In her book, The Good Marriage: How and Why Love Lasts, Judith Wallerstein and Sandra Blakeslee list nine tasks of marriage.
"Whether the couple is aware of it or not, they are necessarily engaged in these tasks if the marriage is on track."
Source: Judith S. Wallerstein and Sandra Blakeslee, The Good Marriage: How and Why Love Lasts, page 26.
Here is a brief explanation of Wallerstein's nine tasks of marriage and additional resources.
Nine Tasks of Marriage
Task 1. Separate yourselves emotionally from your family of origin. Doing so helps you to "invest fully" in your own marriage and redefines the "lines of connection" with both of your families. The Good Marriage, p 27.
Importance of your Family History to your Marriage
Task 2. Build togetherness with one another but create autonomy for one another at the same time. Everyone needs time and space to recharge. Your coupleness and individuality are both "central throughout the marriage." The Good Marriage, p 27.
It is Okay to Want Some Time Alone
Task 3. Protect both your privacy and time alone when you become parents. This will help you "absorb the impact" that having a baby can have on your marriage. The Good Marriage, p 27.
Parents Should Be Lovers
Task 4. Learn how to cope with crises. It is important that the two of you maintain "the strength of the bond in the face of adversity." The Good Marriage, p 27.
How to Handle a Crisis Together
Task 5. Express your differences, anger, and conflict in healthy ways. You can do this by fighting fair and creating a "safe haven." The Good Marriage, p 27.
How to Fight Fair
Task 6. Make your sexual relationship a high priority. "Protect it from the incursions of the workplace and family obligations." The Good Marriage, p 27.
A Key to Great Sex is Communication
Task 7. Laugh with one another. You can "keep things in perspective" with humor and you can "avoid boredom by sharing fun, interests, and friends." The Good Marriage, p 27.
Laughter and Humor in Your Marriage
Task 8. Encourage and support each other. It is important that the two of you "provide nurturance and comfort to each other." The Good Marriage, p 27.
Be a Supportive Spouse
Task 9. Don't forget your early romantic years. Keep those years alive "while facing the sober realities of the changes wrought by time." The Good Marriage, p 27.
Great Ways to Say I Love You