21 years form more than half of my entire life, and these have been shared with only one man. Today, September 29, we celebrate our 21st year as a couple. Cheesy as it may seem, but probably, we have survived the various types of love to have gone all this way together. It was not easy all throughout, but I do believe that love and more importantly, God's guidance helped us survive the stormy episodes.

Is it true love that kept us going? Well, maybe yes. But I know older couples will agree with me that it takes more than love to stay strong in a relationship. One compelling reason to stay married is the welfare of our kids, but there is a saying that we must always put our spouse before our kids because, in the end, it's going to be only the two of you together when your children have families of their own.

Looking back at these twenty-one years of being together, starting out as a"boyfriend-girlfriend" for 9 years before getting married in 2010, these are the important lessons that I want to share with others especially the younger couples out there.

Give and take.

While we women admit that we want to be on top of everything most of the time, there will be instances when we need to surrender to our spouse's decision. The Bible encourages us, women, to submit ourselves to our husbands, but the healthy balance of authority and decision-making is also a key ingredient to a happy and lasting relationship. At the end of the day, we can say that the couple who seek out each other's consent and opinion are most likely to be satisfied and fulfilled in their relationship with one another.

Be faithful in all ways possible.

Once you are committed to a relationship, do not put yourself in a vulnerable situation wherein you will be tempted to be unfaithful to your spouse. If you are feeling sad or lonely and you allow another person to comfort you, then you are unconsciously giving that person the opportunity to be closer to you and permeate in your inner personal space. Let us always remember that we have certain boundaries and spaces that we need to enforce with other people so that we can always stay faithful to our spouses.

Discover your spouse's love language.

There are five love languages: these are words of affirmation, quality time, physical touch, acts of service, and receiving gifts. Once you know which of these (in my case, my spouse's love languages are all these) is the most important to your partner, do an effort to make him or her happy. Let us not forget that absence makes the heart grow fonder, and this may drive your spouse to look for someone to fill in the gaps which you might fail to fill in.

Always pray for your relationship.

Being married, or at least being in a relationship will not always be a walk in the park as they say. There will definitely come a time when your relationship will be tested, and it's sad that some couples cannot make amends to stay with their spouse or partner. In any given situation, whether you are happy or you are experiencing tough times, praying to God eases the burden. He will always make a way, and He will always strengthen our relationship.

Like all things, a relationship is always a work in progress. I hope and pray that God grants us all the strength and will to stay committed to our spouses or partners for as long we live and breathe.