of time with each other, you will stand a much better chance of having a successful marriage. And you will get to know them not so much by their words, but their actions.

Their actions will speak louder than their words. If you lose sight of this, it could cost your happiness and your marriage.

For example, your significant other may tell you he respects you, but he or she dismisses your opinions. They probably make most of the decisions in your relationship.

If this is what you see early on in the relationship, you are eluding yourself if you think it will change. That seldom happens.

My wife, Shondell, and I dated for a year – then I went on a two-year mission for my church to Thailand.

But even during the time we were apart, we kept in touch via mail. We both knew how we felt, and a few months after I returned, we were married. We will celebrate 21 years this November.

Many people wonder how Shondell and I have managed to stay together this long, as the divorce rate for people in wheelchairs is even higher than the national statistics.

One reason is because we had a lot in common and we shared many of the same goals. We shared the same religion and the desire to have a large family.

We both wanted to live on a ranch and raise animals. We felt we had covered just about everything we needed to talk about that would have caused potential problems had we not discussed these matters.

We had a good marriage before my accident. However, we struggled with my job keeping me away from home for long hours. We had two young sons when I was injured and if I was to name one major problem, it would be the fact that I didn’t spend enough time at home.

I didn’t have an 8-5 job. My landscaping job kept me gone from sun up till sun down six days a week, which was very hard on my wife. And when the time away from home was really getting to her, she talked to me about it.

In fact, we talked about it the very night before my accident. That was one reason Shondell came looking for me – she was really going to give me a piece of her mind!

And why? Because my pattern would be to tell her I had just one more thing to do, then I would inevitably find a few more things to do, which would keep me from her and our young boys even longer.

I had no idea how hard it was just waiting for someone… until I was the one waiting. Funny how that works, isn’t it? We never realize what we put others through till we are forced to go through the same thing.

I will never forget how slow the hours passed that night as I was waited for her to come – with the bale of hay resting on my neck and shoulders.

My point is that if you are going to make sure your marriage works, you need to talk to each other. There must be communication. Afterwards, make the necessary changes to ensure that your significant other is happy.

That’s what you do when you love someone. You make sure they are happy – even at the cost of your own.

That’s what I would like to think Shondell and I do: take care of each other and our family to make sure their needs and desires come before our own. This may not guarantee a successful marriage, but it certainly will help.

“The greatest work you will ever do will be within the walls of your own home.”- Harold B. Lee