Marriage Slumps, Relationship Ruts and Other Painful Realities About Love

Warning: the contents of this article may upset you. In fact, I strongly recommend that you close this page. If you’re like most people, you have a child-like naïveté about romance. I don’t want to spoil that. Sure, you were able to handle the truth about Santa Claus and the tooth fairy (oops, you didn’t know about the tooth fairy? Sorry…), but maybe you’re not ready to learn about love’s painful truths.
Okay, if you’re reading this paragraph, you’re either very curious, stubborn, or downright foolish. I warned you not to read further, so if you continue, do so at your own risk.
Twelve painful truths about love:
1. Love will not make you happy—not in the long run. In fact, it’s never been love’s job to make anyone happy. But for some reason, more and more people enter into relationships thinking that they’ve signed up for a life full of happiness.
2. Love is unpredictable and offers no guarantees. If it’s certainty that you’re after, do yourself (and your partner) a favor and remain in the dugout. When you’ve entered the game of love, you’ve gambled—like it or not. There’s no way around this truth.
3. Love is not enough to keep your relationship healthy and running smoothly. Although the Beatles announced that all we need is love, the truth is they were wrong. (And just for the record, love didn’t prevent John, Paul, George, and Ringo from ending up divorced.)
4. You can love someone and not like them. Life can be pretty unpleasant living with someone you love but don’t like. For some reason, couples stop behaving in ways that maintain their likeability factor. Big mistake.
5. Love doesn’t keep passion alive—passion keeps passion alive. If you don’t nurture romance and eroticism, you’ll end up in the land of platonic love. While this might work for some, many unhappily deny their need for sex in order to preserve their relationship.
6. You can feel lonely and still be in love. This painful truth often results from a lack of trust or an inability to take the risk of sharing all of yourself with your partner. People who feel lonely are vulnerable to looking outside their relationship for what’s missing (ironically, this pattern of loneliness can follow you from relationship to relationship).
7. That old adage, “Love is blind” has merit. Your feelings (and your desire to be in love) can obscure certain painful truths about your partner, especially in the beginning of the relationship. Rather than appropriately dealing with the shortcomings of your relationship as they arise, your myopic love-vision may allow problems to fester and grow, and before you know it, love is a thing of the past.
8. Even within committed, stable relationships, love can be imbalanced and inconstant. You may find that you love or need your partner more than s/he loves or needs you. And at other times the reverse might be true. Because humans are dynamic, evolving creatures, the love they feel for each other is also subject to change over time.
9. Love involves a fall from grace. People often enter relationships with unrealistic expectations and ideals that have more to do with a Hollywood script than real life. If love guided you into the arms of your partner, it’s up to you to toss the Hollywood script and prepare for the day-to-day work needed for love to survive.
10. Being in love can hurt. Loving the wrong person hurts even more. Here’s the irony: if you want to receive the gifts of intimacy, you must humbly stand at love’s door without the protective armor that has shielded you throughout your single life. When you take this risk, the joys and wonders of life intensify—and, sometimes, so do life’s sorrows.
11. For some reason, love doesn’t prevent ruts, arguments, or unreasonableness. If you forget this truth, you are less likely to remain committed to each other through the inevitable downturns that all relationships travel.
12. The love you feel may not last. This is especially the case when couples fail to give their relationship the attention and effort needed to keep it healthy. Because of the euphoria that accompanies new love, you might falsely assume that your relationship is immune to the struggles others face. The reality is, all relationships (even yours) are vulnerable and can buckle under stress.
There you have it, some unattractive truths about love. Are you still willing to step up to the plate and enter the game of love? If you’re like most, you probably answered “yes” to this question. Despite all the risks, people love being in love. If you’re the type of person who idealizes love, keep this list handy and refer back to it just in case you need a dose of reality.
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Infidelity is Not Okay and it is Not Forgivable!

