Chemistry is the sizzle, romance and passion that sweeps you away when you first fall in love.
Test yourself: How often are you turned on by the way your partner looks dressed and undressed? (1 = Rarely, 2 = Sometimes, 3 = Often)
Respect is more about how good of a person both you and your partner are than how good each of you make the other feel. You demonstrate respect by how well you listen.
Test yourself: How frequently do you listen to your partner and hear them out without interrupting?
Enjoying your marriage is simply about having fun just being with each other. When you're with your partner (or even thinking about him or her) it makes you feel lighter and puts a smile on your face.
Test yourself: How often do you and your partner have lunch or dinner with just each other?
Is your marriage built to last? The foundation of a lasting partnership rests on six building blocks that form the acronym CREATE: Chemistry, Respect, Enjoyment, Acceptance, Trust, Empathy. When these components are strong and plentiful, your marriage is vital and durable. But, when any of them are weak or in short supply, your marriage becomes troubled and fragile. So, where does your relationship stand? Grab a pen and a piece of paper and then tally your score to find out.
4. AcceptanceWhen acceptance is present, you feel welcomed as you, as opposed to having to prove yourself. When acceptance is missing, you feel judged and as if you can't do anything right.Test yourself: How frequently do you feel you can be yourself with your partner?5. TrustTrust makes it safe to bare your neck and your heart, to confide personal fears and dreams, without worrying that they'll be used against you or that you'll be taken advantage of. It takes seconds to destroy trust, and years to rebuild it.Test yourself: How often are you able to tell your partner things you feel embarrassed or ashamed about?6. EmpathyEmpathy is about understanding -- and feeling understood by -- your partner. It's asking "What's it like for my partner right now?" rather than presuming you each know when you really don't.Test yourself: How frequently do you feel understood by your partner?If you and your partner scored "3s" across the board, the secrets to a lasting relationship are abundant -- and clearly no secret to your relationship. Congratulations! If, however, either of you scored less than 3 in any of the six areas, set aside time to talk through when and why any of those areas deteriorated. Make it a dialogue instead of a debate. Talk with instead of at or over each other. And listen openly rather than defensively. Then decide what each of you specifically needs to do now to restore the Chemistry, Respect, Enjoyment, Acceptance, Trust or Empathy so that you can fall in love again -- and stay there.Dr. Goulston is the co-founder of CouplesCompany.com and the author of The 6 Secrets of a Lasting Relationship (Putman, 2001).- - - - -Enrich your marriage with the ThirdAge Marriage Enhancer.