Marriages are tough. No matter how long you are married to someone and how well you think you know them, getting along, agreeing on things, and navigating life together can often prove to be a challenge.

Not only that, but the longer you live with someone, the more intimately you come to know them, the more you’re likely to realize how much more there is to know, how much depth and subtlety your spouse truly carries within them.

The difficulties of married life are constant, but the rewards — in companionship, understanding, love, and other things — can be profoundly meaningful.

To help younger and newer couples along, one Imgur user going by the handle that1guy15, who has now been married for 20 years, decided to share a few pearls of wisdom about married life, things that he referred to as “tips I have learned the hard way on how to build a strong and meaningful marriage.”

He condensed his wisdom into ten bullet points. Here they are.

Marriage Tips From a 20-Year Veteran

  1. First and foremost, marriage is a partnership. It is not about you or your egotistic desires. After all, there is another person who is tied to you, and their needs will need to be respected as well. If you have kids with your spouse, there will be more than one person involved. Hence, work on everything together.

  2. Since marriage is a partnership, you should never think about it in an adversarial way. Even if you disagree with your spouse on something, never attack them for it. Try to negotiate instead.

  3. This may be a hoary old relationship cliche, but it’s absolutely true: Communication is key. If the two of you have trouble communicating, seek out help from a professional counselor.

  1. Related to everything else mentioned so far is this; trust is key. If you cannot trust your spouse with extremely important and personal things, there is no hope for your marriage. You’ll have to establish trust together, and that means making yourselves vulnerable to one another. In any relationship, you’ll have to take a leap.

  2. If you have even a shred of honesty, you’ll admit that you aren’t perfect. And if you can’t meet the standard of perfection, then you shouldn’t expect your spouse to do so either. Be prepared to forgive mistakes.

  3. No marriage is perfect. Yours won’t be either. Be prepared to face difficulties and work through them.

  4. Don’t judge! Seriously, this is a big one.

  1. As much as you may love your spouse, the two of you may occasionally need some time apart from one another. Learn to give each other space when necessary.

  2. Sex is going to become a big issue. Occasionally, one of you will want it when the other doesn’t. And as you both get older, desire, in general, will start to lag. As important as sex is, the foundation of your marriage will have to reach beyond it.

  3. No “rule” in marriage is absolute. At best, they are all guidelines that you will have to apply or not apply — emphasize or de-emphasize — depending on your own personal knowledge of your spouse and the situation you two find yourselves in.