Anonymity Versus the Truth about Marriage
By America’s #1 Love and Marriage Experts.
Often we wonder, silently and out-loud – why have so many good folks fallen prey to the lies and distortions about marriage in the USA promulgated by so many uninformed people or people with some kind of political agenda? Many times, they have an agenda protected by anonymous acrimony?
Why are so many willing to accept the negative pronouncements about marriage – it is a failed institution; the divorce rate is over 50%; people don’t get married anymore; we can just live together and be happy; good sex is all that matters; and the pronouncements go on.
Recently, we got yet another anonymous proclamation about all of the above – and more! This faceless writer made a lot of reckless claims about the institution of marriage. He or she proclaimed that marriage was all about good sex, that open marriages worked best, and that there was no such thing as a happy marriage.
Clearly, one of the problems associated with the Internet is anonymity. The Internet’s greatest strength (anonymity) is also its greatest weakness.
Here’s what we ask of those who comment anonymously. Have you conducted research about successful marriage for three decades on SIX continents of the world? Have you earned the appropriate academic degrees in the field you purport to know so much about? Have you published widely in the field of marriage?
Trust us, we do not intend to come across as angry or defensive. What we do want is for people to recognize that the practice of anonymity is a double-edged sword! While it is nice to express an opinion anonymously, anonymity does not make you smart, it does not make you informed about that which you speak, it doesn’t make you anything! It only means you have an opinion irrespective of its accuracy.
You see, expressing an opinion is different than having spent time doing the research to draw an honest conclusion. Opinion is just that, an opinion. But the problem is there are a lot of folks out there on the Internet who think that expressing an opinion is an epiphany – a truth that should be accepted at face value! We disagree.
The Internet is a very useful tool. The information you can retrieve from it is voluminous – it is awe-inspiring. And more often than not, it is useful. But here is where opinion ends and the truth begins – there is so much out there that is junk! There is so much on the Internet that is not truthful or reliable.
Now our main point! It is hard for us to see so many uninformed opinions and notions out there about successful marriage. It causes us sleepless nights to know that the opinions of one uninformed and anonymous person gets the same billing in the eyes of the public as a researcher than has spent nearly a lifetime doing research on a topic. In our case, the topic is successful marriage.
In our latest book, Building a Love that Lasts (Jossey-Bass/Wiley), we report on three decades of research on successful marriage on six of the world’s seven continents. We have interviewed thousands of successfully married couples based on one simple notion – you do not learn much about success by studying failure. You learn about success by studying success. Hence, we studied successful marriage around the world. We know what makes successful marriage work! We do not speculate, we do not guess, we do not offer opinions. We only offer the truth of our research findings.
We are sure you would agree – an anonymous opinion does not measure up to an informed and carefully conducted research study. Most people know the difference and that pleases us. All we ask of our many, many wonderful readers is that they weigh and measure carefully what they read, and then ask – is this research or opinion, is this person qualified by virtue of academic training and experience to express the opinions they promote as facts, do these people hide behind anonymity?
Our life’s goal is to share with our thousands of readers the truth about marriage based on the research evidence we have collected over nearly half of our respective lifetimes. In the end, you will know this – 40% or less of marriages end in divorce, not 50%; marriage is one of the most important contributors to social order in the world today; those who live together rather than get married have a higher divorce rate than those who get married; and, while sex is important to a marriage, over the life of the marriage it is NOT the most important contributor to successful marriage. We know these things to be true based on RESEARCH, not on anonymous opinion.
The good news – readers of our various missives know the difference. We are blessed with intelligent, well-informed readers. We go to bed each night thankful for this. Opinions are fun, but facts matter.
In love and marriage the simple things matter in love and marriage. 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