Articles Love In General

Why Passive Aggressive Behavior is so Hard to Grasp When You Are in Love

Why Passive Aggressive Behavior is so Hard to Grasp When You Are in Love

It seems to be a silent but growing epidemic of miscommunication between people in any kind of relationships. If you read forum comments, help requests are popping up everywhere, and the hurt from miscommunication seems to be a shared national pain.
Several factors have contributed to the prevailing attitude of non-confrontational, evasive behavior we can finally call passive aggressive. What happened to old fashioned personal, deep dialogue?
People are now more used to accept loneliness;
we don’t know how to manage confrontations with love and respect;
we can’t accept other people’s negative feedback, etc.
Whatever the reasons to use this confusing art of “talking without getting into anything deep,” let’s look at its impact on marriage.
As you can’t not communicate with others, (we are social beings, remember?) you can communicate with others in such a way that it denies the basic purpose of communication that is to connect people with each other…How?
People say general things, never in a direct way, and let the other person guess the meaning of the words spoken to avoid confusion;
Or change the subject to something neutral like the news, or the weather, all to avoid being present and responsible in the interaction.
People don’t accept responsibility for their own behaviors, and edge, deny, or avoid going deeper into some relational conflict, as to never have to propose needed changes to their own behavior.
In short, some people are officially married but so compromised by their own need to avoid what they consider a dangerous enmeshment with the spouse as to sabotage the real heart of connection, that is simple, direct and responsible conversation.
This is a direct attack to the heart of any love relationship, where developing trust and learning to share our intimate aspects are the tasks we need to learn at this stage of our lives. And the consequences are devastating:
We have women saying of this emotional isolation: I’m single in a marriage with three children…
What do we need to learn of this behavior?
The first point to understand is that this passive aggressive spouse has grown up perfecting a non-relational communication style.
He has a permanent challenge in his mind:
Who can say the most words without giving the other person any personal information of importance?
Who can use language to confuse and disorient the other and make her believe that this is a personal relationship, when in reality is an old battle against some controlling figures of his past?
Who can be the master of this game of gas-lighting the other without paying any price and enjoying all the benefits of being married without being personally engaged?
In this frame of thinking, given that this behavior is a legitimate response developed along time to protect the self against intrusive, demeaning and overly critical parents, the newcomer, (the new bride or wife) has not created it.
Given that being elusive and prone to hiding his emotions, especially his anger is a response learned way back, it is not now a response to her behaviors…it’s his normal response to everything that happens in his world, his marriage included.
Why does she prefers to believe that is her the caused of his morose responses or lack of?
First, he tells her exactly that he is behaving so because she did X;
Second, believing it gives her some power: if she caused this behavior, she can do something to prevent or change it….so with her change will come the right husband she dreams of.
Now, comes the unconscious pact in which both will spend 20-30 years battling each other. Mostly of the women responding to our surveys in the blog share stories of being married for more than 20 years when they finally they realize that the passive aggressive response is always there, that there is no change but minimal, and that they have been alone in a marriage for too long!
Why do they take so long to realize what’s going on?
The confusing impact of passive aggressive language is one powerful reason, because it prevents her insight. She is blinded by her love.
The second one is her relentless hope that she can change their husband by doing better in the house, taking care of this or that aspect, etc.
When everything fails, at least there is power in realizing that:
It is his behavior, adopted to defend himself since his childhood;
There is little or nothing she can do to change it;
She is neglecting her own personal growth in a battle that was lost from the beginning.
When she has the courage to see the real picture, then she can have a plan to develop her own sources of love and companionship.

Articles Marriage Tips

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

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. read more

Articles Marriage Tips

How to Fall In Love Again with Your Spouse

How to Fall In Love Again with Your Spouse

By America’s #1 Love and Marriage Experts.
Let’s face it – we love our spouse more than life itself. And frankly, we cannot imagine life without them! But the truth is, from time to time, our love for each other needs renewal. While love can be forever, it often needs nurturance, recommitment, and an occasional makeover. Love has its season for renewal.
Every so often, our love affair needs rekindling. Every once in awhile, we need to strike another match and rekindle the fire in our relationship. And the simple truth is, sometimes we need to fall in love all over again!
When your marriage starts to stagnate, when it starts to suffer from the doldrums, and when it needs resuscitation, rest assured, there are steps you can take to bring your marriage back.
All marriages go through bumps in the road. Marriage is not always fair, just, and beautiful. Over the past 26+ years, we have interviewed successfully married couples on five continents of the world that have been married for 30-77 years. Frankly, not one of these couples reported that their marriage was consistently at the nirvana level! Every successfully married couple we have studied has reported to us that their marriages had been challenged from time to time. Sometimes, they wanted to throw in the towel with their marriage. But in the end, their desire to save their relationship was more important their desire to call it quits. There are important lessons to learn from these couples.
Learning how to overcome the challenges and make it work is a true testament to why love and marriage can last a lifetime. Sometimes, your marriage and relationship needs nothing more than a check-up. Is it time for your relationship check-up?
All too often, the daily demands of life take us away from time together. But in the end, the relationship between the two of you trumps everything else. Your love for each other and your relationship, one to the other, is truly the fuel that keeps you going.
So here is the question of the day – how do you keep your love alive? How do you fall in love all over again?
Our research on successful marriage suggests five actions you can take to fall in love again – to incur the passion you once knew in your marriage. Here they are in nutshell:
1. Our research has revealed time and time again the importance of the loving touch. The human touch is paramount to the most basic of all human connections. So, the first thing you must do in re-establishing the passion of your relationship is to touch! Touch often. Touch much. Hold hands when you walk. Take turns wrapping around each other in bed at night. Feel the warmth. Feel the love. If you pass your spouse 100 times a day, touch them 100 times. By doing so, you are acknowledging their presence and you are telling them how much you love them. You cannot express love without the human touch. Get started today!
2. Engage in a process that allows you to re-establish the communication links between the two of you. We suggest that you start with these three questions: 1. Why did we fall in love? 2. Why did we get married? 3. What are our hopes and dreams for the future? The communicative links between the two of you are highly important and no love, no marriage, and no relationship will ever be jump-started again without the re-establishment of the communicative ties that bind. Getting serious about communication in your relationship is among your highest priorities. Get started today! Check out our Seven-Week Program for Developing Ongoing Sharing in Your Marriage in the appendix of our book, Golden Anniversaries: The Seven Secrets of Successful Marriage.
3. Work hard to have fun with each other! Dine out at your favorite restaurant. Spend a night in a motel. Take a vacation to Disneyland, just the two of you! Cook a romantic dinner at home. Whatever you do, do something that ignites the passion and the fun! Do something that takes your relationship beyond boring. Do something together that makes your lives exciting and fun-filled. Marriages can fall into the doldrums but it doesn’t have to be that way. Rediscover what makes you excited, what gives you a sense of adventure, and what makes your adrenalin flow! Successful marriages are not boring! Plan a passion starter today!
4. Upend expectancies! Do not always do that which is predictable. Here’s an example. One of the lovely couples we interviewed a few years ago told this wonderful story. Their life together was getting too predictable and too boring. At 85 years of age, they were both entirely too focused on settling in. They would sit in front of the TV, rarely talking, and content with their station in life. Shoot, they were both 85 years old they thought! But as they shared with us, it didn’t have to be that way. When Clarence came home from a golf outing one glorious Sunday afternoon, he was met by his beautiful wife, Grace, at the front door in her altogether. Grace thought, What the heck, if I can’t get him interested in anything but golf and TV, I will just meet him at the door naked. Maybe he will get interested in me! As it turns out, Clarence got the message. Of course, what happened after this homecoming episode they didn’t share with us! The most important lesson is this – Clarence and Grace decided that upending expectancies was a good thing from time to time! Try it. You be surprised at what can happen!
5. Tell your spouse how much you love them and why! Never, we repeat, never, fall into the trap that says, I don’t have to tell him/her I love them, he/she knows I do. Nothing could be further from the truth! People who love people are the luckiest people in the world, of that you can be sure. And to tell the one you love, I Love You and to do it often, makes them even luckier! Never take the one you love for granted. Big mistake! To love people is wonderful. To tell them you love them is amongst the greatest gifts you could ever give. Start today.
You see, the rekindling of love is not so complicated. Don’t make it so. Just take these five simple actions and you will re-ignite your love affair with your mate.
In love and marriage, the
Simple Things Matter. Love Well!
Enjoy receiving our new companion hardback book Simple Things Matter in Love and Marriage at no cost with the purchase of the multiple award winning book Golden Anniversaries: The Seven Secrets of Successful Marriage through special publishers’ closeout of 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
Look for Building A Love That Lasts due out in January 2010 (Jossey-Bass/Wiley)

