Your Wife Wants Space! How to Handle This in a Compassionate Way

The day a man marries he’s doing so with a full heart and the very best intentions. You’d be hard pressed to find a man who recently wed who will say that he doesn’t believe his marriage will last. People just don’t take the walk down the aisle or make the emotional commitment if they don’t believe their union is going to fulfill them for a lifetime.

That’s why it’s sometimes devastating for a man when he realizes that his wife is no longer invested in the marriage the way she once was. He may panic, he may instantly assume she’s considering a divorce and he may do or say things that impact their basic bond in a very negative way. It’s important for any man in this position to understand that all marriages have a sense of ebb and flow to them.

Relationships are fluid and the dynamic shared by a couple is bound to shift as their life goals change. How you handle this will determine whether the marriage can once again find a positive place or whether the end is eventually going to be inevitable.

Determine What Your Wife is Missing From the Relationship

Before a man can set out on a course to remedy his splintering marriage, he needs to pinpoint where the problem is. You may think you understand what your wife is feeling but unless you discuss the issue of your faltering marriage with her, you won’t know for certain. Your wife may not be as willing to jump into an honest conversation about what is troubling her, but you have to make it clear to her, that your marriage is your number one priority and you’re willing to work with her to remedy the problem.

Ask her in a very calm and compassionate way why she feels space is necessary for her at this point. You must be prepared for her answer. Some women feel a need for space because their husband virtually ignores them when he comes home from work each day. Other women just miss the romance that was once there and has now been replaced with a sense of expectation and a feeling of being bored.

When your wife shares with you why she feels the need for some distance, be prepared to be hurt in an emotional sense. However, you need to view that pain from a place of positivity. Instead of dwelling on what your wife isn’t happy with in terms of you and the marriage, focus more on what you can now do to fix the issues. Knowledge is really the key to dealing with a wife who isn’t feeling satisfied within the marriage any longer.

Reinvent the Connection You and Your Wife Once Shared

It’s impossible to go back in time but there are many things a man can do to recreate the connection that once existed between him and his wife. Your lives have obviously changed in many ways since you two walked down the aisle and exchanged wedding vows. The devotion and commitment you two have for one another doesn’t have to be one of those things.

You may have already considered the idea of taking your wife out on dates. Many men think this idea is a foolish and unnecessary effort because the courting stopped when the wedding took place. It shouldn’t be that way. Your wife will undoubtedly be surprised if you suggest the idea of an evening out that resembles a date, but encourage her to embrace it.

Another great approach a married man can take if his wife is considering taking some time away from the marriage, is to suggest a weekend away just for the two of them. At first, this may seem ill-timed if your wife has one foot out the door, but it can actually be a wonderful way to regenerate a dying marriage. If you two haven’t taken the time to focus just on one another for a long time, now is the ideal time to do that.

If your wife argues that she wants less time with you, as opposed to more time, ask her to consider it as one last favor. Even if she begrudgingly agrees, the time away and the chance to reconnect as a couple may be the turning point for her. She may just come back from your excursion as committed to the marriage as you are.

Seriously Consider Your Wife’s Needs

Some women who aren’t feeling content within their marriage are convinced that some space is exactly what they need to evaluate where their life is heading. This is a scary proposition for a man who truly loves his wife and only wants a future with her.

You can’t deny what your wife wants though and if you continually try to, she’s going to become more and more disgruntled and will eventually just decide to pack her bags and leave anyways. You must listen to her and acknowledge what she feels and that means acceptance.

If she is determined to separate in an effort to gain some space from you, make certain that you have an understanding in place for when that happens. If you’re intent on saving the marriage, it may be prudent for you to agree to a short-term trial separation with the stipulation in place that she will attend couples’ counseling with you. That way you’ll both be working on the marriage even if the two of you aren’t currently living together.

It’s very hard to see any positive benefits from a separation but there are a few. Your wife may realize, once she’s taken her leave that being alone isn’t what she wants at all. In life we sometimes believe that things will be remarkably better if we make a change, only to realize we are wrong once we’ve taken the plunge. In addition, have a break from your marriage will put the focus squarely on the issues that have torn you two apart. It’s an ideal chance for the two of you to address them in an honest, open and productive way.

Do Extramarital Affairs Have an Impact on Divorce?

Yes! Extramarital affairs have a great impact on divorce.

  • Divorce petitioned on this ground is affected by the time duration factor. The petitioner should seek divorce within six months of discovering the affair. The undue delay indicates that the victimised spouse has accepted the affair.
  • Extramarital affairs either lead to a very quick divorce or create an extremely lengthy proceeding. If the marital spouse consents, divorce is almost instantaneous. But great delay occurs if the divorce gets contested and the petitioner names the co-respondent (the person with whom the affair took place.)
  • Extramarital affairs lead to a divorce in which mediation plays no role. The victimised spouse is often angry and amicable settlements are not possible in such a situation. The guilty spouse accepts all the terms and conditions. Acceptance is either due to feelings of guilt or the hurry to get remarried.
  • Divorce is granted immediately but the courts require plenty of supportive evidence of the affair.

If you ever need any help with fixing your marriage, I would suggest you take a look at this video (opens in a new tab):

The ultimate couples guide to a perfect marriage by Lee H. Baucom, Ph.D.

Who is more likely to have an Affair – a Man or a Woman or Both?

Statistics claim that men commit adultery more. They outnumber women by 20%. However, no such distinction in numbers exists in extramarital affairs indulged in, by the younger generation.

Should Couples Seek Divorce due to Extramarital Affairs?

Is divorce an answer to extramarital affairs? This is a question that can be variedly answered. It depends on the reasons for which the wronged spouse is seeking a divorce. The very reasons for which the guilty spouse has committed the affair also determine the necessity of a divorce.

Reasons for Divorce

  • The reason for divorcing the offending partner should be clearly defined. If the innocent spouse is divorcing out of rage, then a second thought is necessary. Adulterous affairs do not last long. The spouse gone astray should be given a chance to rectify past mistakes.
  • If the decision to divorce is based on a desire to set the partner free, then a divorce is not necessary at all. Surveys prove that divorced people rarely marry their lovers. And if they do marry these marriages fail to last long. Probably, the guilt factor and the general mistrust in the institution of marriage play their role.

Reasons for the Affair

  • If a spouse has had an affair for the first time, it can be ignored. Habitual cheaters should be compulsorily divorced.
  • But survey results point out that people commit adultery not for the love of sex. Their extramarital affairs are a proclamation of the lack of intimacy in their marriage. It is this deprivation that leads them to seek intimacy outside marriage. Such couples should not divorce. Rather they should work at strengthening the marital bond.
  • Usually, people have an affair thinking that they love their spouse in spite of the affair. But this is a misconception. Such erring adults should be made to realise that if they loved their spouse they would not have committed adultery.
  • Some men also feel that their partners are no longer attractive.

Marital partners having affairs that transcend marital boundaries for the last two reasons mentioned above should be divorced. Such marriages have lost their sheen.

Does the Seriousness of the Affair Determine a Divorce?

Divorce is not an answer for extramarital affairs. But, by having an affair, the spouse has deprived the innocent party of the time and energy that are required to make a success of the marriage.

Men and women univocally expect their spouse to be emotionally dependable. Marriages last if these needs are met. Majority of the affairs are a result of unmet emotional needs.

Some people have come to believe that the human race is not monogamous. This is a concept that cannot be morally justified. Extramarital affairs only occur when marriages lose their warmth.

If couples make a sincere effort, marriages are bound to last long.

Zen Human Design charts
At the top center is the prominent image of the body graph.
The Body Graph
The body graph is the integrative field where the results of the database calculations are made visible. Each of the 64 hexagrams has a place in one of the body graph’s nine centers, called a gate. Pairs of gates connect centers through channels.
The Database
The database is the area of dates, times and numbers below the body graph (the central image) of a chart. It contains the calculations based on someone’s birth data.
The black Personality row displays date, time and place of birth and the planetary positions at that time indexed into the hexagrams and lines of the I Ching. This is a person’s conscious potential.
The pink Design row displays date and time of the Personality crystal (the I) entering the fetus, 88° of the Sun before birth, when the body is ready for consciousness. The planetary positions at that time are also indexed into the hexagrams and lines of the I Ching. This is someone’s unconscious potential.
The results of the Design calculation are transferred to the body graph by coloring half of the channel pink. The Personality calculations are transferred the same way in black. Personality and Design together result in pink/black stripes.
The crystals inform nine centers, hubs of awareness, information and energy throughout the body. They equal the seven chakras plus two whole-body awareness fields. Experientially known to us all, these represent the major nerve plexi in our own bodies.
Four of the centers are motors, energy hubs.
Head With only three gates, the Head center provides mental pressure and inspiration.
Ajna The mental awareness center conceptualizes thought.
Throat Communication, expression, action and manifestation are the Throat’s attributes.
Ji The seat of the Magnetic Monopole is the center of identity, direction and love.
Spleen This awareness in the Now is body con­sciousness, the immune system and well­-being.
Heart Motor. Material support, ego, will, courage, loyalty and competitiveness are its themes.
Solar Plexus Motor. The emotional energy in human life is emerging as an awareness.
Sacral Motor. The generating power of the Sacral center is vitality, sexuality, chi and life force.
Root Motor. Survival is the theme of the Root, the driving force of all life processes.
Centers interact and exchange information through the 36 channels. Channels are transforming agents, connecting the qualities of the centers involved into a distinct unit through which that information operates.
At both ends of a channel, at the junctions in the centers, are 64 gates. They correlate with the hexagrams of the Chinese I Ching and the math of the genetic code. When planets transit, they activate the gates in the body graph. The states of the gates at the moment of birth are the imprint that constitutes an individual human Design.
The 64 hexagrams of the I Ching are the maximum combinations of eight trigrams with each other. They describe the archetypes of experience, the attributes, experiences and pitfalls of human life. For thousands of years, its wisdom and guidance have been used for advice and comfort, warning or assurance. It encourages an approach of mindfulness of the individual, as it relates to family, community, state and God.
When planets activate gates at both ends of a channel, the entire channel is colored. This defines the two centers it connects and is called definition. Definitions operate consistently in the life according to the planets, gates, channels and centers involved.
The white, open areas in the body graph are the conditioning field, where people are attracted to and interact with others, learn their life lessons, gain expertise and wisdom, but also where protective defenses are built and habits maintained.
Definition Types
In the chart, definitions can be split from each other or connect. There are five possible configurations:
No definition No colored centers.
Single definition One or more channels continuously connected.
Split definition Two areas of definition separated from each other.
Triple split Three areas of definition.
Quadruple split Four areas of definition.
The Modes
Four of the centers are motors, energy centers. When a motor is defined and connected to the Throat through a continuous definition, the person can do. The energy is always available and can express itself.
If the Throat center is undefined or defined but not connected to a motor, then the person must wait for connections with other people or transiting planets that will enable access to action.
There’s only one type of Design with a mode to do, but three types with modes to wait. The two modes, to do and to wait, are further described as four basic types, identified by how the centers are colored and connect:
Reflectors have no definition at all. They reflect who they are with and mirror other peoples’ qualities. All people have Reflector aspects in their Designs (everything that’s white in the body graph). A Design to wait.
Projectors have definition, an undefined Sacral center and no motor to Throat definition. A Design to wait.
Generators have a defined Sacral center. Without a connection to the Throat, this is a Design to wait. With a connection to the Throat, this is a Design to do, a manifesting generator.
Manifestors have a continuous definition from one or more of the four motors (Root, Sacral, Solar Plexus, Heart) to the Throat center. This is a Design to do.
Split definitions can have more than one type at the same time.
Uranus Opposition
At about age 40, a life shifts from the themes of the South Nodes to the themes of the North Nodes, from inhaling to exhaling. It is often experienced as a time of change and even the midlife crisis.
These details become more important after you’re very familiar with your own chart but are introduced so you can reference why your chart summary is the way it is, You don’t need to get it all at once. Start with doing or waiting! Sounds easy but it’s profound.

