When you love someone, his or her happiness means a lot to you. If only we all could hold onto the feelings we have about being each other's best friends and lovers rather than letting the responsibilities and roles of husband and wife burden us, marriage can be bliss.
My marriage works because while we enjoy the benefits of marriage (fidelity, loyalty, devotion, partnership) we also revel in being each other's best friend and lover first. Who cares about "shoulds" and "have-to's"...I want him to enjoy each day to the fullest. I want him to have free will over his choices whether or not I "approve" or agree with them. I want to be the woman who explores and discovers the joys of this life with him. We support each other in our moments of madness, and we run away often together.
I want marriage to mean to him that he has found the one woman who will be his greatest supporter, confidante and love. Not his critic or controller. I no longer attempt to mold or change anything about him.
He does the same for me and it is profoundly gratifying to know you are loved unconditionally.
If you want a good marriage, you can work through all of the communication skill workshops but if you want a great marriage, learn to love unconditionally. So much easier.
Oh, and it doesn't hurt to laugh a lot together.