Another thing that I think is essential to a marriage is faithfulness. What is a marriage like if the husband and the wife are not faithful to each other? In a marriage, we have to be able to trust each other. Trust is the foundation of intimacy and closeness. If we are not able to trust our spouse, we are building a marriage on quicksand.
I want to take this idea of faithfulness a step further. Sure one huge aspect of faithfulness is sexual fidelity but I think it goes much deeper than that. When Nancy and I married, we promised to stay married through good times and bad, through sick times and healthy times, and through rich times and poor times. We committed to these vows before God. Faithfulness is staying focused on your marriage no matter what.
Let me put it this way. I often talk about marriage as a highway. We drive along the road together. There are bumps in that road and sometimes chugholes. It is not a perfect highway. Along the highway there are exits. Some of these may be things such as infidelity, alcohol or drug abuse, or all kinds of other exits that distract us from our marriage. Faithfulness in marriage is staying on the highway and not taking the exits. That over the years will build an awesome marriage.