Zen and the Art of Breathing

It is no coincidence that the archer has always been associated with Zen. Archery is used in sport, in war, for hunting, for survival, for self-mastery, and simply for enjoyment. And so is the breath! The force that builds up in the bow as you draw it back is like the force that builds up in your body as you inhale. The force that is released when the arrow flies is like the force that is released when you exhale.
Drawing the bow back and aiming the arrow requires a combination of sharp mental focus and powerful physical dynamics (as does conscious breathing). In both archery and breathwork, there is that moment of full intensity and complete focus of mind and body… Everything comes to a peak, to a head, as the bow is flexed and the target comes into alignment. (In conscious breathing that point is between the inhale and the exhale.)
If there is balance and coordination, focus and commitment, power and grace, the merging of dynamic energy and calm stillness… then there is that magical moment. The moment when all the work is done and there is nothing left to do… except to let go! In that moment of “let go” or surrender, the Zen breather falls into their center; they return for a moment to the eternal source within.
In that moment of letting go, there is no body, there is no mind. There is no object and no subject. In a flash, we merge yin and yang. We take a quantum dimensional leap. We go from full active dynamic physical tension and mental focus, to total open relaxation and total surrender. For a moment, we consciously merge with existence. There is no thinking, and there is no doing. No effort, no struggle. No ego.
With the release of the bowstring, the arrow takes flight… the future is set in motion. In that moment with nothing more to do or to know… we simply drop into “Samadhi” where there is only pure consciousness and bliss.
If the arrow hits the target, there is the celebration of perfection and there is natural ecstasy! If it misses the mark, pure awareness reveals what adjustment is needed, and so there is the joy of realization, of perfection and there is natural ecstasy!
Pulling the inhale in is like drawing the bow back. Setting the exhale free is like letting the arrow fly. The game is to fully involve the body and to single-pointedly focus the mind. Breathe like this again and again and create an intention. Use each breath to build up force and focus around a chosen intention, then let go and simply fall free… into the moment, into the Self.
With the exhale we can be the arrow flying off into the distance, tracking a long arc through the cosmos. We can send arrows of love to people and places in the world that need it. Or the exhale can be a ray of light bursting forth, leaving its source, and landing in another place, another time, or another level of existence… the next higher level of being.
I also use the image or the analogy of pulling the lever on a trap door. When we let go and release the exhale, it’s like pulling a lever and the door flies open. We fall into ourselves, letting go of all desire, all effort, all thought… we drop into our center… into silence and stillness. When we breathe again, we bring some of this peace and stillness up from within ourselves and out into the world.
Breathe in consciously, feeling the actual physical sensations of expansion, from side to side, front to back, top to bottom: you are the bow. When you reach the point of fullness, enjoy the gentle feelings of expansion and stretching. Then in a flash, release the breath. Set the exhale free. Let the breath pour out of you quickly and completely: you are the arrow.
Do this again and again… each time as if it is the first time. Be like a child. Don’t try to achieve anything. Success or failure is the same… it makes no difference. Life is as it is, in you, around you, as you! You are now practicing Zen and the Art of Breathing!
Zen breathing raises the odds of our liberation exponentially. At some point in the practice, it becomes almost impossible not to experience a moment of “Samadhi!” And once we touch that place, there is no forgetting, there is no going back! And if we don’t touch this place, then at least we learn what is in our way, what is holding us back, or what needs to be done to live from this place in each moment.
Within the cycle of one breath, we can reflect or express our soul’s entire life’s journey. Maybe that is why the ancient yogi’s say that one hour of Kriya Yoga (Zen Breathing) can result in more evolution than several lifetimes of re-incarnation!
Be warned: this path is the path of fire and light. It is not for the weak minded or for the faint hearted. It is not for those who resist growth and transformation, and not for those who cling to the illusion of separateness, or who insist on identifying with the ego or the reactive mind.
At my seminars, we build on this technique. We play with being the arrow, and we play with making the arrow our intention. It is an extraordinary experience to feel everything change in a flash!
We realize that no matter what has happened up to this moment, the next moment can lead you anywhere, to anything! Issues, challenges, problems you thought would require a long and difficult process to clear, simply dissolve! You find yourself in the midst of a beautiful, endless space of peace and love and freedom! With practice, you find that you can clear negativity or pain quickly and easily when is it is activated or triggered in you.
Those who become experts at this technique find that they can shift out of any uncomfortable or negative state at will. When pain from the past takes control of your life energy, you can liberate yourself in a moment! I invite you to practice this technique, and become one of the Un-stunned Heroes of the Spiritual Revolution!
For more information about breathwork, visit Subscribe to the monthly breath and breathing reports, and download your free copy of the e-book: Introduction to breathwork. Email Dan with your questions and comments:

You’re Married to an Alcoholic: What to Do? What to Do?

Being married to a functioning alcoholic can cause many problems in a family. Tens of thousands of families in North America alone are struggling with this issue.
A drinking problem can begin in many ways. For some people it begins with social drinking. Social drinking can gradually deteriorate into alcohol abuse and eventually into alcohol dependence. The drinking became a habit and the habit became alcohol dependence or alcoholism. It matters not whether the alcohol is in the form of beer, wine or hard liquor. Alcohol is alcohol in any shape or form.
Now your partner has shifted from enjoying a drink to compulsively needing alcohol to feel okay. And you may have shifted from being giving and caring to being addicted to your partner’s care. Compulsive caretaking often grows alongside the deteriorating self-care of the compulsive drinker.
If the alcoholic has more or less continued to hold down a job, he is politely called a “functioning alcoholic.” But he is an alcoholic nonetheless. He works a great deal below his potential, he neglects or abuses his family and he may not live very long if he continues the self-abuse.
Like all addicts, he lies (bold faced lies, lies of omission, cover-ups, and minimization), he makes excuses, he blames others for his drinking, and he continues to seek out and use alcohol despite the consequences.
If there are children present, they copy the lying, justifying, blaming behavior which they see modeled. They also learn to keep family secrets and to cover for their alcoholic parent. In other words they join in the “dance of alcohol” and participate with their parents, learning how to be alcoholics or how to live with them when they grow up.
If you are an alcoholic and you are in a marriage, you may have to leave your drinking behind completely in order to gain any hope of reversing the progressive damage your alcoholism is inflicting on yourself and your family.
If you are living with a functioning alcoholic, there are steps you can take too. Perhaps more importantly at first, there are things you can learn to avoid so that you don’t further your partner’s alcoholism. Making excuses for him, for example, only makes things worse. You don’t want to be an enabler or a rescuer.
The Alcoholism Test
Over the years in my psychology practice many women have started their first session with “My husband is a functioning alcoholic.” In the last few days alone two more women took the The Alcoholism Test and left a comment opening with “My husband is a functioning alcoholic.” I seldom see or hear the statement without also sensing an undertone of desperation and frustration, as if to say, I didn’t bargain for this when we got married.
Whether you are a man or a woman, your hope begins with the first step of educating yourself about the alcohol abuse. Like all personal change, it starts with you. Are you ready to take that step?

We have been engaged in marriage research for nearly three decades around the world and have never been asked this question until recently – Are there words or phrases you listen for when you interview the best marriages around the world? This is a great question and we are delighted to share the answer with our thousands of loyal readers around the world.
Over the course of our many, many interviews with successfully married couples on six of the world’s seven continents (Number 7, Antarctica, is coming up in January 2012!), we have discovered SEVEN pervasive characteristics that describe and permeate the best marriage relationships.

So when we were recently asked this question on our swing through the Miami area to interview successfully married couples, we choose to answer it based on our discovery of how the best marriages are described in our research.

The most successfully married couples (longevity plus measured happiness according to our marriage interview protocol) use specific words and phases as they talk about their relationship with each other. Here is the important lesson for our readers – if you and your mate do not routinely use these words and phrases in your marriage, you need to take a long, hard look at where your relationship is and where it is going.

Here we go, the words and descriptors of the best marriages:

1. It Takes Two To Tango – In successful marriages, two become one in so many positive and important ways without losing their individual identities. The best marriages have discovered that it is not about you and me, it is about us, our, and we! It is not about I and me, and yours. The most important seven words and phases used within this context by successfully married couples are: We, us, our, together, we are a team, we are like one, we cannot imagine life without each other.

2. No Sacred Cows – In successful marriages, couples talk about anything and everything. There are no sacred cows – no secrets. In the best marriages you hear these words and phases: Truthfulness, confidant, we never worry about betrayal, we know nearly everything about each other, we are the keepers of each other’s deepest and darkest secrets, we trust each other with our respective lives and sacred honor.

3. The Golden Rule – In successful marriages, couples understand that you do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Successful love and marriage is about mutual love and respect. In the best marriages you hear these six words and phrases the most when it comes to The Golden Rule: Mutual respect, admiration, we repeatedly engage in acts of kindness towards each other; we do nice things for each other with no expectation of something in return; we each other’s needs and wants; we say thank you and please; we open doors for each other. Successfully married couples do all these things automatically, without ever thinking about it. They are habitual.

4. Your Body Is Your Castle – In successful marriages, couples understand that taking care of yourself in a health sense is not sufficient. You must also promote health in your spouse. To live until death do us part requires a mutual concern about good health. Here are the words and phrases they use: Health, fitness, exercise, vitamins, salads, taking annual physical exams on the same day; we worry about what each other eats; we remind each other to take your medicine; we take long walks and exercise together; whenever possible we shop for food together!

5. Filing a Joint Return – In successful marriage, it is not YOUR money and MY money. It is OUR money. Here are the words and phrases they use: Our financial goals, joint finances (no separate checking accounts), joint decision making, we talk before we buy big items, our house, our bills, we look for bargains, and we live within our means.

6. The Loving Touch – In successful marriages, touching each other multiple times per day is the norm. Their mantra is, I love you so much I must touch you. The best married couples cannot keep their hands off each other! And that’s a good thing. They tell us that: We love to hug; we have great sex when the time is right for us; our hands will always find each other whereever we are; we touch each other often in a day; touching acknowledges the presence of each other and reminds us of our love for each other; our hands communicate private and loving messages to each other – it is our private Morse Code. Touching communicates warmth, caring, friendship, love, and understanding.

7. Beyond Boring – In successful marriages, love is characterized by the notions of variety and spice. Successful marriages are exciting, never boring, and full of unpredictable things. Don’t always do that which is predictable. Upend expectacies. Variety is the spice of life! The best marriages use words and phrases like: Fun, adventure, surprise, romance, always finding something to do together, we never get bored with each other, we are each other’s best friends, we do our best to keep our romance alive even during trying or challenging times, we are passionate about each other; we are each other’s best company. In the best marriages, boredom is not an option!

You see, the words and phrases you use tell a lot about your marriage. If you don’t hear these words and phrases in your marriage and relationship, it is clear you have some work to do. Get started today before it’s too late to form the habits that communicate love.
In love and marriage, simple words and phrases mean a lot!

Will Your Next Marriage be Better?

It’s time for me to move on. I’ve learned so much – I just know that next time it will be better.
Our new relationship has a great chance, because we’ve both been married before and have learned a lot. We know that this time around we will do it so much better.
Is this true? Apparently not!
According to research by Jennifer Baker, of the Forest Institute of Professional Psychology in Springfield, Missouri, while 50% of first marriages end in divorce, 67% of second marriages and 74% of third marriages end in divorce.
Is this surprising?
From my experience, most people who end their marriages have not learned what they need to learn, so they take their same fears and insecurities, and their resulting controlling and self-abandoning behaviors, with them into their second and third marriages. Of course, eventually they create the same or similar relationship system.
Most people who leave marriages believe that the problem is mostly their partner. But relationships are systems, with both people participating in the system. If you are not aware of the overt and subtle ways you control and abandon yourself in your relationship, then you will take all your wounded behaviors with you into your next relationship.
The thing is, we keep attracting the same kind of person, as long as we are the same kind of person.
I’ve long maintained that leaving a marriage before you have dealt with your own controlling and self-abandoning behaviors is often a waste of time (unless you are in physical and emotional danger). Now the research on marriage proves this to be true. If partners were devoted to healing their controlling, self-abandoning wounded selves, the divorce statistics would go way down – for first, second and third marriages.
The Real Issue Behind These Statistics
Self-abandonment leads to trying to control your partner into giving you the attention and approval you are not giving to yourself. There is little possibility of sharing love, fun, and passion with your partner when your intent is to have control over getting love and to avoid both the pain of your own self-abandonment, and the inevitable loneliness and heartache that exist in all relationships to varying degrees. Until your intent changes from protecting/controlling to learning to love yourself and sharing your love with your partner, you will keep creating the same relationship dynamics over and over.
Ryan consulted with me because the love of his life – the woman he thought he would spend the rest of his life with, left him after an intense six-month courtship. Both Ryan and Roz had been married before. In fact, Ron had been married three times before. Both in their early 60s, their relationship seemed made in heaven. They could laugh and play together, and the chemistry between them was intense.
Roz was a giver, who had learned to give everything in relationships – and would then feel engulfed and trapped. Ryan was a taker, and was so enthralled by Roz’s giving that it didn’t take him long to completely abandon responsibility for his feelings and wellbeing, making Roz responsible for him.
Roz, not knowing how to articulate her feelings of engulfment, or how to take loving care of herself in the face of Ryan’s pull on her, abruptly ended the relationship. That’s when Ryan called.
The point here is that neither Ryan nor Roz had dealt with their wounded selves. Both were abandoning themselves and, in different ways, trying to have control over getting love and avoiding pain. Their relationship was fantastic at the beginning, before their wounded selves got triggered. It’s sad that Roz wasn’t willing to work on her end of the relationship system, and it’s hopeful that Ryan, now working on his, will heal enough so that he won’t repeat this system again.

Will Sex Save Your Marriage?