Articles Love In General

Love the Second Time Around – Falling Back in Love

Love the Second Time Around – Falling Back in Love

By America’s #1 Love and Marriage Experts.
People in love sometimes fall out of love. But sometimes, they fall back into love all over again. While we have seen many instances of this in our interviews over the years, a great example of what we are talking about is the love affair between Tom and Anna.
Tom and Anna were married 4 years and then they got divorced. Hard to tell why, but in the end, they decided they didn’t love each other anymore. For two years after their divorce they didn’t talk to each other. No contact. Nothing. Nada!
Then one day when Tom went to pick up his son (Anna and he shared joint custody), he said, Daddy, Mommy is awfully sick. Mommy was, of course, Tom’s wife of 4 years – the woman he had divorced – it was Anna.
Tom went in the house to check on Anna. She was, indeed, very ill. He got her to a hospital, she was nursed her back to health, and she got well. Tom was thrilled to see Anna healthy again. And a funny thing happened along the way – Tom and Anna fell in love again. Tom and Anna fell in love all over again.
Over time, their relationship regained the flame it had in the beginning, and today they are celebrating their 25th anniversary of their SECOND marriage to each other.
We have found that the case of Tom and Anna is not all that unusual. Sometimes, the flames of love ebb and flow. Sometimes people in love fall out of love, only to fall back into love all over again. Love is funny that way. Love is not always predictable.
Today, Tom and Anna are madly in love! They share many things in common. They love to be together in the great outdoors. They love their beloved St. Louis Cardinals. In fact, each year, Tom makes an elaborate hat to demonstrate his loyalty to the Cardinals. This past year, his hat had replica 2006 World Series Championship trophies all over it. His hat has made him quite a celebrity in St. Louis, home of the Cardinals.
There is hardly a person of importance in St. Louis that Tom, adorned with his Cardinals hat, has not had taken his picture taken with – the mayor of St. Louis, the owner of the Cardinals, the fans, and the guy or gal on the street. Tom has become something of a legend in his own hometown. His hats are recognizable everywhere.
As to Anna – she loves Tom to pieces and shares his love for the Cardinals. Just today, as we enjoyed ourselves at the Cardinals Winter Roundup – an annual event in St. Louis that attracts thousands for the Cardinals charitable wing, Cardinals Care – there was Anna, adorned in her Cardinals collection, having fun with Tom. Everybody was photographing Tom and Anna. They are the stuff of legends. They are the stuff of love.
As we drove home today, we talked a lot about Tom and Anna. We talked about their love affair. We talked about their enduring relationship with each other for 29 years through TWO marriages to each other, and their one divorce from each other, and how, in the end, they have found everlasting love for each other.
Sometimes, love works in strange ways. In the case of Tom and Anna, it worked out well. Falling in love all over again to the same person sometimes works. Just ask Tom and Anna.
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

Articles Love In General

Romance for Marriage Minded People: Fantasy or Reality?

Romance for Marriage Minded People: Fantasy or Reality?

I was interviewed this week for a tele-summit on Passion and Romance. The first question was an interesting one and I wanted to share my answer with you. I was asked, What do you think of Romance? Is it embedded in reality or is it more or a fairy tale concept that no one can ever attain?
Below are some of my thoughts about romance, what it means to be romantic, and what makes someone romantic or not, especially as a marriage minded person.

* Romance is a state of mind – a way of being, the way you look at life and its action- what you do for your partner. For instance, texting your partner, good morning to touch base daily or wanting to plan a weekend getaway is considered thinking romantically.

* Romance is giving special attention to someone you care deeply for. What does that special attention look like? Spending one on one time together where you are delighted to be in each other presence no matter the other demands on one’s life. It’s paying attention to the little things, her favorite coffee, his favorite Italian dish and bringing dinner to her when she has to work late. Looking lovingly at your partner.

* Romantic gestures like giving your sweetheart flowers, writing poetry or love notes and buying gifts makes someone feel special and that she(or he) matters. The effort and time spent planning the gesture is important, as well.

* Romance is as real as you want to make it. There are some people who strive to live a romantic life and they design their life to make it happen. They just need a responsive partner that cares about romance as much as they do.

* There are different degrees of romance. There are the everyday little things you do such as giving her a foot massage or bringing her a box of her favorite chocolates. Then there are the grand gestures that marriage minded people make such as an airplane flying by with a sign saying Will you marry me? at the right planned time and place.

* Personally, I also think that in order to support a romance in your relationship, it requires TIME. This is what many couples are missing with one another- quality time to be romantic and think romantically. Romance takes time and space. Time to ponder and dream, and then create romance opportunities. We have many demands on our time – with more disruptions and the fast pace of life. Both people need to put time and attention into being romantic – that is when the magic happens!

* For marriage minded people there is a no one size fits all to being romantic. Different people respond to different gestures. Take the time to explore what your partner consider romantic and what they enjoy.

So how do you see romance in your life? How do you want your partner to be romantic with you? How can you add some romantic spice to your life? It’s up to you to create the opportunity for passion to occur.
I hope you will join me for my Google Hangout interview on Wednesday, April 1 to learn more about The 3 Keys to Finding Lasting Connection when Dating for Love and Marriage. Sign up to get access at http://motivatedtomarry.com/passionsummit
There is so much more for me to share with you!

Articles Divorce Marriage Tips

What are the Warning Signs of a Failing Marriage?

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

Articles Divorce

10 Reasons Why People Get Divorced

There are many reasons why people get divorced. This article explores some of the most common reasons that cause the end of a marriage.

