The best advice for marriage success isn’t about remembering special occasions or giving gifts. It isn’t just spending quality time and being attentive during conversations. It’s all about the relationship and building relationship skills.

When beginning a new relationship very little is known about your partner in the grand scheme of things. Your relationship is in its infancy and it will take some time to discover all the accumulated events that have made your partner who they are.

This is where relationship skills come in to play. I recently read in a column the story a man who had been married for 35 years expressing that once he retired he and his wife no longer liked each other and they were miserable together. What could have suddenly gone wrong after all these years?

In this case it seems that their longevity has worked against them. Their relationship had developed adjacent to each other not with each other. They learned to exist adjacent to each other but not with each other. Over all those years they drifted separately and shared no commonality in their marriage. Separate careers and interests, largely separate lives.

Once together they had never developed their relationship or the skills to allow it to thrive. They probably never discussed their dreams of what their life together would someday look like. They most likely didn’t even realize who each other had become.

A positive long term relationship must develop these skills to remain vibrant and healthy. Unfortunately for this couple time has taken it’s toll and there was a vast crevasse between them. There is still hope for them but they must work quickly if even one of them has any hope of resurrecting what once was.

It has taken both of their efforts to get where they are. Fortunately it only requires one person taking the initiative to make positive changes can make the difference in a relationship. With the proper assistance they will be on their way quickly to restoring their relationship.

Does their story sound similar? How do your relationship skills measure up? Are you actively building relationship skills for a better marriage?