By America’s #1 Love and Marriage Experts.
We thought we had heard everything until this!
We heard recently that the Reverend Ed Young of the Fellowship Church in Grapevine, Texas told his congregation during a Sunday worship service that he wanted married couples in his congregation to have sex all week long. He says that God may have rested on the seventh day, but he wanted married couples in his church to have sex every day for a week!
He apparently delivered his sermon while sitting on a bed in front of the altar. In these days of financial crisis, debates over same-sex marriage, and the like, it’s time, he said, to turn the “whining” into “whoopee.”
The question is, where do you start with debunking such a ridiculous notion. Let us count the ways!
For starters, we all know that good sex can be fun, romantic, exciting, and something that makes most consenting adults feel warm and fuzzy all over. Over the years we have interviewed thousands of successfully married couples and most report a reasonable degree of satisfaction with their sex life. But here is our most important research finding concerning this issue – no marriage was ever saved or made successful because the couple had a great sex life!
And more importantly, when we ask successfully marriage couples how important sex is to the success of their marriage – to rank on a scale of 1-10 with 10 high – the average rank was 6, hardly a resounding endorsement for the importance of sex in a marriage. This finding has held true over the 26 years of our research.
You see, marriage is a multi-faceted relationship, and in the best marriages no one aspect stands out as the make or break part of it. The truth is, and as we report in our new book Building A Love That Lasts there are seven pervasive characteristics present in all successful marriages. And guess what, sex is not one of them! Sex is only a part of one of the seven characteristics and that is reported in the chapter of our book we labeled, The Loving Touch.
As we say so often in our many interviews and writings, all of the married couples representing the best marriages we have interviewed have shared with us the importance of touching in their relationship. One gentleman we interviewed told us that if he passed his wife in the house a hundred times a day, he touched her. To touch someone you love is to acknowledge their presence and to communicate your love for them. That’s why the most successfully married couples amongst us do it so often.
In our humble opinion, Reverend Young’s charge to his congregation to have sex seven days next week not only cheapens the importance of healthy and positive sex with someone you love, but it also reinforces the silliness that great sex will save your marriage – that sex is the centerpiece of all good marriages.
As you know from our many writings, we believe that the overemphasis on sex in books about love and marriage cause people to believe that if they don’t have stupendous sex everyday there is something wrong with their marriage. Trust us on this – marriages that fail do so for a variety of reasons and not for a single reason.
We are sure the good Reverend is well intentioned with his challenge to his congregation, but we believe his advice is misguided as it once again overemphasizes the importance of sex in marriage. To single out sex is to blow its importance entirely out of proportion to its relevance to a great marriage. We wish people would stop doing that!
In our chapter about The Loving Touch, we report many first hand accounts from successfully married couples who report how important the human touch is to a loving marriage. They hug each other often, the kiss, they touch each other while talking, they sit cheek to cheek on the couch while having a conversation, they curl around each other when they sleep or just gaze at the stars, and yes, they have sex from time to time – when it’s right for them and not forced by some arbitrary have sex everyday rule!
You see, people touch each other in many, many different ways and no single form of touching wins the day. It’s what we like to call the accumulation of touching that matters. Touch the one you love often and in whatever way your heart desires. It’s that human connection that wins the day – and wins the marriage! The simple truth is, the best marriages engage in a lot of touching, sex is only one of them.
Simple Things Matter in love and marriage. Love well!
By Dr. Charles D. Schmitz and Dr. Elizabeth A. Schmitz
Authors of the best-selling book and multiple-award winning book Building a Love that Lasts: The Seven Surprising Secrets of Successful Marriage (Jossey-Bass/Wiley 2010) Available wherever books are sold.
Winner of the INDIE Book Awards GOLD Medal for Best Relationship Book
Winner of the 2009 Mom’s Choice Awards GOLD Medal for Most Outstanding Relationships and Marriage Book
2009 Nautilus Book Awards Winner for Relationships

Why do Some Find it Difficult to Make a Commitment to Love?

By America’s #1 Love and Marriage Experts.
Falling in love with another human being is easy, but making a commitment to love them forever is up in the air for many people. We like the term up in the air from the movie title for a whole bunch of reasons, primarily because it aptly describes the struggles so many folks go through when it comes to making a commitment to love somebody for a lifetime.
Up in the Air certainly reminds us all of the difficulty of making commitments when it comes to love. And it illustrates once again how difficult it is to make honest commitments that last a lifetime.
Let’s face it; many people are afraid to make commitments when it comes to love and marriage! Heck, we live in a disposable world – where it is easy to have one night stands and avoid commitment to those we fall in love with, if even for a night.
But you know what – lots of people do fall in love. Lots of people make a commitment to love through sickness and in health ‘til death do us part – and mean it! Most who make this commitment feel honor-bound by the commitments they make! Lots of people fall in love for a lifetime. Honestly, there is nothing unusual about that.
Here is the question of the day – why do some find it so difficult to make a commitment to love?
We have studied successful marriages around the world for nearly 27 years. The successfully married couples we have interviewed have shared many stories with us about their commitment to each other. They have described how they formed a commitment to each other – how they decided once and for all how much they loved each other and how they would spend their lives together.
So what are the steps along the journey to love and commitment? How do those up in the air notions about love and commitment manifest themselves in real relationships? Here is what we have found, in a nutshell.
1. A Chinese philosopher, Lao Tzu, once said, Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage. We think he has it right. It is not enough to be deeply loved, as you must reciprocate profound love as well before a lifetime of commitment can be made. Having strength without courage is much like the cowardly lion in the Wizard of Oz – only when he committed to being courageous could he use his strength effectively. Successful marriage is a lot like that we think.
2. Friedrich Nietzsche once posited the notion that unhappy marriages are not caused by a lack of love, but by a lack of friendship. Nothing truer has ever been spoken about successful marriage. You see, the person you commit to must, first and foremost, be your best friend. You cannot make a lifetime commitment to someone you only love. Lifetime commitments are made to those we consider our best friends! When we ask successfully married couples who their best friend is they almost always say the name of their spouse.
3. If you wait to make a commitment until you have no doubts, it will never happen. One of our favorite quotes is by Rollo May. When we were in graduate school studying the field of counseling we got a lot of exposure to him and we love most of what he has written, especially this – The relationship between commitment and doubt is by no means an antagonistic one. Commitment is healthiest when it is not without doubt but in spite of doubt. Simply stated, if you think there will ever be a moment in a budding relationship when you will say, I have no doubts about him/her so I am willing to make the lifetime commitment – well, forget it! Not going to happen. If you wait for that moment to come you will never make the commitment to love anyone for a lifetime.
4. Making a commitment to another human being for a lifetime also requires your resolve to make, as Alfred Adler says, an unalterable decision. Adler goes on to say that . . . real examples of love and real marriages . . . do not allow . . . men or women (to) contemplate an escape. In none of the serious and important tasks of life do we arrange such a ‘getaway.’” Someone who wants a successful marriage cannot promise a lifetime of commitment to someone they purport to love while plotting an escape at the same time. A true commitment is unalterable!
5. And finally, remember this about commitment — it is NOT an on again, off again proposition. Commitment to someone whom you love and consider your best friend can’t be here today and gone tomorrow. In the best marriages there is a consistency to commitment. Love and friendship can run hot and cold from time to time, but the commitment to the one you love must be an everyday thing. Commitment is forever; it is not up in the air.
Simple Things Matter in love and marriage. Love well!
By Dr. Charles D. Schmitz and Dr. Elizabeth A. Schmitz
Authors of the best-selling book and multiple-award winning book Building a Love that Lasts: The Seven Surprising Secrets of Successful Marriage (Jossey-Bass/Wiley 2010). Available wherever books are sold. Learn more about America’s #1 Love and Marriage Experts

When Is a Marriage Beyond Help?

One time in a land far away a client asked me if I could help her save her 15-year marriage. Her husband was threatening to leave her, was stonewalling and was generally emotionally cold, but she said he was willing to see me. I worked with him for several months, and they stayed together.
However, one day a year later as I was preparing to leave the community, she approached me, very troubled. This is what she said: You’ve turned my husband into everything I ever wanted in a husband. But I don’t want to be with him.
What happened? What was really going on was that she did not want to be in the marriage, but couldn’t face that reality. Instead she perceived the problem to be with her husband. It took positive changes in him for her to realize the deeper issue was hers, not his.
When a long-term committed relationship is deteriorating, there is typically a lot of guilt, shame, anger and resentment. Enter the big-four marriage-enders: contempt, criticism (blame), stonewalling and defensiveness. Often alcohol abuse enters the picture. Sometimes there is bullying and violence.
What is the fail point in a deteriorating marriage? When is a marriage beyond help? The underlying issue often turns out to be that one or both parties do not want to be in the marriage.
Marriage is a big commitment, and most people try hard to keep their commitments. The private I don’t want to be here, and the public until death do us part are in deep conflict.
Consequently, one or both parties can’t face their own desire for it to be over. Using whatever means they can come up with, they bring it to a head, thereby allowing them to blame their partner for deciding to end the marriage. They may use bullying, violence, alcohol abuse, cheating, high-risk behavior like speeding while intoxicated – anything that will force their partner to make the decision.
So if you are concerned about the health of your marriage and want help, it’s time for each of you to take a long honest look at what you want. Can you see a future with your partner… for both of you? If you can’t think this through on your own, get appropriate professional help in gaining some clarity. Do nothing until you can make a calm, clear decision to end it or recommit, and then act on that decision with respect, dignity and care.
Facing your own wants and needs, at a deeper level, can save you and your partner a mountain of hurt whether you stay…or part.

When Dating for Marriage it’s Values, Values, Values!

Perhaps you have heard that in business it’s all about location, location, location! However, this dating coach believes that for relationships, it’s all about values, values and values! What do I mean about values? Let me explain:
Your values are what you treasure. It’s what you hold dear. When your values are not aligned with someone or something, you will feel discourse and out of sorts. I can’t stress how important it is to have a list with a detailed description of your values so you can adjust your love radar connection in the right direction.
As a dating coach I have observed for many of my clients that their love connection radar is off and they are choosing the inappropriate people to date based upon the wrong criteria. When you adjust your love connection radar through your values, you will make better choices for yourself and you will recognize a good potential mate sooner than later.
So how do your values help you with finding that special person? Let me share with you this dating coach’s 3 Step Motivated to Marry Dating Secrets System:

* First CLARIFY WHO would be a good match for you.
Once you have a detailed description list of your values written out, then you have to figure out which ones are your PERSONAL VALUES and which are your RELATIONSHIP VALUES. Your RELATIONSHIP VALUES need to be aligned with your life partner and your PERSONAL VALUES need to be supported by your partner.
* Next FOCUS on WHERE to go to find people who share your core RELATIONSHIP VALUES.
You will be able to figure out where you are going to meet people who share your values? You will find that you will connect with people because you share similar values. For instance, if you have a value around giving back to your community, you may find singles’ volunteer opportunities so you can meet other single people who feel the same desire. Also, it’s important to express your values in your online dating profile so you will attract the right people to your profile! Moreover, you can tell the connectors in your life WHO you are looking for based upon these RELATIONSHIP VALUES so they can easily think about who they know to introduce you to that would be a great match.
* Last, your RELATIONSIP VALUES will SOLIDIFY your CONNECTION to your romantic partner.
By honoring your CORE RELATIONSHIP values, you have the glue that will keep you together during the ups and downs of a relationship. When you share and support one another’s values, you both get one another and find that you have an appreciative, supportive, respectful and caring partner. This will give you the best chance for your future happiness in your romantic love partnership. By disregarding your RELATIONSHIP VALUES you are missing the one thing that can make dating easier so you can determine who is a good fit, as well as, a way to kindly pass on those who don’t share your core VALUES.
What criteria are you utilizing to evaluate a potential mate for continued dating? This curious dating coach would like to know!
Coach Amy
PS. If you would like to learn more about how to utilize your values to find and solidify true love, go to and let’s talk about how we can best uncover your PERSONAL and RELATIONSHIP VALUES in support of your quest to find your Motivated to Marry Mate!