ADULTERY

It will come as no surprise that adultery is an extremely common reason for divorce. However, research shows that many people are willing to forgive someone for cheating once. If the behaviour is common though, that often spells the end of a marriage. Adultery results in a lack of trust within a relationship. read more

Articles Marriage Tips

Is Your Marriage Suffering From Emotional Infidelity?

* Is Your Marriage Suffering From Emotional Infidelity?

Emotional infidelity occurs when you or your partner become emotionally connected with someone outside your relationship, either in person or on the Internet.
How dangerous to a marriage or committed relationship is emotional infidelity?
One way of looking at emotional infidelity is that it is very dangerous, because it not only takes away time and energy from the marriage, but it can lead to sexual infidelity and possibly to the end of marriage.
Another way of looking at it is that it is a symptom of problems that already exist within a marriage. My experience with the couples that I work with is that, when the primary relationship is not emotionally and physically intimate, each person may be vulnerable to a form infidelity – either emotional and/or physical. Rather than blaming the affair for the problems, why not address the real problem?
Emotional affairs are compelling because it is so easy to be close with someone with whom you have no shared responsibility – no money issues, no children, no chores. It is easy to share your deepest feelings with someone with whom you have no conflict. It is easy to get the good feelings that you get when someone who doesn’t live with you and doesn’t see all your issues thinks you are wonderful. But it is a cop-out – an easy way out of dealing with the real issues at hand. And if this affair does lead to a break up of your marriage and into a new permanent relationship, the chances are you will end up with the same problems! So why waste your time? Why not deal with the problems now?
The primary problem that leads to emotional infidelity is emotional distance between partners. While emotional infidelity is a symptom of emotional distance within the primary relationship, the emotional distance is also a symptom of the deeper issues within the relationship. These deeper issues might be:

* One or both partners trying to have control through anger, blame, and criticism – which are overt forms of control.
* One or both partners trying to have control through care-taking, i.e. giving themselves up and taking responsibility for the other person’s feelings – which is a covert form of control.
* One of both partners withdrawing and resisting being controlled by the other partner.
* Neither partner taking emotional responsibility for his or her own feelings of pain and joy. Each partner abandoning themselves – with self-judgment and ignoring their feelings through addictions, and/or making the other responsible for their feelings.
* Power struggles that result from the control and resistance dynamic and an inability to resolve conflict. The relationship system that develops, when neither partner takes responsibility for his or her own feelings, and when each partner tries to have control in overt or covert ways, grinds down the love until each person feels disconnected from their partner and lonely in the relationship. This is when they are susceptible to emotional infidelity.
However, these patterns do not disappear just because you move into another relationship. You take your overt and covert forms of control with you into any relationship, as well as your underlying fears of rejection and fears of engulfment that underlie these forms of control. These patterns don’t generally show up early in a relationship or in an emotional or physical affair, but that doesn’t mean they are gone. If your new relationship were to become your committed primary relationship, these patterns would again surface.
Why waste what might turn out to be a wonderful relationship by not dealing with your fears, controlling patterns, and self-abandonment now, in your current relationship? Instead of addictively looking to someone else to fill up your emptiness and take away your aloneness and loneliness, why not learn to do this for yourself so that you can break your dysfunctional patterns and become the loving human being that you are capable of being? Imagine the wonderful relationship you and your partner might have if both of you were to learn how to take responsibility for your own feelings and your own ability to love!

Articles Marriage Tips

How to Fight Fair in a Marriage

How to Fight Fair in a Marriage

By America’s #1 Love and Marriage Experts.
We are often asked this question – Is arguing healthy for a marriage? The simple answer is, Yes! When a husband and wife argue, they are engaging in a perfectly normal and expected part of what it means to be married. In fact, disagreement between two people in love is actually healthy for their relationship. To argue or not argue is NOT the question! The question should be, How do we argue effectively and fairly?
Learning how to fight fair and to make appropriate compromises will go a long way towards keeping a relationship strong. Compromise is rarely ever 50/50. Some days it is 90/10; some days it is 60/40; and some days it really is 50/50.
The truth is, compromise is part of what marriage is all about. Whether it is what to make for dinner, what movie to see, when to have children, where to live or what color to paint the living room, the two of you have to make the decisions together that both of you can support after the decision is made. Sometimes arguments can actually – pardon the pun – get to the heart of the matter.
Our interviews with successfully married couples around the world have revealed to us that unilateral decision-making on the part of one partner or the other, more often than not, exacerbates the debate and makes it less likely that a mutually agreeable resolution is possible.
Fighting and arguing are just as much a part of marriage as sex. It is a natural part of relating to another human being.
Over the years, our thousands of interviews with successfully married couples around the world have revealed seven rules of engagement for fighting fair and they are:
1. Fight in a calm manner. That means don’t shout or throw things or rant about the situation. Think about what you are going to say before it actually comes flowing out of your mouth. Keep your body language in tact. In other words, don’t take a position of anger or be mad or hostile before a single word is even spoken. Relax as much as you can and try to put down the anger you are feeling to keep a calm demeanor.
2. No name-calling or ugly verbiage about your spouse. Don’t let the argument degrade into a battle of personal insults. It doesn’t address the issues and can do lasting damage to your relationship with each other even if you didn’t mean what you said. You can’t take back your words!
3. You are an adult, act like it. Don’t have a temper tantrum! Don’t just sit there looking mad without saying anything. Engage in the conversation with the thought of how can we solve this problem together as adults.
4. Keep the argument logical and focused on the issues at hand. Don’t wander off topic to old battles or old scars. Determine what the problem is, what issues need to be dealt with and what are the possible solutions. If you focus on determining which solution would work best, it keeps you moving towards an end result, rather than diverting your attention to negative side issues.
5. Don’t cast blame. It doesn’t matter who is right or wrong. It doesn’t matter whose fault it is. You share the problems together and you have to share the solutions together. What you discover is that when you figure out how to solve the problem and you can arrive at a solution by working as a team, the two of you can tackle anything that comes your way.
6. Don’t hold grudges. As soon as the issue has been resolved, forget it and move on. The worst thing you can do is resurrect old arguments in the context of a new one. That means no gloating if you were right and no reminding him or her constantly about how mad you still are. Couples with great marriages tell us that they have a short memory when it comes time to their past arguments. In fact, when asked, they can’t even remember what they were arguing about or who did what to whom. That is the way it should be.
7. As we have said many times before, NEVER go to bed mad at each other. Settle your fight before you go to bed, no matter how long it takes. You can defer the ultimate decision on an issue until further discussion the next day, but you can’t go to bed mad at each other! This is the number one piece of advice given to us by the thousands of happily married couples that we have interview over the past 30 years around the world.
Remember, it is perfectly okay to argue and debate with your spouse. Better solutions are often arrived at when you engage in wholesome debate. Learning how to argue effectively is critically important to a healthy marriage and to a healthy relationship.
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

