Joanne Reid Rodrigues is a nutritionist and one of the UK's foremost therapists. Joanne is the founder of an internationally acclaimed weight-management and personal development programme called Slimming Together and she is the author of three books. She is a sought-after speaker and thought leader in the field of mind, body, spirit.

Joanne Reid Rodrigues and her husband Zak

Joanne Reid Rodrigues and her husband Zak

It's said that fools rush in, but where marriage is concerned, sometimes two souls just know when something is right. I married my husband fifteen weeks to the day after our first date. We were young and people thought we were mad and told us it would never last, but we've just celebrated our thirty-third anniversary. The best thing about marrying young and quickly is that our love was uncomplicated - we each had nothing so we didn't desire each other's material status. Starting out together with nothing and carving a path in life that leads to prosperity and mutual growth can create a strong bond between two people.

After all these years we still love each other and love each other's company. The success of a marriage or any relationship isn't determined by the length of time two people have been together - after all, some folks stay married simply because they haven't the courage or strength to leave - some stay for financial security. A successful marriage is determined by the trust and respect one has for the other, honest communication and truthfulness, and the tenderness they have for one another. These are the ingredients of love.

When there's a meeting of the minds and souls this is known by each one and a relationship can feel intense quickly. Whether the two choose to sign a contract of marriage or live lovingly together, the binding contract is between the two hearts, not the pen and paper. Yet even in such unions, cohabiting peacefully and prospering together is never all milk and honey. Here are ten of my tips for a successful relationship:

  1. I believe there are two types of people: Givers and Takers. Choose a partner with a generous heart. Observe how they treat disadvantaged people and how they treat animals, children, and elderly people. You'll see their true colours every time.
  2. Choose a partner who enjoys spending their downtime with you and you'll build a friendship and partnership that will last beyond the honeymoon period.
  3. Avoid power struggles - they ruin relationships.
  4. Have financial honesty and share financial responsibility. Save money - even if you can only save a little, do it regularly - make it a habit.
  5. Don't allow yourself to be controlled and don't seek to control. Freedom is the foundation on which we build loving, respectful relationships.
  6. Keep the romance alive with spontaneous gestures of affection. Snuggle up often - men crave cuddles and hand-holding as much as women.
  7. Lack of clear boundaries invites lack of respect. Set your boundaries early in the relationship and take no nonsense.
  8. Choose a partner that supports your goals and helps you flourish. Allow no one to diminish your force.
  9. Be competitive - see who can be the quickest to forgive and love the other more.
  10. Appreciation is the secret to happiness. Appreciate all you love in one another. You feed what you focus on - appreciating all that's good attracts more of it into your life.