When A Good Woman Marries A Bad Man

By America’s #1 Love and Marriage Experts.
We are eternal optimists – make no mistake about that! With us, glasses are always half full, not half empty. The sun is always shining where we live! We are eternally hopeful that tomorrow will be a brighter day – and it usually is! We love life and are excited to get out of bed every morning. For us, every day is a joyful experience. We hope you spend most of your time feeling the same way.
Frankly, it is hard for us to think negatively about any aspect of our life and our existence. Over the years we have been accused of seeing a pot of gold at the end of every rainbow. And when you think about it, our view of the world is not a bad way to be. Our mothers always told us that being positive is a virtue and not a vice.
But in all honesty, in our collective hearts, we recognize that all things are not possible. We know that things don’t always work out for the best. And, we have to admit from time to time that there are some bad people out there. Sometimes, we have to acknowledge that life is not always fair, just, and beautiful. Sometimes, life deals you a dirty hand! Sometimes, good women like you marry bad men.
The truth is, some really, really wonderful women marry some really, really bad men. So what are the taletell signs of a bad man? How will you know when you have found the man that you cannot fix? How will you recognize the man that you should stay away from? How will you know when you should run down the street in the opposite direction of the way he is running? The answers are more simple than you think.
First, let’s talk about the categories these bad men fall into – and there are many.
There are men who physically abuse their wives. There are men who mentally abuse their wives. And, as many women know, there are men who physically and mentally abuse their children. And the list of abuse goes on.
Most of the abuse is not so obvious as the aforementioned. Most forms of abuse are subtle. They are hard to notice. There are no obvious telltale signs. These forms of abuse include men who treat their wives like slaves – get me this or get me that – a recurring and constant theme among these abusers.
Then, there are those that show amazing and considerable disrespect for their wife. They belittle them. They make sure their wife gets served after they do at a restaurant! They make sure their wife knows she is incompetent. These husbands make sure their wife understands that her place in life is to serve him. Some men simply suffocate their spouse by controlling their every behavior.
And now you know, spousal abuse is often obvious and, more often, is subtle – the kind that leaves no marks.
So what do the sufferers of this kind of subtle abuse do to protect themselves and their children? The answers are many, but here are the most obvious and recurring ones:
1. You can’t fix him! If the behavior your husband or significant other is exhibiting is of a recurring abusive nature like we have described above, you must understand – you can’t fix him! If you witnessed these behaviors before you got married, you should have paid more attention. So many women fall into the trap of thinking they can take a man with bad behaviors and fix him after they are married. While nurturance is an admirable characteristic, don’t believe that you can change these kinds of abusive behaviors because you love him and are emotionally attached to him.
2. Don’t be fooled. Human beings display pervasive behaviors – those recurring patterns of thought and behavior that tell us how a person will behave in a given situation. Pervasive behaviors in a person are predictable. If a person acts a certain way over and over – those behaviors are pervasive. Those recurring behaviors reflect who they are as a person. The truth is, they are what they are. Don’t be fooled.
3. If you have children, protect them above all else! Your children are so very important to you. You love them in so many ways. You brought them into this world. You take care of them. You nurture them. And above all else, you will protect them to the ends of the Earth. The abusive behaviors he shows towards you will, or have been, shown towards your children. If his pervasive behaviors ring true insofar as your relationship with him is concerned, expect the same behaviors towards your children. Protect them from him. Expect his abuse of them as well.
4. Be strong and take the action you know you must take. Sometimes, you need to take the actions required to save yourself and your children. While we have studied successful marriage and relationships for some 26 years, and are committed to making marriages work, we always say this – most marriages are worth saving, but not all! Sometimes, you have to walk away from your marriage. Sometimes, you need to start over. Often times, you must do what is best for you and your children before it is too late. Continuing in an abusive relationship, subtle or otherwise, is not smart. Sometimes, it is smart to just walk away.
5. You can’t do it alone! You will need wise counsel as well as support groups to help you make it through these trials and tribulations. Don’t be a martyr. There are many out there like you. Seek their help. Seek their support. And above all, seek their advice. Going it alone will not serve you or your children well. If you have the added benefit of supportive parents, ask for their support because you know you can count on them.
Sometimes, good women marry bad men. The truth is no more simple than that. You can accept this fate or do something about it. When you marry a bad man you, like many before you, should muster the strength to do what is in your best interests and in the best interests of your family.
Simple things matter in love and marriage. Love well!
Enjoy receiving our new hardback book Simple Things Matter in Love and Marriage at no cost with the purchase of our hardback book Golden Anniversaries: The Seven Secrets of Successful Marriage with the publishers’ closeout of the hardback versions.
By Dr. Charles D. Schmitz and Dr. Elizabeth A. Schmitz
Authors of Golden Anniversaries: The Seven Secrets of Successful Marriage
Winner of the INDIE Book Awards GOLD Medal for Best Relationship Book
Winner of the 2009 Mom’s Choice Awards GOLD Medal for Most Outstanding Relationships and Marriage Book
2009 Nautilus Book Awards Winner for Relationships

Wheatgrass Lemongrass Barleygrass Natural Remedies

The juice from wheatgrass is truly a gift of nature, it’s actually the blood of nature, and it’s a perfect fit for dynamite health. Since ancient times, the wheat berry has been considered the most valuable of foods.
Chlorophyll Importance
Likewise, the chlorophyll from the growing wheatgrass has proven itself to be the most powerful blood cleanser on earth.
The solid content of juice made from wheatgrass is 70% chlorophyll, the sunshine element from the plant that rejuvenates the human body.
Chlorophyll is often called “the blood of plant life” because it closely resembles the molecular structure of human red blood cells.
Chlorophyll is one of nature’s greatest healers for conditions both inside and outside of the body, and it is considered a survival food because it feeds us dynamic nutrients, yet the body gives up very little energy to assimilate it.
Chlorophyll is the basis of all plant life; it is truly liquid sunshine. It absorbs energy from the sun and in some mysterious way it uses it to create sugar, starch and proteins.
Science has proven that not only will chlorophyll stop the growth and development of unfriendly bacteria, but it is actually akin to human blood. Studies show that chlorophyll has the same chemical structure as hemoglobin, the red cells in human blood.
Both chlorophyll (wheatgrass juice) and hemoglobin consist in part of similar atoms. The only difference between them is that in human blood the metallic atom consists of iron; while in chlorophyll, this atom is magnesium.
Wheatgrass and Chlorophyll
When you think about all the many remarkable benefits of wheatgrass, it’s crazy not to be taking advantage of it for great heath–for green health.
There are several ways to go about taking wheatgrass. You can buy a wheatgrass juicing machine, and juice your own.
Wheatgrass is fun to grow, or you can buy it freshly grown from a health food store. Of course, the taste is usually a bit off-putting, because it tastes pretty much like a freshly mown field of grass, in a glass!
Some health food stores sell “shots” of wheatgrass juice. You can get about one ounce of wheatgrass juice for about $3 to $10. You can also buy wheatgrass juice pre-bottled, however, the taste of that mown field is still there.
The easiest way to consume wheatgrass juice, and the most economical, is in supplement form. Depending on the supplement, it is the equivalent to consuming a giant green leafy salad!
Studies show that 15 pounds of fresh wheatgrass is equivalent in nutritional value to 350 pounds of the choicest vegetables.
Pump up your pH level with Wheatgrass
“Potential of Hydrogen,” (pH) is the ratio measurement for acidity and alkalinity. The perfect pH level for humans is 6.8 to 7.2, and by maintaining this level, the trillions of cells in your body are free to absorb and use vitamins and other nutrients, and to excrete the waste.
When your diet includes higher amounts of fat, sugar and animal protein, your body becomes more acidic and the cellular waste will ferment, rot, and not exit your body. When this waste doesn’t get eliminated, it causes pain in your tissues, muscles, joints and major organs, setting the stage for illness and disease.
The best way to reduce this acidity is with alkalizing foods such as wheatgrass.
According to Nobel Prize winner Otto Warburg, cancer cells cannot grow in an oxygen-rich environment with a balanced pH. There’s no super food on earth that promises so much health for so very little.
The Big 3 – Wheatgrass, Lemon grass and Barley grass
There are also some fantastic combination formulas available that bring together the alkalizing benefits of wheatgrass, lemon grass and barley grass into one energizing,
immunity-enhancing green formula.
Wheatgrass is rich in enzymes, vitamins, hormones and nucleic acids. It has widespread effectiveness, but its three most important health roles are:
blood purification,
liver detoxification and
colon cleansing.
Barley grass and wheatgrass are both abundant sources of superoxide dismutase (SOD).
This is a powerful antioxidant and anti-aging enzyme. SOD is a proven anti-inflammatory for arthritis, edema, gout, and bursitis.
Lemon Grass is another fantastic cleanser that helps detoxify the liver, pancreas, kidney, bladder and digestive tract.
It helps cut down uric acid, cholesterol, excess fats and other acid wastes while stimulating digestion and blood circulation.
If you want to cleanse your colon and liver,
nourish your major organs, boost your energy, this combination absolutely cannot be beat.
This combination of the three top alkalizers is available from the Institute for Vibrant Living in their Super Wheatgrass Combo product. To learn more, visit and use search term: Super Wheatgrass Combo
Taking this superfood combination may help turn around poor health in no time, making up for the many years of polluting the environment of our health. It’s like putting lots of “green” into the bank account of your health.
So invest in your health, it’s the best “green” decision you can make!

What Your Marriage Proposal Could Tell You About Your Relationship

The way your partner proposed to you might allow you to see into your future with this person.
Good card players can detect tells—those unconscious behaviors that give away information about a player’s hand.
When my clients described their feelings of disappointments or exhilaration about their proposal, a warning light went off in my head. A few years later, when these same couples came to see me for counseling, I realized the proposal often foretold the problems they would face. Not all the time, of course, but here are some thoughts and tips that might help you to see into your future so you can address important patterns and issues now.
Like the fairy tale, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, I discovered three proposal styles that can be too big, too small or just right.
1) The Too Big, Over-the-Top Proposal
What Your Marriage Proposal Could Tell You About Your Relationship Don’t let proposals written in the sky or delivered on the stadium sports screen seduce you into thinking you found Prince Charming. And don’t confuse a huge ring with love. Your man could turn out to be a prince among men, but keep in mind that proposals that suffer from a too-muchness factor might be tells about his issues regarding control, abuse and respect.
For example, a wow-proposal that sweeps you off your feet and makes you feel special could be signaling you that your man needs to be in charge and to be respected and revered. Many of these men need to be Number One, Two and Three in a relationship.
They may have a hole in their soul that needs constant feeding.
If you doubt or question him, he might minimize your needs and become abusive. These men often have emotional radar for women who are Little Orphan Annie’s who overly appreciate him.
And those surprise proposals where the man pops the question can often be more about the man’s fear of losing you rather than loving you.
Not all thrilling proposals are from controlling or insecure men. But pay attention to any pattern in your relationship where you end up feeling diminished. When you do speak up, don’t accuse, cry, throw a fit or threaten to leave. Instead, suggest ideas and work as a team. If abuse occurs, seek professional counseling immediately to learn about creating a safety plan.
2) The Too-Little Proposal
Proposals that are too casual do not create the heat of love. You don’t feel special or warm or certain. One of my clients said her husband proposed to her at work. She said, He told everyone in the office that he was proposing, and all of a sudden I was surrounded by colleagues toasting me in the lunch room.
The husband of one of my clients proposed while they were walking through a shopping mall. They did marry, but the woman never could erase the lack of feeling special.
Men who make underwhelming proposals might be revealing their doubts about you, themselves or their doubts about sustaining a marriage.
These men often fear taking reasonable risks, making decisions or dealing with confrontations. No wonder these men are attracted to take charge, competent women.
Their appeal is that these men also tend to be sweet and understanding listener. You might feel, for instance, that you can tell this man anything. He makes you feel warm. Over time, however, he may not make you feel safe enough to rely on him when the going gets rough.
Observe your pattern of decision-making if you have chosen a too nice man. You can avoid an imbalance in your relationship by including your man in your decisions, coaching him to make decisions and not blaming him for making mistakes.
And if your proposal is too little, you can have a re-do. Ask your partner to establish a different proposal experience so you can have a different memory. This re-do may never fully get rid of the unsatisfying proposal, but it can build a closer bond and greater respect for your partner.
3) The Just-Right Proposal
Smart marriage proposals don’t have to set the world on fire. They should honor your style, wishes and relationship history. An example of a smart proposal might take place where you went on your first date or where you had your first kiss.
The goals are to establish a memory and ritual that bond you in a personally meaningful way.
Wedding proposals are amongst the rituals—such as mothers’ and fathers’ day celebrations–that you and partner establish over time. These rituals are part of your unique emotional history that joins you as a team—especially in rough times.
By the time your partner proposes, you should both know that the relationship is a go. You should already have discussed key issues such as children, religion, family and finances.
Just-right proposals do not occur as a result of fights, whirlwind courtships, family pressure or traumatic events that propel you to create pseudo-intimacy. Just-right proposals are based on knowing each other over time—and through both good and bad times.
Most importantly, both of you should feel happy, warm, loving, hopeful, confident and stronger because you are a team of equals with different strengths.

What Makes a Happy Marriage?

