Every happy couple has a secret formula that makes their relationship work. For many modern couples, the key is establishing an equal partnership -- which is not to say that everything from chores, to emotional support to finances is split straight down the middle. Rather, both parties contribute something meaningful to the relationship and respect each other's contributions.
On Thursday, we turned to our readers, asking them to reveal how they maintain an equal partnership in their marriages. Scroll down for five interesting perspectives and then tell us what works for you and your spouse in the comments.
"I've only been married just under two years, so I get a lot of fluff about how I'm in the 'honeymoon phase.' While this may be true, it wasn't always easy for me to communicate with my husband because we do so in very different ways; I have always been expressive and he more subdued. I would have to say that prolonging a healthy and equal partnership stems from mastering the art of listening -- I know that seems like the obvious answer and perhaps not so profound, but I think there is an acute distinction between 'hearing' and actually 'listening.' In order to really listen to your partner and appreciate what they have to say, you must first wholeheartedly acknowledge that you are allowed to be separate individuals with differing attitudes and opinions about anything and everything. If you can accept that and still look at each other with hearts in your eyes, you possess an equal partnership." - Radyah, 29, of Toronto.
"Though we both desire an equal partnership in terms of our commitment to each other and our family, we also understand that life doesn't always place us in equal circumstances. We won't always have jobs that pay the same exact amount, or have the same physical capabilities or even be in the same stages of life. Regardless of what circumstances we may face, we both strive to dedicate 100 percent (not 50-50) effort to keeping our partnership equal by planning our days together and dividing tasks. I grew up in a household where my father was the one who cooked meals for me and pushed me through school while my mother focused on her work. In a country like Nigeria, this was almost unheard of at the time. My wife grew up in a reversed and more traditional situation. Under today's standards it would appear that our parents' partnerships were not equal, but we understood that the circumstances they found themselves in back then called for it. Now, in a post-financial crisis society, my wife and I have had to face the reality that one of us (or even both of us) may not be able to bring much money or time to the table but we both respect and support each other for the contributions we can make (whether equal or not) towards our marriage." - Naija, 30, of Nigeria
"Though we both come from traditional backgrounds, we decided when we got engaged that we wanted something that allowed us both to excel personally. We frequently take time to decide what that means: in our careers, religiously, within our family, and then we figure out how to make that happen. Usually it comes down to the day-to-day things and being a cheerleader. We're both OK putting aside our needs for a short while if it helps the other succeed, and we know we'll get a turn next time!" - Celeste, 23, of Salt Lake City
"My partner and I have been together almost 30 years. We both work outside of the home and are raising our 8-year-old son. We balance our family life by dividing the work and realizing what needs to be done. My wife handles the money, shopping and yard. I do the laundry, dishes and school homework. We take turns with our son's bedtime routine. And my wife makes the beds because we both know that I am terrible at that chore :)" - Kelly, 46, of Washington
"Equal partnership in marriage means understanding things may not always be 50/50." - Beverly, 46, of Chicago