Articles Love In General Marriage Tips

Love, Laughter and Marriage: Why Laughter is Vital to a Healthy Relationship

Love, Laughter and Marriage: Why Laughter is Vital to a Healthy Relationship

Two happily married couples, together for over fifteen years:
“If I had to pick out one thing that has made the difference in our marriage, I guess it would be that he makes me laugh.” ~Sarah
“We just enjoy each other’s company. We’re playful and tease each other in a light-hearted way. Life can be so hard, and finding ways to make each other smile seems to be the antidote for us.” ~Hal
Two couples struggling to stay together:
“We used to have so much fun. It’s been years since we laughed together. I don’t know what happened.” ~Michael
“Everything between us is so serious now. It used to be that I couldn’t wait to get home after a hard day at work and unwind with Steve… To be honest, now I have more fun with my friends.” ~Terri
Spouses and partners who learn to laugh together have important advantages over couples who do not share the carefree abandon of laughter.
Is laughter a panacea that will cure all your relationship problems? Of course not, but making the conscious choice to incorporate laughter and humor into your relationship (whether you and your partner are naturally funny or not) offers several benefits.
Marriage Help: 5 reasons you should make your spouse/partner laugh:
1. Laughter fosters a sense of playfulness and shared abandon
Children, unencumbered by the adult restrictions maturity demands, are naturally playful and laugh often. This energy is contagious. Unfortunately, this spontaneous source of energy is often forced underground as we age and many adults seem to lose their connection to this vitality. When you and your partner laugh together, you tap into this energy pool and recapture the special liveliness of childhood. Laughter is an energy source that can be used to invigorate your relationship.
2. Laughter forges a positive bond
The following pattern seems painfully familiar to many couples: When you’re first dating, your relationship seems to transcend everyday life: it feels like an antidote to stress, a buffer against life’s inevitable struggles. Over time and as the relationship becomes an ingrained part of the daily grind we call life, the union that once offered a thrilling, escapist comfort now becomes more and more associated with the reality of stress.
This is especially the case when most of your time spent together involves navigating the pressures and stresses of life, without the respite of playfulness. Shared pleasures are often lost as couples forget to balance the stressful and the pleasurable. Learning to laugh together—setting the goal to make each other smile and laugh—breaks these negative associations that can wear down your relationship.
3. Laughter brings greater perspective
Have you ever said something so absurd during an argument that you made yourself (and your partner) laugh? And to your surprise, the argument quickly became irrelevant. Laughter quickly elevates your mood and gives you the emotional distance needed to view events in a new light. Life’s daily stresses are more tolerable when laughter becomes part of your routine.
People who take themselves too seriously (and lack any sense of playfulness) live with an emotional heaviness that is felt by others—everything seems to become weighted down with an overbearing immensity. Seriousness has an important place in life and love—but so does lightheartedness.
4. Laughter reduces defensiveness and opens you up to new experiences.
We all protect ourselves emotionally. Psychological defenses are like the seatbelt and airbags in your car—your defenses are designed to prevent injury and cushion the blow when faced with something that is potentially painful. But the same defenses that protect you in one context also come at an emotional cost–especially when your defensive barriers prevent you from making genuine contact with someone who has your best interests in mind, like a loving and supportive spouse/partner.
When you and your partner laugh together, you put your defenses on hold and open yourself up to a new kind of connection with your partner. In this context, laughter deepens emotional intimacy and allows greater trust to take hold.
5. Laughter acts as a buffer to stress
Have you ever laughed so hard and then thought or said, “I really needed that!”?
Laughter acts as a much needed, temporary respite from the pressures of life. It can recharge your emotional battery (and your relationship’s battery), it’s a safe and effective way to release pent-up physical and emotional tension, and laughter reduces stress hormones while increasing the feel-good endorphins in your brain. It seems as though laughter is just plain good for you.
Laughter acts as a protective buffer to the inevitable stresses that couples face.
Simple ways to incorporate laughter into your marriage or relationship:
Now that you see laughter has numerous benefits for your relationship, the next step is the most important: begin creating moments of mutual enjoyment and pleasure. And while you’re at it, make each other laugh.
Lacking a “natural” sense of humor is no excuse. Here are just a few suggestions to get you started:
Rent a funny movie or television series; go to a comedy show; play fun/silly board games with each other and invite friends into the laughter; read a book of jokes together or look for jokes-of-the-day on the Internet; develop your own David Letterman-like top 10 list; ask friends if they’ve heard any good jokes and share them with your partner; tickle each other; share a humorous story from your childhood; do something novel and fun together; look for the absurdity and humor in life…
But most importantly: work on creating a light-hearted mindset that will invite laughter into your marriage or relationship.
The good news is that laughter is contagious. So you’ll naturally feel good when your partner laughs; and s/he will feel good when you laugh.
This is a serious challenge for many couples, especially if there has been a history of conflict and hurt feelings. The effective use of humor and laughter involves good timing—you and your partner should agree on a mutual laughter-commitment. (Telling jokes while your partner is angry with you for being insensitive isn’t useful or funny).
So what are you waiting for? Laughter—and a healthy relationship—await!
To discover more relationship tips, visit StrengthenYourRelationship.com/ and sign up for Dr. Nicastro’s FREE Relationship Toolbox Newsletter.
As a bonus, you will receive the popular free reports: “The four mindsets that can topple your relationship” and “Relationship self-defense: Control the way you argue before your arguments control you.”

Articles Marriage Tips

Seven Tips to Avoid the Seven Year Itch

Seven Tips to Avoid the Seven Year Itch

By America’s #1 Love and Marriage Experts.
According to the available research evidence, there are several periods in a marriage that seem, on average, to be particularly troublesome – the first year, the seventh year, the fifteenth year, and the 30th year. Marriages that survive and thrive beyond 30 years have virtually no chance of ending in divorce!
Our focus in this article is the Seven-Year Itch, so widely reported in the popular media. Data from the U.S. Census Bureau would suggest that the Seven-Year Itch is, in fact, real.
Some of the most interesting facts about marriage and divorce have come from the U.S. Census Bureau.
Several years ago, the Census Bureau issued a press release entitled Most People Make Only One Trip Down the Aisle, But First Marriages Shorter. The fact reported in the press release that piqued our interest the most was: On average, first marriages that end in divorce last about eight years. This is the phenomenon often called the Seven-Year Itch.
The more basic question is, how do you stay faithful to the one you love and keep your loving relationship healthy and strong so it survives. We offer these seven tips to help you avoid the Seven-Year Itch and become one of those couples building a love that lasts:
1. Understand that the occasional temptation to betray the trust of the one you love through infatuation with another person is a perfectly normal feeling when it comes to love and marriage. Being infatuated with another person doesn’t make you less human. Accept that these feelings are natural.
2. Actually acting on the feelings of infatuation and temptation impulses is not normal and destroys the underlying foundation of a marriage. Take time to fully think through the consequences before you make that choice. There is no mistake about it, cheating on your spouse is deadly to the trust in your relationship.
3. Recognize that continuing and recurring fantasies and infatuations about another person is a strong indicator of something amiss in your relationship with your spouse.
4. The turn the corner rule —is to address the issue head-on with your loving partner. Failure to do so will doom your relationship to the ash-heap of lost love.
5. Love takes hard work. Frankly, sometimes you determine that your loving relationship is lost. But more likely, you discover that you truly love your spouse. You must save this relationship by committing to the hard work it will take to rebuild the love.
6. Seek help! Sometimes couples turn to a marriage counselor. Others learn how to make their relationship work by reading what others, including us, have discovered. You can learn so much about your relationship by discovering what others have already learned!
7. Sometimes you have to fish or cut bait. The reality is that some marriages cannot be saved. But hopefully an examination will reveal your relationship is worth saving. You should always work towards that end if you are to avoid the Seven-Year Itch.
In love and marriage the simple things matter.
By Dr. Charles D. Schmitz and Dr. Elizabeth A. Schmitz
For %0A” rel=”nofollow”>marriage advice and hundreds of practical tips, 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

Articles Dating Tips

What Does Love Look Like?