By America’s #1 Love and Marriage Experts.
As our loyal readers know, we have been researching successful marriage around the world for nearly three decades. We have travelled to 47 countries on six of the world’s seven continents in search of the best marriages.
In our speeches, blogs, and world travels we are often asked – Are there ways to ensure that a marriage will be happy? The answer is of course, no. Life, love, and marriage do not come with absolute guarantees. Marriage does not come with a warranty.
Let us hasten to add, however, you can greatly increase the odds that your marriage will last a lifetime if your profile closely resembles the following 15 findings we have gleaned from our own research and the marriage research of others whose research we highly value.
If your marriage profile looks like this, you are well on your way to a long and successful marriage. These are, in essence, the predictors of a happy marriage.
1. It stands to reason that you and the one you love must first pass the Marriage Quiz. If you can’t get out of the starting gate with a successful marriage, the rest doesn’t matter. Take the Quiz and if you both receive a score of 18 or higher on the Marriage Quiz, you have met the first pre-requisite of a successful marriage.
2. Wait until you are at least 25+ to get married. Couples who get married after the age of 25 are far more likely to stay married than those who get married sooner. Doing so will pay many dividends over the years ahead. Experience and wisdom that comes with age will certainly contribute to the success of a marriage.
3. Have an income-producing job with stability before you get married. Here’s what we know, couples with annual incomes over $50,000 (vs. under $25,000) experience a drastically reduced risk of divorce. Couples who have steady jobs with steady incomes are far more likely to have a successful marriage.
4. Do not have children in the first year of your marriage. Bring children into the world when your marriage is ready for them. Nora Ephron once said, Having children is like throwing a hand grenade into a marriage! Children are wonderful, but they bring stress and challenges to a marital relationship, especially to a new marriage. Have children when you know and understand each other and your marriage is ready for the responsibilities associated with parenting. Your marriage will be well served, make no mistake about that.
5. Being spiritual and/or religious is good for your marriage. Couples that consider themselves religious or spiritual (vs. not) are considerably less likely to get divorced. Faith and spirituality contribute to the sense of oneness felt by successfully married couples – a necessary prerequisite to a long and happy marriage.
6. Focus on getting an education that includes post-secondary training (college, trade school, etc.). College educated couples have a much less chance of divorce than those with only a high school diploma. Education almost always leads to enlightenment and understanding and more tolerance for the views of others – so critically important in successful marriages. In fact, college educated women are more likely to get married than their less educated counterparts, and much more likely to have a successful marriage.
7. Make sure your spouse is your best friend. When someone asks you who your best friend is, the honest answer must be, My spouse. There is no other acceptable answer to this question. If you answer this question correctly, your marriage has a better than average chance of success. Being in love is never enough without friendship. All long-term successfully married couples know this to be a fact1
8. Always fight fair in your marriage. All married couples argue – the good, the bad, and the ugly marriages – they all do it. The difference is how they argue. If you decide to submerge your feelings, let the anger fester, and go to bed mad at each other – well, you are heading down a path that could ultimately lead to the destruction of your marriage. Arguing is healthy for a marriage. Just fight fair and never make your arguments personal and hurtful!
9. Never lose your individual identity or subjugate your individual strengths just because you got married. While in many ways two becomes one in the best marriages, losing who you are is not a pre-requisite to being happily and blissfully married. Quite the contrary, losing the sense of who you are hurts your marriage. It doesn’t help your marriage. Be true to your identity as a human being. It will serve your marriage well.
10. Never, we repeat, never engage in acts of infidelity. While some marriages survive infidelity, the overwhelming majority do not. Think long and hard about what you will lose before you engage in infidelity – before you violate the most sacred of marital trusts.
11. Always allow time to be alone – for both you and your spouse. We have learned over the past three decades of research one fundamental truism – every human being has a fundamental predisposition to be alone, to be by themselves from time to time. Allowing yourself time to be alone to your thoughts each day will serve you and your marriage well. Extending the same opportunity to your spouse will pay huge dividends for your marriage. A marriage that does not follow this simple advice could place their marriage in grave jeopardy.
12. Talk about anything and everything! Marriages thrive on open communication and honest discussion. The most successfully married couples we have interviewed around the world tell us that they have learned to communicate frequently, fairly, openly, and honestly. Mum is not the word in marriages that work! Practicing communication with your spouse each and every day is a necessary prerequisite for the success of your marriage. There should be no sacred cows in your marriage!
13. Always show mutual respect and admiration for each other. The best marriages repeatedly engage in acts of kindness towards each other. They do nice things for each other with no expectation of something in return. They work hard to understand each other’s needs and wants. They say thank you and please. They open doors for each other. Successfully married couples do all these things automatically, without ever thinking about it. But remember – these behaviors take daily practice! Start today.
14. The greatest joy in life for both you and your spouse is spending time with each other. If you do not feel this way, you do NOT fit the profile of the most happily and successfully married couples we have interviewed around the world. Couples who love each other deeply, who want to spend their lives with each other, and who cannot imagine life without each other, will almost always tell you this – the one they want to be with more than anyone else is their spouse. There is no substitute for togetherness when it comes to a happily married couple, make no mistake about that.
15. Understand that all marriages go through seasons – much like the seasons of nature. A marriage is born in the spring, blossoms over the summer, grows to maturity in the fall, and settles in over the winter. When we find true love, most of us find it for a lifetime. Those marriages and relationships that last over time started with the simple planting of a seed. The seed was nourished over time. Love grown with tender and loving care matures into fully-grown love that can withstand the tests of time. You can make your love and your marriage last for a lifetime.
There is a profile for marital success – there are predictors associated with the best marriages and they do not occur by accident or happenstance. It takes hard work to make a marriage work.
There are characteristics associated with success and tale-tale signs of impending failure. Heed the advice and the odds are in your favor. Ignore the predictors and do so at your own peril. The choice is yours.
In love and marriage the simple things matter. Love well!
By Dr. Charles D. Schmitz and Dr. Elizabeth A. Schmitz
For hundreds of tips to enhance your relationship get the Doctor’s best-selling and multiple-award winning book Building a Love that Lasts: The Seven Surprising Secrets of Successful Marriage (Jossey-Bass/Wiley) Available wherever books are sold.
Winner of the INDIE Book Awards GOLD Medal for Best Relationship Book
Winner of the Mom’s Choice Awards GOLD Medal for Most Outstanding Relationships and Marriage Book
Nautilus Book Awards Winner for Relationships

What is the Best Valentine’s Day Gift?

By America’s #1 Love and Marriage Experts.
It is said that some 200 million stems of roses will be sold in the USA on Valentine’s Day 2011. Imagine that! That’s a lot of expressions of love don’t you think! We Americans love Valentine’s Day. We relish the opportunity to express our love to the one we love, and we do it through multiple venues.
People propose marriage, get engaged, express love, and give lots of flowers to the one they love on Valentine’s Day. What they are really saying is, You are My Valentine and I love you! And the truth is, Valentine’s Day is romantic and sexual in its orientation for many. It is the ultimate day of love!”
In so many ways, giving roses to the one you love is an expression of love for someone that really matters to you. Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to express your love. But think about it; are there better and less expensive ways to tell someone you love that they are the center of your universe? We think so.
We subscribe to the old adage that the best things in life are free. Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to cost a dime of your hard-earned money during these trying economic times. Valentine’s Day, in the end, is all about love. It is about serving breakfast in bed to the one you love. It is about giving the gift of time instead of lavish or expensive gifts.
Don’t over-emphasize the importance of giving THINGS. In the end, the greatest Valentine’s gift of all to the one you love is the gift of your time. Our research on six continents of the world and in 45 countries over these past three decades completely supports this notion.
Valentine’s Day should be a time to reflect on and a time to share your love with the one you are in love with. When you truly love someone, you spend your love energy in the here and now. Valentine’s Day sometimes does often conjure up memories of lost love! Forget about that! Spend your time immersing yourself in today’s love. Spend your time being thankful for who you love today. Hindsight is always 20-20. Love is sometimes blind, but your heart will tell you the difference. Spend time with the one you love on this highly important day. You will not regret it.
So, who is the love of your life on this Valentine’s Day? What do you plan to do to express your love to the one you love? Will it be an expensive affirmation of love? Or, will you give the gift of time to the one you love? The choice is yours.
We vote, however, for the gift of time. When you go to your grave, you cannot take material items with you. You can, however, take memories of love with you with your dying breath. Spending time with the one you love ensures your place in their heart. And you can take that kind of love with you!
Here’s what we know. In our thousands of interviews, the most successful marriages and relationships repeatedly report this simple notion – being with their spouse is the most important part of their day. Nothing about love can replace the intimacy of being alone with your lover. Do not have any illusions when it comes to love – being with the one you love should be the nirvana of your day. If you don’t feel this way, it is time to reflect on your relationship with the one you purport to love.
We are often asked this question—Does love exist only if you acknowledge it in front of other people? Our answer – how ridiculous is this notion! Telling someone you love him or her should occur everywhere – in public, in private, and all around the town. People in love acknowledge their love wherever and whenever. Where they do it doesn’t matter.
Always remember, every day is a day of sunshine when you are with the one you love. Valentine’s Day reminds us why our soul mate, our lover, and our best friend is the one we most want to spend our time with and to share our life with.
In the end, there is nothing more important in a loving relationship than the gift of time. Give the one you love this special gift today. You will not regret it. Make this your best Valentine’s ever!
In love and marriage the simple things matter. Love well!
By Dr. Charles D. Schmitz and Dr. Elizabeth A. Schmitz
For hundreds of tips to enhance your relationship get the Doctor’s best-selling and multiple-award winning book Building a Love that Lasts: The Seven Surprising Secrets of Successful Marriage (Jossey-Bass/Wiley 2010) Available wherever books are sold.
Winner of the INDIE Book Awards GOLD Medal for Best Relationship Book
Winner of the Mom’s Choice Awards GOLD Medal for Most Outstanding Relationships and Marriage Book
Nautilus Book Awards Winner for Relationships

What Does Love Look Like?

What Does Love Look Like?
By Dr. Charles D. Schmitz and Dr. Elizabeth A. Schmitz
“the marriage doctors”
Award Winning Authors of the NEW Hardback Book
Golden Anniversaries: The Seven Secrets of Successful Marriage
Makes a GREAT Wedding or Anniversary Gift
Also available at and your local bookstore.
We have written extensively over the years about love and relationships. Our recent book, Golden Anniversaries: The Seven Secrets of Successful Marriage, chronicles the lives of happily married couples that have been married for three or more decades. Our many articles for have described different aspects of love. Our article How Will I Know I am in Love, traveled around the world several times and was even translated into Chinese!
And while we have written about how you will know you are in love, about how you will feel when you are in love, about the importance of the human touch in expressing love, and about how love sounds, we haven’t yet shared our observations and findings about what love looks like until today! So here goes.
When we interview successfully married couples we spend a lot of time observing them while we listen carefully to what they say. We record our observations. We make note of what we see. Oh, what they say is important, but what we see is even more so.
We have discovered that you can learn much about love from observing two people in love. So what does love look like? What do two people in love say through their interactions with the one they love? When you observe couples in love, how do they act? How do they interact? What do their actions tell you about their love for each other? Well, here’s something to think about.
People in love can be observed:
Listening to each other intently; holding hands while they walk or sit; touching each other often; teasing each other in playful ways; smiling at each other; hugging each other; sharing a meal from the same plate; opening doors for each other; putting their arms around each other; talking to each other with full eye contact; sitting together touching each other; sharing the care of their children; picking up each other’s plates and meal residue after eating at fast food restaurants; and walking next to each other.
The way people in love gaze at each other – the way they look lovingly at each other – the knowing glances they share with each other—tells you they are in love. There is a look to love.
These are just a few of the telltale signs of people in love. We bet you can name more, but the important point to remember is that it is hard to fake love. People, who observe people in love or those just pretending to be in love, know the difference! There is without a doubt a look of love.
So, friends, our message about love being an accumulation of the little things should come through loud and clear again. You can’t fake love. True love can be seen, felt, observed, and heard. Keep these simple things in mind next time you think about love.
We close with the words of Burt Bacharach in his very popular song, The Look of Love.
I can hardly wait to hold you

Feel my arms around you

How long I have waited

Waited just to love you

Now that I have found you

Don’t ever go”
There is no doubt – you can SEE love. You can’t hide it. You can’t fake it. You can’t fool those who observe your relationship with each other.
To love is to show your love by your actions. To say you are in love doesn’t count for much unless you show your love. To look like love is, more often than not, to be in love.
Love well!

What are the Warning Signs of a Failing Marriage?

