My father recently passed away, and when he did, my heart broke. He left behind a legacy that was filled to the brim with teaching among both students and his family members. One of the things that my father taught me was what a healthy marriage looks like.

My mother was married to my father for 37 years. They truly loved one another, and if soulmates exist, they definitely were soulmates. Nothing, even a hyper-rebellious daughter like me or the crazy world of education, could tear them apart.

As a couple, they were very unique. Though they married only a month after meeting, they defied the odds and embodied what true love looked like. They overcame struggles like moving to a different country, learning different languages, and being dirt poor just to be together. They were role models and true #goals for a marriage.

RELATED: The 50 Best Marriage Tips Of All Time (From 50 Marriage Experts)

When I started dating, I knew I wanted to have a relationship like the one they offered. But in this world, it’s highly unlikely. Around half of all marriages end in divorce.

To figure out how to save a marriage, and how I, myself, could have a shot at such a happy relationship, I decided to ask 20 couples what marriage advice they would give to people who want to make a relationship last.

Here’s what they said.

1. Never, ever settle.

“We were a match. We were considerate to each other and tried to accommodate each other. You don’t pull ultimatums and don’t do things you wouldn’t want to be done to you. We were always great to one another. Truth be told, I don’t think that I would have stayed in a marriage where we weren’t so fit for one another. Never settle on what you want in a relationship; it’s a recipe for disaster.” —My mom, married 37 years

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