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 Amazon.com 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 SelfGrowth.com 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!

Articles Marriage Tips

Why Snoring Is The Silent Relationship Killer

Why Snoring Is The Silent Relationship Killer

Why Snoring Is The Silent Relationship Killer
Snoring isn’t called ‘the silent relationship killer’ because it doesn’t make any sound. On the contrary, the sometimes raucous sounds that are called snoring could often rival a freight train going through the bedroom! Snoring has earned the name ‘silent relationship killer’ in my new ebook “Is Snoring Destroying Your Relationship While You Sleep?” because it stealthily causes damage (sometimes irreparable) to a relationship without a couple being aware or failing to acknowledge that snoring is at the root cause of their anger, irritation and discontent.
To begin with, a person doesn’t snore on purpose and can often feel guilty along with the feelings of isolation, frustration and hopelessness. A snorer typically isn’t even aware they are doing it until their partner (the snoree) irritatingly punches them out of a sound sleep during the night or demands that they move to another room, then angrily reports their snoring to them the next morning. Most people who snore believe there isn’t anything they can do about it or they become so defensive about the issue that they refuse to do anything about it. And snoring has just silently taken one big chunk out of the relationship.
The snoring continues and the snoree loses sleep (or can’t get to sleep in the first place) because of the noise that is being emitted on the other side of the bed. When sleep is lost night after night, feelings of anger, frustration and resentment begin to build against the offender. And snoring takes another healthy chunk out of the relationship…which at this time is begin to limp because of the now fragile nature of both parties.
In a desperate attempt to try to get a full night’s sleep, one partner will come to bed later than the other. These separate bed times mean that the intimate moments where a couple has the chance to talk and share their day’s experiences or have ‘cuddle times’ together or share laughter become fewer and fewer until they don’t exist. And making love becomes a distant memory. With both conversational and physical intimacy times declining, there goes another large chunk out of the relationship.
When separate bed times don’t work because the snoring still wakes the snoree out of a sound sleep, separate bedrooms become the only option they can see. And the separation between the couple, not only in their sleeping arrangements but in their closeness, creates a huge chasm between them. And as this pattern continues, snoring consistently chews away at the relationship until there is nothing left. Yet the couple blames a myriad of other things, never putting the blame where it belongs…on the stealthy relationship killer called snoring.
The most alarming part of this whole scenario is that snoring is often accepted or seen as something that ‘just is’ instead of being recognized as a problem that a couple can work on together to find a solution. There are over 300 snoring aids or snoring remedies on the market and along with lifestyle changes or natural cures for snoring, couples don’t have to ‘deal with it,’ but can actually eliminate snoring from their lives and their
relationships. The reasons for snoring are many, but the end result of snoring is usually the same – a frayed, damaged or destroyed intimacy and relationship.
Jennifer Ross-Taylor
Snoring Relationship Author
http://snoring.lotsforall.com
Please Note: The author of this article has authorized its distribution with the requirement that it be published in its entirety, without changes, including the author’s resource box.
Please respect the author’s wishes by getting their permission to reprint their articles if
they so request.

Articles Love In General Marriage Tips

Love And Marriage: Do They Really Go Together?

*Love And Marriage: Do They Really Go Together?

Do love and marriage really go together like a horse and carriage? For some they do but for many they don’t.
Why not? Why does love seem to die away in so many marriages?
At the beginning of most relationships that eventually lead to marriage, the couple falls in love and believes that this love will last forever. These two people are so open with each other and their love flows so freely that they can’t imagine that their love may not last.
Yet, after the 3-6 month honeymoon period that most people have at the beginning of a new relationship, many people start to experience problems in the relationship. They may marry anyway, hoping marriage will solve these problems, only to find that the problems may get worse.
Unless you and your spouse both grew up with parents who knew how to take full, 100% responsibility for their own feelings, you have never had a role model of what this looks like in a primary relationship. The chances are you entered your marriage with expectations of how your partner was going to make you happy, take away your loneliness, and fill your emptiness. The beginning of your relationship might have felt good as the two of you tried to do this for each other.
The flaw here is that someone else can’t do this for you, no matter how much they might want to. Happiness and inner fulfillment come from how you treat yourself and others, not from how others treat you. Certainly it feels wonderful to feel loved, valued and respected, but if you are not valuing, loving and respecting yourself, you will soon feel that your spouse is not meeting your needs.
For example, if you are a person who is self-critical, if you ignore your own feelings and do not take responsibility for them but instead blame others for them, then no matter how loving your partner is to you, you will not feel happy or loved.
Most people are on good behavior at the beginning of a relationship, trying hard to please each other. But this can’t last when you are not taking responsibility for yourself. Invariably, no matter how hard you or your partner try to please each other, neither of you will feel loved when you are not taking responsibility for your own feelings of pain, joy, happiness, and inner peace.
Once your marriage starts to experience problems, this is a wonderful opportunity for both of you to do the inner work you didn’t know you needed to do before getting married. This is the opportunity for you to learn how to take 100% responsibility for your own feelings of pain and joy.
To begin this process, you might want to download our Free Course at our website. Learning how to take responsibility for your feelings is a process that takes practice, but with time and patience, you can learn to do this if you want to.
When two people learn how to take responsibility for their own feelings and stop making their spouse responsible for their pain and joy, they become filled up with love. Only when you are bringing love into yourself do you have love to share with your partner. If you are trying to love your partner without loving yourself, you may end up feeling unloved and resentful, as your partner may not be loving you in the way you want and need to be loved. Only you can do this for yourself.
Loving yourself through taking responsibility for your own feelings is the cake and your partner’s love is the icing on the cake. There is no place for the icing if you are not creating the cake.
Love and marriage do go together, but only when each person is loving themselves enough – through taking responsibility for their own pain and joy – to have love to share with each other.

Articles Divorce Marriage Tips

Can You Imagine Life Without Your Spouse?

At the end of every interview we conduct with happily and successfully married couples we ask the most powerful question of our interview protocol – Can you imagine life without your spouse?