By America’s #1 Love and Marriage Experts.
We have studied marriage around the globe for three decades. And while our focus has principally been on successful marriage, we have interviewed a lot of folks whose marriage was in trouble – whose marriage was falling apart.
There is nothing more painful than watching your marriage disintegrate before your eyes. It hurts. In fact, it may be amongst the most painful experiences you will have in your lifetime.
During our many radio and television interviews over the years we are often asked this simple question – How will I know my Marriage is in Trouble?’ Our research has identified the answer to this very important and often asked question.
So, friends, here are the Seven Telltale Signs of a Failing Marriage that we have identified over the years.
1. You fight and argue much more often than before and do so unfairly.
Fact is, you have nothing nice to say to or about each other anymore. You love to nitpick at each other. Your teasing isn’t fun – it is now painful and hurtful. You use each other as a personal pincushion!
Sadly, your arguments are repeatedly about the same subjects. You are increasingly critical of each other, you fight constantly, and you no longer fight fair.
As we have said many times before – it is okay to argue – all successfully married couples do – but the truth is this, successfully married couples have learned how to fight fair. Their arguments do not become personal and attack oriented.
2. One or both of you show increasing disrespect for each other.
As we have described in our recent book, Building a Love that Lasts: The Seven Surprising Secrets of Successful Marriage (Jossey-Bass/Wiley), mutual respect is at the heart of the best marriages. In failing marriages, there are growing signs of disrespect. Resentment and contempt have replaced patience and love. You go out of your way to avoid being together.
And sadly, when you are away from your spouse you are happier than when you are with them. Having fun with your mate seems to be a thing of the past.
When mutual respect and understanding fail, your marriage is well on the way to its end. Make no mistake about that.
3. You and your spouse are no longer capable of communicating with each other in meaningful and productive ways.
Communication between a husband and a wife is of paramount importance to the health of a successful marital relationship. Failing marriages communicate less and less. There are fewer and fewer meaningful exchanges between the two people who occupy the marriage bond.
Worse yet, they don’t talk with each other about their mutual problems anymore. Frankly, failing marriages lose the ability and the willingness to resolve their marital problems. They just don’t care anymore.
When communication between a husband and wife shuts down, there is little hope for the marriage. Always remember this – no problem was ever resolved, no divide ever bridged, and no disagreement ever broached when people refused to communicate. When communication falters, a marriage is in trouble.
4. Sexual intimacy in your marriage is low and increasingly non-existent.
In a failing marriage, sexual intimacy is low. Sexual intimacy becomes more and more infrequent. Marriage partners turn into roommates – they live together in the same home, but do not share the intimacies of a marriage. Unfortunately, intimacy becomes a thing of the past.
It is clear from our three decades of research that sexual intimacy is over-rated when it comes to the best marriages. There are many other elements that are equally or more important to a successful marriage than sex. But make no mistake about it; INTIMACY is more than good sex. Intimacy is holding hands on a walk, snuggling in the morning, hugging a lot, touching each other, and in general, feeling emotion for each other.
When intimacy starts to fade so does the marriage. When you and/or your spouse lose feelings of intimacy, your marriage is in trouble.
5. Financial disagreements dominate your discussions and conversations.
It is clear, when you argue increasingly and incessantly about financial issues, your marriage is in trouble. We have written extensively about this subject over the past two years, and if the truth were known, most arguments in a marriage center on financial issues.
Worse yet, you discover your spouse is lying about money and other financial related issues. They lie about the bills, the balances, the payoffs, and the commitments. A very bad sign, indeed.
It is clear; we live in trying times when it comes to economic uncertainty. Unemployment is historically high, the Stock Market has wild swings, we worry about our retirement income and our savings, and our home values are in the tank. There is a lot of economic uncertainty.
But here is the truth – the best marriages survive and thrive during trying economic times. The best marriages find a way to deal with the economic uncertainties. Failing marriages have not learned to cope with economic uncertainty because they have not learned how to communicate with each other. If all you talk about is your financial plight, you marriage is in trouble.
6. You do not trust your spouse anymore.
Trust is the centerpiece of a great marriage! In fact, there is nothing more central to a successful marriage than the ability to trust. If you can’t trust your spouse, whom can you trust?
When you or your spouse start to have thoughts of being unfaithful and think more and more about divorce, your marriage is in trouble. When you worry about infidelity in your marriage, your marriage is in trouble.
Let’s face it, when the trust level between you and your spouse nears zero, there is little hope for your marriage. You cannot imagine how important it is to trust your spouse. When you don’t trust them anymore, there is little hope for your marriage.
7. Family members increasingly choose up sides instead of striving for common ground and common understandings.
Your immediate family (your children, each other, your extended family) finds it more and more difficult to find common ground in debates, discussions, and conversations. Family members start to choose up sides. Winning and losing becomes the order of the day. Compromise is out the window.
Moreover, you and your spouse try to isolate each other from family and friends. Divide and conquer becomes the order of the day.
It is sad but true – those marriages that become dysfunctional display symptoms of division and lack of common understandings among family members. Family unity begins to disintegrate. Feuding families are not good for a healthy marriage.
It is important to know the telltale signs of a failing marriage. Pay close attention. When you witness the signs, take action. Save your relationship if you can. Having a healthy and happy marriage is one of the great success stories of life. It is not too late to save your marriage.
In love and marriage the simple things matter. Love well!
By Dr. Charles D. Schmitz and Dr. Elizabeth A. Schmitz
**For hundreds of tips to enhance your relationship get the Doctor’s best-selling and multiple-award winning book Building a Love that Lasts: The Seven Surprising Secrets of Successful Marriage (Jossey-Bass/Wiley 2010) Available wherever books are sold.
Winner of the INDIE Book Awards GOLD Medal for Best Relationship Book
Winner of the Mom’s Choice Awards GOLD Medal for Most Outstanding Relationships and Marriage Book
Nautilus Book Awards Winner for Relationships

Truly Healthy Shopping and Cooking – For Those Who Don’t Care to Do Either!

Find the simple but tasty meals that work with your routine, put as much on autopilot as you can, and you’ll be amazed by what food can do for you.
For some of you, I’m sure this is true: when you read blogs and cookbooks written by culinary health gurus about how to prepare healthy, it can be a bit intimidating and overwhelming. And perhaps it’s also true that spending time in the grocery store is not your favorite pastime, either.
Maybe so, but the fact is, you’ve got to shop and cook in order to eat well. Although shopping and cooking are admittedly not as easy as zipping through the drive through and unwrapping a hamburger, doing these things does not have to be a chore. It can easily become part of a pleasant routine that will add years to your life and life to your years!
A routine can make all the difference. If you want to get in and out of the grocery store in as little time as possible – pushing a cart loaded with nutrients and short on calories – here is a basic game plan:

* If they have the option, get a smaller cart. Really, you won’t be buying as much food as before, and since lots of it will be fresh, you’ll need to do it a little more often. The smaller cart will signal when you’ve likely bought enough.
* Shop mostly around the perimeter of the store. The processed, bad-for-you foods are generally in the aisles – with a few exceptions.
* Learn where the beans and whole grains are (oatmeal, whole grain rice, quinoa, millet, etc.), as well as any raw nuts, seeds, nut butters or all natural jams you might want to stock up on. You might prefer the convenience of a jar of all natural salsa, bean dip, or hummus. Strategically plan your visits to the sections where you can load up on natural sweeteners like maple syrup and stevia extracts, herbal teas and spices. Other than those items, you don’t need to hit the aisles.
* Start in produce. If possible, try to get to the farmer’s market as often as you can to stock up on local produce. But if that’s not an option for you, start your shopping trip in the produce section, and focus on colors and deals. Colors are indicative of various nutrients, and the more colors in your basket, the more variety of essential nutrients you’ll put in your body. Make sure your basket is at least halfway full with produce, leaving the other half for everything else. This ensures that your diet is rich in nutrients. (But if you can, get to the farmer’s market. You’ll save money, and it’s a genuinely pleasant experience to spend time with the people who grow your food.)
* If you want bread, get it from the bakery department, NOT in the aisle. Make sure it’s a genuine whole grain loaf – you can usually find several varieties baked fresh right there in the store.
* If you buy animal products, look for free range poultry and eggs, and lean cuts of grass-fed beef. Stay far away from processed and cured meats, such as bacon, sausage, and ham.
* Lots of people find that skipping dairy products altogether leads to amazing improvements in their health, and there are plenty of alternatives out there that might surprise you. Unsweetened almond milk is a great choice if you tolerate nuts; others prefer coconut milk or soy milk. If you do opt for dairy products, try to get whole food versions, and even raw milk based products where available, with as few additives as possible.
* The frozen food section is one aisle you can shop, and it’s your friend! Stock up on vegetables and fruits here for times when you might be short of the fresh variety. Frozen fruits and vegetables are just as healthy as the fresh kind – and in some cases, even have their nutrients better preserved. Other finds in this section would be the live sprouted grain breads, such as Ezekiel and Food for Life.STEP TWO – THE KITCHEN
Again, no one way of eating works for everyone. But if you don’t like to cook, it makes sense to put some of your meals on autopilot, with as little cooking as possible. Here are a few suggestions:

* Breakfast: One large green smoothie (made with six cups of leafy greens, three bananas, and a 16 oz bag of frozen berries), one slice of Ezekiel raisin toast with a dab of clarified butter, one cup of chai tea with almond milk and sweetened with Stevia extract. Alternate: You can replace the Ezekiel bread with whole grain oatmeal, sweetened with a little maple syrup and sprinkled with cinnamon, or a bowl of Ezekiel cereal with almond milk, topped with blueberries.
* Lunch: One large green smoothie, all natural peanut or almond butter and jelly on Ezekiel bread. Alternate: Replace the sandwich with some carrots, celery, and falafel chips, served with hummus, or a handful of raw nuts mixed with raisins and dates.
* Dinner: One large green smoothie, one large salad, and one of seven meals you can rotate throughout the week, such as a vegetarian bean chili or potato leek soup (a crockpot is a best friend to someone who doesn’t much like to cook!), a black bean and salsa tortilla wrap, roasted eggplant, zucchini and squash, or a mushroom, onion, and bell pepper omelet with roasted red potatoes. Meals like these call for simple chopping, baking, or stewing, and are easy to put together in 15 minutes or fewer.
* Dessert: Yes, you can have dessert! Have a little dark chocolate infused with almonds and orange, a maple syrup sweetened cinnamon rice pudding, a frozen banana based mango ice cream, or avocado chocolate mousse. It’s not hard to find very simple recipes for these treats on the internet, and since there are so few ingredients, you’re doing your body good!Find the simple but tasty meals that work with your routine, put as much on autopilot as you can, and you’ll be amazed by what food can do for you.


One thing that is lacking in many marriages that makes it difficult for many is transparency. Many people in marriage are simply not open to each other, this gives to lots of crisis and conflict in the family, if your home must be joyful, peaceful and blissful you and your partner must be open to each other, not giving room for doubt, distrust and suspicion. You must live a life of total openness without, ” dark rooms” ” skeleton” in your cupboard, nothing to hide everything is on the table.
That is what the bible describe in Genesis 2:25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.
To be transparent means to be open, candidly free from guile and to be frank.
Transparency in marriage simply means the state of been open, truthful, candid and frank with your spouse, it also means to be full of guile and dishonesty.
Marriage is known to be extremely difficult where husband and wife are not transparent to each other. It gives room for all manners of evil that have consumed many marriages.
Dangers of Lack of Transparency
Absence of transparency in Marriage has many dangers and grave implications on family life, in fact it is one of the reasons why marriage are crashing worldwide.
Let check some of the implications of failure of being transparent in marriage.
1. Suspicion: lack of transparency is the foundation of suspicion, because when there is no openness it gives room to wrong imaginations, negative thinking and jumping into conclusions which most of the time may not be the truth. Suspicion is known to lead to wrong accusations that can be really annoying leading to anger and every other negativities.
2. Distrust: when suspicion grows, it becomes distrust, which is killer of love and destroyer of marriage. Good Marriage is base on trust; so, when trust is broken marriage is almost over.
3. Fear: suspicion and distrust do generate fear and anxiety, because of lack of information, misinformation and uncertainty then surround the home and family life in a place where transparency is lacking.
4. Wrong accusation: distrust, fear and suspicion which are all off- shot of lack of transparency are known to lead to wrong accusations and counter-accusations which are very dangerous to the well being of the family life.
5. Conflict and Crisis: with suspicion, wrong accusation, fear and distrust in the house what do you expect? Conflict and crisis.
Lack of transparency is known to cause a lot of crisis as the couple begin to fight each other even when there is no cogent reason for it.
6. Rumor: One thing that is common in a home without transparency is the influence of 3rd party in marriage, bringing, rumors, misinformation, gossips and lies. Which do help to fuel conflict in marriage?
7. Lovelessness: There is no way love can thrive in a marriage where transparency is lacking, all that is common in this kind of homes are malice, anger, resentment, hatred and bitterness.
8. Sick Marriage: The end result of absence of transparency in marriage is bad and difficult marriage. What do you expect in a home full of distrust, fear, lovelessness if not difficult and terrible marriage?

Toilet seats can come between you and your spouse!

By America’s #1 Love and Marriage Experts.
As we say repeatedly, the simple things matter in love and marriage. Do the simple things and your marriage or loving relationship will prosper.
Charley learned his lesson some 43 years ago! He grew up in a rural area of Missouri back when outhouses were more prevalent than toilets that flushed! When we first got married some 43 years ago, Charley, the consummate gentleman as Liz refers to him, had to learn an important lesson about toilet seats.
As it turns out, toilet seats are designed to protect women and save marriages! There are four kinds of husbands when it comes to Toilet Seat Love. Here they are, briefly described.
First, husband number one goes to the bathroom. He lifts the seat and goes, then replaces the seat in its down position. Wife loves husband when he does this! The marriage is saved!
Husband number two fails to lift the seat and, thusly, goes ON the seat. But, being a kind and respectful husband, he cleans up his mess with a handful of Kleenex. Wife still loves husband but not as much.
The third kind of husband goes to the bathroom, doesn’t lift the seat, goes ON seat, doesn’t clean seat, and wife sits in his mess later that day. Wife is not happy with husband! Trust us on this.
The fourth kind of husband raises the seat before he goes, but leaves seat in the upright position when he is done. Later that day, wife sits in the toilet bowl and the impact splashes toilet bowl contents on the floor. Occasionally, she gets stuck in bowl and needs assistance in getting out. Wife does not love husband when he does this. The marriage is in jeopardy!
We hope you enjoyed the levity of this little story but, more importantly, you find its meaning to be helpful as you think about the simple things that make your loving relationship with someone else thrive. Toilet Seat Love describes just one of those simple things that really matter. Always remember that lasting relationships and successful marriages are built on an accumulation of the simple things.
Simple Things Matter in love and marriage. Love well!
By Dr. Charles D. Schmitz and Dr. Elizabeth A. Schmitz
Authors of the best-selling book and multiple-award winning book Building a Love that Lasts: The Seven Surprising Secrets of Successful Marriage (Jossey-Bass/Wiley 2010) Available wherever books are sold.
Winner of the INDIE Book Awards GOLD Medal for Best Relationship Book
Winner of the 2009 Mom’s Choice Awards GOLD Medal for Most Outstanding Relationships and Marriage Book
2009 Nautilus Book Awards Winner for Relationships