The question always draws tears to the eyes of the couple we are interviewing. We have asked them a question they have repressed. It is a question no loving couple wants to think about. The answer is, however, nearly always the same – No! read more

Articles Marriage Tips

How to Know if Your Marriage is in Trouble

How to Know if Your Marriage is in Trouble

By America’s #1 Love and Marriage Experts.
In our thousands of interviews around the world over the past three decades, we have discovered many truths. Among these are the warning signs of a failing marriage and relationship.
The telltale signs of a relationship going down the tubes are very clear. We want to share them with you because while most marriages are worth saving, there are times when getting out of a bad relationship maybe in your best interest!
Here are the five warning signs of a failing relationship:
1. You feel better when he is not with you than when he is. Just imagine, you find yourself rejoicing when the person you purport to love is NOT with you. Needless to say, this is a clear warning sign you cannot ignore. Pay close and careful attention to your feelings, as they will not, under normal circumstances, betray you.
2. When you roll over in bed at night and see his back in front of you, you are repelled – you are repulsed. You are repulsed by his smell, his physical presence, and who he is as a person. These feelings are all too common in failing marriages. You should heed the warning!
3. Lately, you have been constantly reminded that he does NOT respect you – as a person, as a human being, or as partner. He disrespects you at every turn. And the sad truth of all this is the following – he demonstrates that the only person’s opinion that matters to him is, HIS! Get smart, this guy has to go. Always remember you cannot change him!
4. It is clear that you do not really love him anymore. You pretend he is the love of your life, but do not feel it in your heart. In fact, you find his love a burden, a negative, and exasperating! To love someone is to feel a high level of reciprocation in that relationship. When you no longer love him, does it matter whether he loves you?
5. Finally, it is always about the donuts and the movies! Here’s the deal – making decisions in a loving relationship is a democratic proposition. Make no mistake about it, the best loving relationships are characterized by democracy in their relationship. If you are in a relationship where HE makes all of the important decisions, you are in a BAD relationship. When you go to a donut shop or a movie, does he always ignore your suggestions? And worse yet, when you say you would like a chocolate donut does he order a French Cruller? When you say you would like tickets to the Avengers does he buy tickets for Men in Black 3?
In the end, there are warning signs – there are clearly stated expositions about the truth of your relationship. In the end, you need to know when your relationship is over.
Heed the warnings!
In love and marriage the simple things matter.
By Dr. Charles D. Schmitz and Dr. Elizabeth A. Schmitz
For %0A” rel=”nofollow”>marriage advice and hundreds of practical tips, 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

Articles Marriage Tips

Love, Marriage, and Prenuptial Agreements

Love, Marriage, and Prenuptial Agreements
By Dr. Charles D. Schmitz and Dr. Elizabeth Schmitz
“the marriage doctors” and Authors of the Book
Golden Anniversaries: The Seven Secrets of Successful Marriage

We believe that Prenuptial Agreements are a bad idea, period! Just imagine, telling someone that you love him or her, but you don’t trust them! To us, this is analogous to having two separate checking accounts in a marriage — one for him and one for her. In both cases it becomes a case of yours and mine. Or, how about this, I love you with the following conditions. Whatever happened to US? We? Love without conditions?


Frankly, we don’t believe that the true meaning of “marriage” allows for this sort of duplicitous relationship between two people who say they love each other. True love means true love. You can’t have a bonifide loving and successful marriage or relationship when you have a Prenuptial Agreement! People who invented this concept don’t know anything about real love and real relationships. Only people with an agenda would encourage something so anti-love, so anti-relationship, and so anti-marriage. read more

Articles Marriage Tips

Sexless Marriage

Sexless Marriage

The extent of the research and the methodology employed far surpassed any study before it. Published by the University of Chicago in 1994, the public version of the report was provocatively titled Sex in America. The scientific version carried the duller title of The Social Organization of Sexuality. Though all sex studies are controversial, this one did its homework in its attempt to avoid research flaws and to get as true a representation of America as possible. Trained workers interviewed 3,432 scientifically randomly selected American men and women across America between the ages of 18 and 59.
One unexpected finding was that sex is not happening as much as most folks thought. The research indicates “about a third have sex with a partner at least twice a week, a third have sex with a partner a few times a month, and the rest have sex with a partner a few times a year or have no sexual partners at all.” How do those numbers change if you leave out singles and consider only those that are married? It seems that 20% of married couples between the ages of 18 and 59 have sex with each other ten times or less per year. Another 15% have sex with each other about twice a month or less. The ten time or less couples are often referred to as no-sex marriages (or sexless marriages) and the about twice a month group as low-sex marriages. In this article, we’ll combine them into the term sexless marriages.
Why should sexless marriages concern Christians? First, there is a Biblical imperative that should prevent Christian couples from having sexless marriages, but they exist anyway. Second, ample research exists to show that marital satisfaction and sexual satisfaction rise and fall together. If one or both mates are sexually dissatisfied, that negatively affects their satisfaction with their marriage as a whole. Third, medical science has found that those having sexual fulfillment benefit medically in important ways. If we believe that Christians must take care of their bodies, then we should believe that they must be sexually active in their marriages. Fourth, pornography. It may be that a sexless marriage increases temptation for porn usage. On the other hand, porn usage may lead to a sexless marriage. Either way, sexual fulfillment in marriage either affects or is affected by porn usage.
Biblical Imperative
Though some claim that sex is immaterial in a Christian marriage, Paul said that it is. The husband should fulfill his wife’s sexual needs, and the wife should fulfill her husband’s needs. The wife gives authority over her body to her husband, and the husband gives authority over his body to his wife. Do not deprive each other of sexual relations, unless you both agree to refrain from sexual intimacy for a limited time so you can give yourselves more completely to prayer. Afterward, you should come together again so that Satan won’t be able to tempt you because of your lack of self-control. (1 Corinthians 7:3-5, New Living Version)
Though not often preached from modern pulpits, this is a command of God. Depriving a spouse of sexual fulfillment is wrong. It is a sin.
How often is enough to obey this command? There may be an answer to that in the health benefits discussed below.
Marital Satisfaction
Many studies could be cited, but common sense and observation told us this before any social scientist tested the hypothesis; marital satisfaction and sexual satisfaction go hand in hand. Interestingly, as far as the social sciences are concerned it is somewhat of a chicken and egg question. Does a couple’s increased marital satisfaction lead to increased sexual satisfaction, or is it the other way around? I’m currently researching that question through the auspices of the University of Sydney (Australia).
My work with thousands of marriages indicates that when one is not satisfied with the marriage, s/he seldom is satisfied with sex in that marriage. Also, if either spouse is not satisfied with the sex in the marriage, s/he is not satisfied with the marriage either. Maybe it’s so symbiotic that one cannot exist without the other for most couples. One thing is sure, if a husband or wife is dissatisfied with the sexual relationship in the marriage – too little, not sensual enough, too much emphasis on the sensual, poor skills, body no longer in shape, hygiene, hang-ups, you name it – then that person is usually not terribly satisfied with the marriage itself.
God commanded us to fulfill each other sexually in our marriages. Science shows it is a factor in marital satisfaction. If the church believes that divorce is bad and staying married is good, then the church should be clearly teaching the Bible’s sexual command for sexual fulfillment.
Health Benefits
A great deal of study has been done around the world as to the medical affects of achieving fulfillment in a sexual encounter. There isn’t room to cite all the studies, but if you wish to know more a good source is a book published by The Johns Hopkins University Press, The Science of Orgasm.
An Israeli study found that women who regularly reach fulfillment are less likely to have a heart attack. There is associated research from other places in the world that address decrease in the likelihood of endometriosis, reduction of the intensity of cramps, and the like. From sexual interaction with the man there are also benefits that reduce the likelihood of breast cancer.
A British study found that men who regularly reach fulfillment are less likely to have a fatal heart attack. Other studies show that they are less likely to have prostate cancer.
Each time a man or woman reaches fulfillment, oxytocin releases into the brain and body in quantities that promote bonding between the two people. The more a married couple have sexual fulfillment (each of them fulfilled), the more they bond with each other; they become closer and more attached.
Additionally, with each achieved fulfillment, stress reduces, anxiety reduces, and the body’s ability to handle pain improves.
How often are the fulfillments that have good health effect taking place in these studies? Think of it this way, the male body produces a new batch of sperm about every 72 hours; that’s the way God made men. If fulfillment were achieved on average every 72 hours, that would be about two to three times per week. That’s about the average that most of these studies found to be medically beneficial. It appears that God made us to have sex with our spouses two to three times per week and that each of us should reach fulfillment. In marriages where that frequency occurs, not only are there health and emotional benefits, but satisfaction with the marriage increases, as indicated earlier. Taking care of one’s body, especially in sexual fulfillment, also helps take care of one’s marriage. It all ties together.
Porn
I realize the danger in discussing this because far too many women have suffered self-doubts about their appearance and ability as a result of their husbands turning to pornography. A lady once told me that she wished she had the money to have plastic surgery from the top of her head to the bottom of her feet so that her husband would want to look at her rather than those women on the Internet. Be assured that I do not in any way wish any woman or man to take blame for the sins of a spouse. Porn addiction is just that; an addiction. Drunks who claim their spouses drove them to drink are just as ridiculous as porn addicts who claim their spouses drove them to porn. Each person makes his or her own decisions. No one makes us addicts; we do it to ourselves.
Also, in this age many enter marriage with a distorted view of sex, sexuality, and sexual fulfillment. The more that people are exposed to porn before they are married, the more likely they are to believe that there are men and women who are always craving sex and that will do anything, anywhere, at any time. Boys and girls who have this as their teacher about what sex will be like in marriage are in for a great disappointment and, very likely, a lot of anger when they realize that their spouse isn’t like that. No one is. Not even the porn actors. If a person enters marriage with that expectation then his or her spouse is going to find it nearly impossible to please them sexually. Intense and repetitive education, maybe therapy, perhaps a miracle will work, but the other spouse trying to live up to this spouse’s fantasy won’t.
With that said, allow me to share a few thoughts about how a married couple might use sexual fulfillment to overcome pornography.
In the passage cited earlier, 1 Corinthians 7:3-5, note that a major reason to sexually fulfill each other in marriage is so that Satan won’t be able to tempt you because of your lack of self-control. God put our sexual drives within us. He knows how powerful that drive is and how a human that is sexually unfulfilled has a greater likelihood of yielding to temptation. That’s not a new thought; it’s in the verse. If I refuse my spouse the sexual fulfillment that she needs, I am a part of increasing her susceptibility to sexual temptation. If she sins, it is her choice, but this passage states that I helped her become vulnerable to that choice.
In our culture, men don’t have to find lovers or go to prostitutes if they seek sexual fulfillment outside their homes. With the advent of the Internet, porn is readily available and can be viewed in relative secrecy. I have heard from many men and many women that they feel justified in their usage of porn because there is little to no sexual fulfillment in their marriages and porn keeps me from doing something bad with a real person. If a wife is not actively involved in sexually fulfilling her husband, or if he is not actively involved in sexually fulfilling her, then yielding to the temptation of porn becomes easier for the unfulfilled spouse. It doesn’t make it right but it can make a person more susceptible. Of course, nothing justifies sin, but perhaps there is a way to de-porn at least some, if not many, of those who have yielded to this temptation. How? By obeying 1 Corinthians 7:3-5.
This does not mean that a wife becoming a sexual tigress will automatically eliminate her husband’s addiction if he is addicted to porn. Addictions require special help to overcome and no matter how sexually intriguing she becomes, he will return to his addiction until he receives the proper help to heal. She is not the cause of his addiction nor is she the one to heal it. (Change gender in the above sentences if the wife is the addict which can be the case.)
However, it does mean that if a husband or wife is using porn as an occasional outlet for pent up sexual drive or frustration, his or her porn usage may well be precluded by a fulfilling sex life in their marriage.
So, how does a couple do that? What does a Christian wife do to be what her husband needs sexually? What does a Christian husband do to be what his wife needs sexually?
This is the succinct answer: Make lovemaking fun, warm, and regular. You can do anything that both of you wish to do that doesn’t involve another person in reality or fantasy, doesn’t involve bestiality, and doesn’t harm the other. That sums up the Biblical prohibitions. What makes sex right is having it within the confines of the right relationship, marriage as God intended. What makes it wrong is having it with someone outside the confines of that right relationship. But we must realize that a sex deficient marriage is something that will harm our relationship with our spouse and act to keep our spouse fulfilled as Paul said in 1 Corinthians 7:3-5.

Articles Dating Tips Marriage Tips

What is the Best Valentine’s Day Gift?

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

Articles Divorce Marriage Tips

Why Some Marriages Last and Others Don’t!

Why Some Marriages Last and Others Don’t!

Some marriages work and some don’t. After divorce, people begin to TRY to decipher the difference so we don’t make the same mistakes when we re-marry! So what is the difference between couples that make it through the challenges of life and those that don’t? Discover the 3 core elements that need to be present in order for a marriage to sustain the pressures of life!
People are always pondering about what makes one marriage last over another. What is it that leads to divorce? If you’ve been married once before, like I have, then you can almost become obsessed with this question – as I have over the years! We worry about remarriage. Some people are so afraid, that they never get remarried, and some people roll the dice, hoping for the best!
So let me start by asking this question: If you squeeze an orange, what comes out? Do you get lemon juice? Grapefruit juice? No! You get orange juice! Relationships are like an orange. When pressure is applied, what comes out is what is already on the inside. Nothing else.
So what is the difference that makes the difference? What are the components that keep the marriage lasting? In the early years of my marriage to my husband, I was very analytical. Always looking for the difference because I didn’t want to make the same mistake again. I wanted this one to last.
At first, I deduced that the reason for my failed marriage (when all was said and done) was because he just wanted to live a different life than I did. However, as I started working with more and more couples, I started to notice a pattern. Yes, there are specific core traits of successful couples!
1. Admiration. Successful couples truly admire each other. But even when things are crazy, they really have a mutual admiration for who they are, deep down inside. I was working with a couple the other day, and the husband was talking about a troubling situation they were dealing with as a blended family. As he was speaking, his wife just watched and listened and there it was on her face – the look of admiration! He didn’t see it because he was engrossed in the story, but there it was!
2. Respect. Successful couples have respect for each other. Sometimes, when we are dealing with stress in our life and/or family, we might not be at our best. We can behave disrespectfully, because we are angry or frustrated or whatever! That is different than respecting the other person. When our partner is in alignment with who we are and our values, there is a mutual respect present within the relationship that can weather adversity.
3. Shared lifestyle vision or dream. Successful couples share the same ideas when it comes to how they want to live the life both in the present and in the future. Did you ever notice how many couples on those decorating shows will say Our style is… and they seem to have the same style? They are either modern or traditional or country. This is true for overall lifestyle! They’re not necessarily exactly alike, but the bulk of how they want to live their life and how they envision their future is the same.
If your relationship isn’t like this right now, this does not mean that you should go break up or get divorced! It just means you have some work to do. By the way, if you’re currently single, do the assignment based on your past relationships. It will help you create a great one in your future!
1. Evaluate where you are in relationship with your spouse/significant other in these three key areas. Rank on a scale of 1-10, 10 being perfect score, for both you and your partner. What is your level of compatibility? It is feasible that one person admires more than the other!
2. Get real about the differences. Spend some time thinking through the What and Why of these differences and where they might be playing a role in the challenges you are experiencing in your relationship.
3. Get clear about your own desires! Based on what you’ve discovered, write out details of what the expression of admiration and respect is ideally like for you. Write out details of how you want to be living your life now and in the future. Be as specific as possible! You can’t make it happen if you’re not clear.
4. Talk with your partner! Let them know what you discovered – both the differences AND the similarities. If they’re not reading this article, share it with them. Have them do the same assignment and then come together to discuss ways to blend what you both want for yourselves. If anything, this will help you to re-connect, because, at the heart of every successfully blended family is a strong partnership!