There is No Recovery from Infidelity

By America’s #1 Love and Marriage Experts.
Frankly, if we hear yet one more person talk about infidelity in a relationship as if it were okay, not a big deal, and forgivable, we are going to get angry!
We have studied the best marriages for nearly 28 years and we know this – the best marriages would never engage in unfaithfulness – they would never engage in infidelity.
Here is the whole truth and nothing but the truth – being disloyal to the one you love is an unpardonable sin! Why would anyone who engages in this disloyal, dishonest, and morally reprehensible behavior think it is okay? To betray someone you purport to love is unconscionable. And as we often say, based on our years of research with successfully married couples, there is a character element to marriage and to violate the code of conduct in a marriage – to engage in the ultimate form of betrayal – is to destroy the core, the heart, of that relationship.
As you have noticed over the years, we are not angry people. Clearly, we are not unreasonable people. And the truth is, we know what makes marriages work. Being unfaithful to the one you love is not conducive to a wholesome, successful, and endearing relationship.
Here’s the deal – there are NO excuses for infidelity! There is no way to excuse infidelity. Being unfaithful to the one you love is the most unpardonable of all sins. To violate the core of trust in your marriage or loving relationship is, simply put, to destroy the relationship.
It is our considered opinion – based on many years of research on six continents of the world and 45 countries – that the notion of character in marriage is real. To suggest otherwise is to ignore the basic tenets of successful relationships. We guess that it is time to say, The buck stops here! Literally translated – there are no excuses for disloyalty and infidelity to your spouse – to your lover.
Over the years, we have interviewed a lot of people who purported to be in love. We have interviewed a lot of couples that repeated the vows, Until Death Do Us Part. And these are not just words! To love someone for a lifetime does not occur by accident. To be in love is not an accident. To be in love is to do the simple things day in and day out of your relationship with the one you say you love. But trust us on this – you cannot betray the one you love and expect your marriage to survive and thrive.
It pains our heart to see couples espouse the virtues of the Desperate Housewives who think it’s okay to cheat on the one your love, and everything will be okay. It drives an arrow through our heart to think that there are people engaged in a loving relationship who think that betrayal is an offense for which there is forgiveness.
The ultimate betrayal of the one you say you love is an unrecoverable act! Writers, therapists, counselors, and psychologists who suggest otherwise are not only fooling themselves, they are misleading those they purport to represent.
Don’t be fooled and don’t be foolish. There is rarely EVER a recovery from a relationship that sinks to betrayal, infidelity, and disloyalty. Those who have been successfully married for years and years know this to be true. Once you cheat on your spouse, absolute trust – so central to the core of successful marriage – is NEVER regained. Don’t be misled by those who suggest otherwise, they are promoting a lie. Our advice to you – NEVER cheat on your spouse!
Simple Things Matter in love and marriage. Love well!
**For hundreds of practical tips to strengthen your love, read the best-selling and multiple-award winning book Building a Love that Lasts: The Seven Surprising Secrets of Successful Marriage (Jossey-Bass/Wiley 2010) Available wherever books are sold.
By Dr. Charles D. Schmitz and Dr. Elizabeth A. Schmitz

The Voice of Blake Shelton’s Love for Miranda

By America’s #1 Love and Marriage Experts.
We will be honest with you up front — we are huge fans of Country music! Like a lot of Country music fans these days, we are impressed with Country superstar couple, Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert. To say they are awesome entertainers is an understatement! And from all reports we’ve seen and their public interactions with each other, their marriage is pretty awesome as well.
Our love for these two Country icons has a whole lot to do with their wonderful singing and songwriting. Frankly, have you ever been more moved by a song than by the song they wrote together – recorded by Miranda (and sung on The Voice by Cassadee Pope) – entitled Over You. This great partnership in songwriting has resulted in the Country Music Award for best song, one for the ages. Hear the song, Over You once and you hum it for days on end. Check out the other songs on iTunes sung by the artists Blake has mentored on The Voice.
Blake and Miranda were married about a year and one-half ago (May 14, 2011). They dated some 4-5 years before saying their vows. This was his second marriage, her first. Blake is 36 and Miranda is 28.
While they have to be apart frequently due to their hectic schedules, they are rarely separated by more than two weeks at a time. Not allowing more than two weeks of separation is by their design. And given their concert schedules and Blake’s role as a judge on The Voice, it is remarkable and commendable at this stage in their respective careers that they can adhere to this separation timetable!
They both are immensely popular entertainers who have figured out how to make their marriage work. Many describe their marriage as still in the honeymoon phase after a year and a half of marriage. To marriage researchers like us that is a great sign and often a precursor of what is to come in their marriage.
Like most of the thousands of successfully married couples we have interviewed over these past three decades who have lived and worked in all 50 states of the USA, in 47 countries, and on all seven continents of the world, they have reported, love at first sight. The attraction between them was magnetic and soon after they met for the first time they tell of having this unusual feeling that pulled them increasingly together.
The truth is this – love transcends time, space, and distance. Whether Blake and Miranda are together or separated by the limitations of their careers – they love and cherish each other immensely.
We have listened to their interviews, read the many narratives about them, and followed their careers very closely. We are convinced – they are the real deal!
The truth is, Blake and Miranda are Country Music’s poster couple. They are the hottest couple in the country music field. Clearly, they are Country’s super couple! And we dare say, will become a great role model for newly married couples.
Blake’s role on The Voice for these past three years has led to unprecedented popularity for him. And frankly, most folks who watch the show (including us!) have reported that he is the star. His warmth, his caring and his supportive personality come through in his coaching approach and the comments he makes to these young performers. These are important underlying qualities required to have a great relationship in marriage.
Blake just had a Not-So-Family Christmas special on NBC, appeared on a Michael Bublé special on NBC, had a special on the Great American Country channel, and is the reigning superstar on The Voice. Miranda and Blake dominated this year’s Country Music Awards making it a Family Affair. Both Blake and Miranda’s singles and albums fill the charts, continuing to garner award nominations.
Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert have, in our estimation, and based on our 30+ years of research around the world, a marriage based upon the seven criteria for a successful marriage as revealed in Building a Love that Lasts (Jossey-Bass/Wiley). For example, after the wedding ceremony Miranda said, I’m married to my best friend! Looking forward to a lifetime of laughter. The most successfully married couples we have interviewed around the world consider their spouse to be their best friend.
There is no doubt in our minds that Blake and Miranda are superstars in the country music business. But more importantly, they appear to have a great marriage. From all that we have seen and heard, their marriage is one for the ages!
Blake and Miranda are truly Building a Love that Lasts.
By Dr. Charles D. Schmitz and Dr. Elizabeth A. Schmitz
For hundreds of tips to enhance your relationship get the Doctor’s best-selling and multiple-award winning book Building a Love that Lasts: The Seven Surprising Secrets of Successful Marriage (Jossey-Bass/Wiley) Available wherever books are sold.
Winner of the INDIE Book Awards GOLD Medal for Best Relationship Book
Winner of the Mom’s Choice Awards GOLD Medal for Most Outstanding Relationships and Marriage Book
Nautilus Book Awards Winner for Relationships

The Trials and Tribulations of Having Children in a Marriage

By America’s #1 Love and Marriage Experts.
One of the many important caveats about marriage is this – children change the dynamics of a marriage. Make no mistake about that.
Kids! We love them. We cherish them. They bring joy to our lives. When we have children in a marriage, we understand finally, and once and for all, what eternity means. While we are not immortal, we learn the meaning of everlasting life when we are blessed with children. They make us feel like we will live through time. We carry on through them. We know that through them our lives will have meaning beyond our time on this earth.
But our children are also a pain in the butt! They challenge us. They taunt us. They demand much from us. They argue with us. They divide us. They unite us. They run up one heck of a child-care bill!
On the other hand, most %0A” rel=”nofollow”>successful marriages with children wouldn’t want it any other way. They know that without a doubt, their children enrich their lives in innumerable ways. They value their children immensely. But be clear regarding this – successfully married couples with children understand the challenges they pose to a blissful and romantic marital relationship.
You thought your marriage was nearly perfect — And Then…Along Came Kids. To quote Nora Ephron in Heartburn: Having a first child is like throwing a hand grenade into a marriage. When you are responsible for the care of your children you will, without a doubt, take on some enormous stresses.
After more than 32 years of research around the world interviewing successfully married couples, one of our principal conclusions is – the quality of the relationship between husband and wife trumps everything else in a marriage! Get it right and good things follow. Get it wrong and lots of bad things often happen!
And you know why? Without a positive, loving, and thriving relationship between mom and dad, children often don’t prosper, they are not well-adjusted, they don’t do well in school, and they are not as healthy, both physically and mentally.
Our research over the years suggests that there are a number of useful tips that you can use to not only deal with the enormous stress of caregiving, but also strengthen your marriage at the same time. These tips appear on the surface to be simple, but in love, marriage and raising children the Simple Things Matter.
Tips for Parents to Strengthen Your Marriage:
1. Share openly with each other about feelings, emotions and stresses as they relate to caring for your children. In times of stress the tendency is to keep everything bottled up inside or explode at the slightest disagreement. However, this approach will not work if you want your %0A” rel=”nofollow”>marriage to survive and thrive. In successful marriages there are No Sacred Cows. Simply speaking, happily married couples talk about everything. All subjects are fair game. They trust each other. They rely on each other’s good judgment. They depend upon each other for truth and straight talk. They share insights about everything—the good, the bad and the ugly. They are each other’s best friends.
2. Make a conscious effort to keep the flame of your love affair alive with each other everyday. Can you rattle off a list of activities, topics and places you and your spouse include in your personal book of fun and romance? Have you found what clears your mind and gives you an unobstructed view of your world together? What type of priority do you place on making time for fun and romance with each other in your hectic lives? If you cannot answer these questions easily, you need to start today by carving out time to have a romantic date with each other, bring home flowers, get a hotel room, go for a long walk together, drink a bottle of wine watching the sunset, write a love note, and snuggle or in bed a little longer in the morning.
3. Don’t blame each other when things get tough, as casting blame never solved a problem. The blame game doesn’t work in love and marriage. It is destructive. There is a natural tendency in tough times to blame the one you love for your collective misfortune, but people in love don’t blame, castigate, or chastise each other in challenging times. The truth is, there usually is no one to blame for the situation. Someone has to take care of the children and the job just fell to you.
4. Don’t wallow in self-pity; it is a wasted emotion. No problem has ever been solved by feeling sorry for yourself or your situation. Trying to pretend you are the perfect super mom while you are totally overwhelmed can only result in the wasted emotion of self-pity and even more stress. Successful couples grab the bull by the horns and work for solutions – recognizing that running a household is not easy. Making a family work is, clearly, difficult even in the best of times and even more challenging when you are the caregiver for your children.
5. Enhance your love relationship by providing each other occasional time for privacy and aloneness. The recognition of the absolute need for privacy and aloneness is, in our judgment after analyzing thousands of interviews, critical to successful marriages. The amount of time available to satisfy these two needs varies from one marriage to another and from one marriage partner to another, and can increase during times of stress. We live such hectic lives at work, at home and when raising children that the time to be alone with our own thoughts is paramount to our ability to engage in any meaningful communication with each other. The quality of communication can only be enhanced between the two of you after refreshing your mind and spirit with alone time. You have to belong to yourself before you can belong to others. Unfortunately, moms spend so much time caring for others that they don’t take the time to realize their own needs. You can’t take good care of others if you don’t take good care of yourself.
You brought your children into this world with the greatest of love and now you have to balance all of the stresses they bring to your marriage. Your children won’t be with your forever, so enjoy them while you can. Believe it or not they grow up oh so quickly. Cherish those precious moments with your children but remember that — the quality of the relationship between mom and dad trumps everything else.
Creating a %0A” rel=”nofollow”>successful marriage is not always the easiest thing to do. Your visiting our blog suggests you are highly interested in making your marriage work! And truthfully, we have learned over 30 years of marriage research that there are proven effective ways to ensure a happy and healthy marriage. In fact, we took hundreds of tips from the thousands of happy couples we interviewed and put them into our award-winning and bestselling book, Building a Love that Lasts .
Today, you can see how you stack up to the best marriages around the world. Take the Marriage Quiz to assess your chances of achieving a successful marriage of your own and buy How to How to Marry the Right Guy, to find out if your guy has the essential 33 characteristics to be a great husband.
In love and marriage the simple things matter. Love well!
By Drs. Charles and Elizabeth Schmitz
America’s #1 Love and Marriage Experts