Articles Marriage Tips

Marriage Advice – Love And Fairness

“Love has nothing to do with fairness. Love is Love.”
–Susan Page, Why Talking is Not Enough
“It’s not fair!”
How often have you heard this from young or adolescent siblings?
I grew up as an only child, so I was never indoctrinated with the concept of fairness. Not growing up with it, I have at times been baffled when couples say the same thing, “It’s not fair!”


“It’s not fair that I have to work just like you do but I do most of the housework!”
“It’s not fair that you are in control of when we make love!”
“It’s not fair that I am the one who always has to get up at night with the kids!”
“It’s not fair that you get to go on fishing trips with your friends and I always have to stay home with the kids!”
“It’s not fair that I make all the money and you just spend it any way you want!” read more

Articles Marriage Tips

Communication in Marriage

Lack or breakdown of communication is the primary reasons marriages fail. Couples have to learn to talk and listen to each other if they desire a solid marriage.


Communication, most especially verbal is what makes us different from other animals and that is the foundation of all human relationship.
Two people cannot walk together except they agree and they can’t agree except they TALK. read more

Articles Marriage Tips

How to Save a Marriage After an Affair

How to Save a Marriage After an Affair

Divorce breaks the hearts of those involved — couples, children, parents, friends, church, and the heart of God. One of the greatest underlying events destroying marriages today is adultery. The following is a frank and spiritual message on how to save a marriage after an affair.
My fervent passion is in saving marriages and making them healthy and holy again. I encourage you to at least make a commitment not to remain at a disinterested distance when couples you love have their lives coming apart.
So let’s get started.
To better understand extramarital affairs, I sorted them into three categories.
1. The Short-Lived Affair lasts from one night to several months and is primarily about sex. Subcategories included Revenge Affairs, Affairs of Opportunity (at the right place at the right time to do the wrong thing), Self-Esteem Booster Affairs, and more.
2. The Allowed Affair has become more prevalent with the graying of morality in our culture. It was once called “Swinging” and now its participants just call it “The Lifestyle.”
3. The most difficult kind of affair to overcome is the Relationship Affair. It typically starts as friendship that evolves into shared emotions and eventually shared bodies. Those in Relationship Affairs usually are in love with each other. Madly in love.
This is why so many Relationship Affairs lead to divorce — no matter how strongly you tell the person that s/he is sinning and no matter how hard the abandoned spouse tries to save the marriage. Because of such passages as Matthew 5:32 and Matthew 19:9, churches usually grant the offended spouse the right to start over with a new mate, and few blame him or her for moving on with life.
May I offer another possibility?
Wouldn’t it be better for everyone — the cheated, cheater, children, church, and community — if there were a way to rescue the straying spouse, heal the hurts, and guide husband and wife back to a marriage of love and commitment? We in the marriage business know that if a marriage survives an affair, it will be stronger and more loving than it was before the affair.
Salvaging a marriage when a spouse is in love with someone else usually isn’t accomplished by pointing the adulterer to scripture, logic, or consequences. If I had space, I’d explain why. The short version is that they are driven by strong and compelling emotions that they’re convinced you don’t understand. Therefore, they disregard you, along with your Bible, lectures, and piety. Very often they’ll even tell you that God sent the lover to them.
So how do you save these marriages?
Based on my experience, I suggest the following to the abandoned spouse and to all attempting to help:
1. Believe that an affair, even an exceptionally strong Relationship/Love Affair, is not necessarily the end of a marriage. It may be, but it doesn’t have to be. Don’t give up. Keep praying and doing the right things, no matter how hopeless it may seem.
2. Don’t beg, cajole, or attempt to manipulate the adulterer. S/he is already emotionally on edge; emotional actions from you exacerbate the situation. Be firm, but always loving and calm.
3. Don’t try to convince him or her that the lover is a bad person or primarily responsible for the affair. That might work in a Short-Lived Affair. However, it typically causes a person in a Relationship Affair to develop an “us against the world” union with the lover.
4. Drag out any divorce proceedings as long as possible. The intense emotions involved with being “madly in love” last anywhere from six to thirty-six months. Though the straying spouse may become angry and try to manipulate the abandoned spouse into divorce (“I’ll make things tougher for you if you don’t go along with me …”), the abandoned spouse should be strong, endure the other’s wrath, and drag it out as long as possible. There is a very real possibility that the abandoning spouse will eventually lose the intensity of desire to be with the lover. Don’t give up!
5. The abandoned spouse should demonstrate his or her ability to survive and prosper without the abandoning spouse. S/he must concentrate on physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health. This accomplishes two things. 1) The abandoned spouse needs this for him- herself. 2) The abandoning spouse often is drawn back to the abandoned spouse when s/he continues to be strong and self-sufficient.
6. In fervent prayer, ask God to bring chaos, financial distress, and anything else He will do to cause pain as a result of the sinner’s actions and to create circumstances so that it is difficult for him or her to continue in the affair.
7. The abandoned spouse should procure an attorney that will protect his or her rights, finances, and the like. The attorney should make the divorce as painful as possible — financially and otherwise — to the abandoning spouse while still protecting the interests of the abandoned spouse. Expect the abandoning spouse to react with anger. However, making sin have strong negative consequences is the right thing to do.
8. The church should practice discipline, though in our day and age that hasn’t nearly the effect it had in biblical times. It’s so easy now to walk down the street and go to another church. However, if done in love and compassion, it still may have the needed effect.
9. Practice intervention. (If you need more information on how to do this, contact us and we’ll send you a PDF with step by step details.)
10. Convince the straying spouse to take one last action before ending the marriage. Sometimes the abandoned spouse does this by offering a concession such as, “I’ll give on this point in the divorce if you do this.” Sometimes a friend, church leader, or even the person’s child may convince him or her that, for conscience sake, s/he should do one more thing to see if there is any hope for the marriage.
In my weekend turnaround workshop for marriages in crisis, LovePath 911, we have many couples who come because someone convinced the abandoning spouse to attend for conscience sake or to get some concession. Over nearly a decade, we’ve witnessed one seemingly hopeless marriage after another turn around during that weekend. They don’t have to want to be there; they just have to be there.
Whether you use our services, your own counselors, or someone else, the message is the same. We must not give up on marriages because we think that either spouse is beyond rescuing. Don’t give up on the power of God and what He can do if only we do our parts.