The Ten Essential Virtues of Love

By America’s #1 Love and Marriage Experts.
This morning, a great friend of ours sent along an article that we were really taken with. For those who have read our book, Building a Love that Lasts (Jossey-Bass/Wiley 2010), you may recall a chapter entitled, A Tribute to Lasting Love (pp. 259-262). In this chapter we highlighted the wonderful six-decade marriage of Sandy and Pris, whom we had interviewed for our book.
Over the years, Sandy and Pris have been advocates for character education for young people. They have been very philanthropic when it comes to this passion of theirs.
As we thought about the article by Dr. Tom Lickona based in his book entitled Character Matters: How to Help our Children Develop Good Judgment, Integrity, and Other Essential Virtues (Simon & Schuster 2004), we were struck by the similarity of the virtues he believes essential for strong character and the virtues we have discovered in our research over the years about successful loving relationships.
1. The first essential virtue highlighted by Dr. Lickona is wisdom. According to Tom, wisdom is the master virtue that directs all others. Wisdom tells us how to put the other virtues into practice – when to act, how to act, and how to balance different virtues when they conflict such as telling the honest truth even when it might hurt someone’s feelings. We refer to this notion often in our book when we speak of the importance of honesty in our relationships with those we love.
2. The second virtue is justice according to Dr. Lickona. Justice means respecting the rights of all persons. In our book, we refer to this virtue as the Golden Rule – mutual love and respect for each other.
3. The third virtue is fortitude. According to Lickona, fortitude enables us to do what is right in the face of difficulty. Or, more succinctly, doing the hard right instead of the easy wrong. As we discuss in our book, all successful loving relationships have hard times, great challenges, and failures. More importantly, however, those whose love lasts a lifetime have overcome the challenges in life and have been strengthened by them. Overcoming these challenges together makes for a stronger and even more loving relationship. Fortitude is the strength to carry on even when we find it hard in our relationships to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
4. Self-Control is the fourth virtue. In its simplest terms, self-control is the ability and the strength to govern ourselves – to control our temper and to regulate our appetites and passions. It is as Lickona says, the power to resist temptation. All marriages and loving relationships have their temptations. Trust us on that. The successful couples don’t act on their temptations; hence, they survive and thrive. Read the chapter in Building a Love that Lasts entitled Character in Love and Marriage (pp. 9-11).
5. The fifth virtue according to Lickona is love – the willingness to sacrifice for the sake of another. Successful loving relationships quickly learn that their relationship is not about you or me. It is about we and us. We write about these notions extensively in our book. Suffice it to say, people who are truly in love do not spend their time finding fault with each other – they do not spend their time putting down or belittling each other. They find strength in the virtues of each other. They love each other in the truest sense of the word.
6. As the purveyors of positive love, we really like Lickona’s sixth virtue – positive attitude. We once heard a speaker say, If you frown, you frown alone, but a smile is infectious! Maintaining a positive attitude is a great virtue. Who wants to be around negative people? Successful loving relationships work like this as well. If your spouse or your lover is always in a negative mood you will work hard not to be around them. The choice of being negative or positive is ours. Choose positive!
7. Hard work is the seventh indispensable virtue according to Lickona. If you want to be successful in love and life you must work hard. Nothing worth having in a relationship comes easy. You must earn it. Love is something you earn. As we say all the time, the simple things required to make love work take lots of hard work, day in and day out, throughout the life of the loving relationship.
8. Our favorite virtue is integrity. As Lickona says, Integrity is adhering to moral principle, being faithful to moral conscience, keeping your word, and standing up for what we believe. In love and marriage, you don’t cheat on the one you love! You don’t lie to the one you love. You are faithful to the one you love. There are no exceptions to this basic virtue. To truly love someone is to tell the truth to them and to yourself.
9. Dr. Lickona reminds us that Gratitude is often described as the secret of a happy life. We would offer that gratitude is the secret of a successful loving relationship. We must show gratitude for the one we purport to love. We should always take the time to thank those we love for their support, their understanding, their sacrifice for us, and for their love. Always show your gratitude to the one you love. They will love you for it!
10. And finally, the tenth virtue according to Dr. Lickona is humility. Humility makes us aware of our imperfections and leads us to become a better person. And like in love and marriage, humility enables us to take responsibility for our faults and failings (rather than blaming someone else), apologize for them, and seek to make amends. To be truly in love in our opinion requires us to recognize that we are not the center of the universe – that the world does not revolve around us. People who are truly in love, learn from each other, they respect each other, they value each other, and they recognize that in the best loving relationships, personal humility allows us to understand the simple notion that trying to prove you are right when you are clearly wrong, is not a virtue. Trying to win a senseless and pointless argument is not a virtue. It is good to be humble!
We would encourage you to read more of Dr. Lickona’s work and you will see as we do that his essential virtues are, in many ways, a mirror of our seven surprising secrets of a successful marriage.
Simple Things Matter in love and marriage. Love well!
By Dr. Charles D. Schmitz and Dr. Elizabeth A. Schmitz
For more tips to enhance your relationship get the Doctor’s best-selling and multiple-award winning book Building a Love that Lasts: The Seven Surprising Secrets of Successful Marriage (Jossey-Bass/Wiley 2010) Available wherever books are sold.
Winner of the INDIE Book Awards GOLD Medal for Best Relationship Book
Winner of the 2009 Mom’s Choice Awards GOLD Medal for Most Outstanding Relationships and Marriage Book
2009 Nautilus Book Awards Winner for Relationships

The State of Our Unions: Is Marriage in Trouble?

By America’s #1 Love and Marriage Experts.
In Middle America, marriage is in trouble! So say W. Bradford Wilcox of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia and Elizabeth Marquardt of the Center for Marriage and Families Institute for American Values in New York City.
Their just released report entitled, When Marriage Disappears: The New Middle America (The State of Our Unions, Marriage in America 2010) is cause for concern when it comes to the future of marriage in America. Their full report is available at
These are the five major conclusions they draw from their study of thousands of folks:
1. Marriage is an emerging dividing line between America’s moderately educated middle and those with college degrees.
2. Marital quality is declining for the moderately educated middle but not for their highly educated peers.
3. Divorce rates are up for moderately educated Americans, relative to those who are highly educated.
4. The moderately educated middle is dramatically more likely than highly educated Americans to have children outside of marriage.
5. The children of highly educated parents are now more likely than in the recent past to be living with their mother and father, while children with moderately educated parents are far less likely to be living with their mother and father.
The most stunning summary statement of their report reads as follows:
So the United States is increasingly a separate and unequal nation when it comes to the institution of marriage. Marriage is in danger of becoming a luxury good attainable only to those with the material and cultural means to grab hold of it. The marginalization of marriage in Middle America is especially worrisome, because this institution has long served the American experiment in democracy as an engine of the American Dream, a seedbed of virtue for children, and one of the few sources of social solidarity in a nation that otherwise prizes individual liberty.
It probably goes without saying – to marriage researchers like us who have studied successful marriages around the world, including 45 countries on six of the world’s seven continents over the past three decades (Antarctica, the 7th and final continent in January 2012!), the results of this comprehensive study give us much pause for concern. In many ways, the results of Wilcox and Marquardt are distressing. Here’s why.
Just imagine – the most fundamental and central component of American society – the glue of our socialization process for the total of American history (and for the history of much of the world for that matter) – has been marriage. There has been no more important glue for the social structure of America than marriage. Any threat to the sanctity or importance of marriage between two people puts our society at risk.
Think about it – marriage amongst the vast American Middle Class is in decline. It is in decline for a variety of reasons. But in the end, we believe that there is great danger for the Republic when people in love choose to stay single and not make the commitment of love so prevalent in our history as a nation.
As is nearly always the case, those who are college educated have a significantly lower divorce rate than those who don’t, have fewer children born out of wedlock, are more happily and successfully married, and have children more likely to be living with them.
As the authors of When Marriage Disappears tell us, marriage works much better for those who are college educated than those who are not. The message here is clear. Don’t be deluded into thinking that education doesn’t matter when it comes to happiness and successful marriage. Don’t be fooled into thinking that the great social traditions of America will continue without marriage.
Marriage between two people who love each other has been an enduring element in the success of America from the beginning of our great country. But the truth is, our future is in danger if the declines in marriage among America’s Middle Class continue.
Education is always the answer. Make no mistake about that. If America is to endure we must provide educational opportunity for all. And the success of marriage is education-related. Think about it!
We have researched and written about successful marriage around the world for nearly three decades. We have learned what makes marriage work. The results of our research are clear – successful marriages have common and pervasive characteristics, and they can be modeled!
Our hope is that the vast middle class of America will learn the lessons of successful marriage. Successful marriage is simple to understand. Yet, so many involved in the ultimate union of two people do not do the simple things required to make their marriage work. In the end, a successful union between two human beings in love is an accumulation of having done the simple things.
We would encourage our readers to read When Marriage Disappears: The New Middle America. Learn the lessons this report provides. The future of our Union may depend on it.
Simple Things Matter in love and marriage. Love well!
By Dr. Charles D. Schmitz and Dr. Elizabeth A. Schmitz
**For hundreds of practical tips to strengthen your love, read the best-selling and multiple-award winning book Building a Love that Lasts: The Seven Surprising Secrets of Successful Marriage (Jossey-Bass/Wiley 2010) Available wherever books are sold. Learn more about America’s #1 Love and
Marriage Experts
Building a Love that Lasts:
Winner of the INDIE Book Awards GOLD Medal for Best Relationship Book
Winner of the 2009 Mom’s Choice Awards GOLD Medal for Most Outstanding Relationships and Marriage Book
2009 Nautilus Book Awards Winner for Relationships

The Seven Most Common Mistakes Made By Marriage Counselors – Part 1 of 2

By America’s #1 Love and Marriage Experts.
We have studied successfully married couples for over 26 years on six of the world’s seven continents. We have traveled in more countries than we can remember. And while our focus has been on those who have made their marriages work; we are also constantly reminded that some marriages need help. Some marriages need another human being to help them make their marriage survive and thrive.
Some marriages struggle, and from time to time, they need a professional counselor to lend a helping hand. Oftentimes, it’s a Marriage Counselor.
And while most marriage counselors are dedicated, well meaning, and professional, occasionally they make mistakes when helping others who are desperately trying to build a love that lasts.
Here’s what we know – marriage counselors make mistakes ever so often, and their mistakes generally fall into seven categories. We want to address each of those in this words-to-the-wise message.
Here they are in a nutshell:
1. Talking jargon with their clients when Simple Truths are required.
Here’s the bottom line – it doesn’t matter if your marital relationship is at Stage 4. Moreover, does it really matter if your marriage, like most marriages, goes through so-called stages of marriage. How does that knowledge help you? How does that knowledge help your marriage?
The simple truth is, marriages facing challenges need to come to grips with the fact that marriage is not always fair, just, and beautiful. Marriage is simple to understand, but making a marriage work takes lots of hard work. And in the end, a successful marriage is an accumulation of having done the simple things.
There is nothing jargonistic about marriage. Making yours work takes lots of hard work in doing the simple things. Don’t be misled by those who hide behind jargon. The best help a counselor can give you is to help guide you and your spouse through whatever challenges your marriage is facing without resorting to jargon that you don’t understand. Working through the trying times in a marriage is not about the mystical powers of your counselor. Rather, it is about your relationship and their ability to help you and your spouse reach resolution about important issues that confront you.
2. Overly intellectualizing marriage and marital conflict.
Love is an emotion! You can’t intellectualize love. Love cannot always be explained in rational terms. Sometimes, love can’t be explained at all!
Without a doubt, love is something you feel – in your heart, your soul, and in your being. When your relationship needs help, the last thing you need is for someone to tell you that what you and your spouse are feeling with regard to your relationship can be explained by some entry in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (currently referred to as DSM-IV-TR), the most widely-used psychiatric/psychological reference book and standard diagnostic tool used by mental health professionals worldwide.
Don’t get us wrong, the Manual is a great reference source. But in the end, an intellectual tool can’t measure love! Love is an emotion, and the best counselors know this. They act as a guide on the side as you and the one you love address the challenges confronting your marriage. They are not smarter than you. They are not wiser than you. They are trained to facilitate the resolution of a marital conflict.
They are not always successful. In the end, it is your marriage, your emotion, your life, and your future – together or separate. The best marriage counselors help your marriage feel – help your marriage get in touch with the respective emotions of you and your spouse. The best counselors help you understand what love’s got to do with it. They help you feel the emotions that cause you to come to grips with what you want from your marriage. To love is to feel emotion. Love is not intellectual. Don’t let anyone resort to intellectualizing when it comes to your marriage!
3. Being an advocate for a particular marital perspective instead of a guide on the side.
Here’s a truism you can take to the bank – it is not the role of the marriage counselor to be an advocate for anything while counseling you and your spouse about your marital problems!
Frankly, their personal opinions are not relevant to your marriage. Their stories about their marriage, their parent’s marriage, or other marriages they have treated do not matter when it comes to YOUR marriage. Your marriage is, in most ways, unique! The answers you and your spouse are seeking about your marriage are not always informed by the experiences of others.
While common positive themes run through the best marriages, and while there are telltale signs of failing marriages, in the end, each marriage that is in failure is in failure for reasons that are unique to that marriage.
A marriage counselor that assumes your marriage is failing due to anything other than circumstances that are unique to your marriage, is being disingenuous at best, and incompetent at worst. The best marriage counselors are guides on the side and not advocates for any particular perspective. Trust us on this.
Read Part 2 – the final segment of the article, so you can understand the other four common mistakes made by marriage counselors:
The Seven Most Common Mistakes Made By Marriage Counselors – Part 2
Simple Things Matter in love and marriage. Love well!
By Dr. Charles D. Schmitz and Dr. Elizabeth A. Schmitz
Authors of the best-selling book and multiple-award winning book Building a Love that Lasts: The Seven Surprising Secrets of Successful Marriage (Jossey-Bass/Wiley 2010) Available wherever books are sold.
Winner of the INDIE Book Awards GOLD Medal for Best Relationship Book
Winner of the 2009 Mom’s Choice Awards GOLD Medal for Most Outstanding Relationships and Marriage Book
2009 Nautilus Book Awards Winner for Relationships