By America’s #1 Love and Marriage Experts.
Frankly, if we hear yet one more person talk about infidelity in a relationship as if it were okay, not a big deal, and forgivable, we are going to get angry!
We have studied the best marriages for more than 25 years and we know this – the best marriages would never engage in unfaithfulness – they would never engage in infidelity.
Here is the whole truth and nothing but the truth – being disloyal to the one you love is an unpardonable sin! Why would anyone who engages in this disloyal, dishonest, and morally reprehensible behavior think it is okay? To betray someone you purport to love is unconscionable. And as we often say, based on our years of research with successfully married couples, there is a character element to marriage and to violate the code of conduct in a marriage – to engage in the ultimate form of betrayal – is to destroy the core, the heart, of that relationship.
As you have noticed over the years, we are not angry people. But the notion that betrayal is acceptable or excusable gets us riled. Clearly, we are not unreasonable people. And the truth is, we know what makes marriages work. Being unfaithful to the one you love is not conducive to a wholesome, successful, and endearing relationship.
Here’s the deal – there are NO excuses for infidelity! There is no way to excuse infidelity. Being unfaithful to the one you love is the most unpardonable of all sins. To violate the core of trust in your marriage or loving relationship is, simply put, to destroy the relationship.
It is our considered opinion – based on many years of research – that the notion of character in marriage is real. To suggest otherwise is to ignore the basic tenets of successful relationships. We guess that it is time to say, The buck stops here! Literally translated – there are no excuses for disloyalty and infidelity to your spouse – to your lover.
Over the years, we have interviewed a lot of people who purported to be in love. We have interviewed a lot of couples that repeated the vows, Until Death Do Us Part. And these are not just words! To love someone for a lifetime does not occur by accident. To be in love is not an accident. To be in love is to do the simple things day in and day out of your relationship with the one you say you love. But trust us on this – you cannot betray the one you love and expect your marriage to survive and thrive.
It pains our heart to see couples espouse the virtues of the Desperate Housewives who think it’s okay to cheat on the one your love, and everything will be okay. It drives an arrow through our heart to think that there are people engaged in a loving relationship who think that betrayal is an offense for which there is forgiveness.
The ultimate betrayal of the one you say you love is an unrecoverable act! Writers, therapists, counselors, and psychologists who suggest otherwise are not only fooling themselves, they are misleading those they purport to represent.
Don’t be fooled and don’t be foolish. There is rarely EVER a recovery from a relationship that sinks to betrayal, infidelity, and disloyalty. Those who have been successfully married for years and years know this to be true. Don’t be misled by those who suggest otherwise.
The Simple Things Matter in love and marriage. Love well!
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

Great Love Cannot Be Rushed

By America’s #1 Love and Marriage Experts.
You have to walk carefully in the beginning of love; the running across fields into your lover’s arms can only come later when you’re sure they won’t laugh if you trip. This marvelous quote by Jonathan Carroll is from Outside the Dog Museum.
Too often, when a person feels the early signs of a loving relationship they move too fast and scare away the one they are falling in love with. Or worse yet, they so desperately want to be in love and be loved that they miss important clues to the real feelings of the one they think they love.
During our thousands of interviews with successfully married couples, we have repeatedly heard this advice—go slow in the beginning. As love and marriage experts for over 30 years, we can tell you that this advice cannot be ignored.
You’ve heard the old expression, Rome wasn’t built in a day. One thing for certain—neither was love. It develops over time. It requires patience. It requires self-examination. And it most certainly requires you to run slowly across fields until you find the proper footing, lest you fall down!
Recently, someone sent us a copy of a beautiful essay entitled Letters To My Son”
by Kent Nerburn. Our favorite passage is excerpted below:
Here is where many lovers go wrong. Having been so long
without love, they understand love only as a need. The first blush of new love is filled to overflowing, but as
their love cools, they revert to seeing their love as a need. They forget that the
secret of love is that it is a gift, and that it can be made to
grow only by giving it away.
The message here should be clear—love is a gift you give to someone, and if you are lucky, they give it back in return. You need to step back and make sure that you feel good about giving your love away. That requires being honest with yourself about what you are feeling and what you are giving away to another human being. Accepting true love takes courage. And trust. And time.
To be truly in love is to dash across the field of lilies on a beautiful spring morning unafraid to fall down as you leap into the arms of the one you love and who loves you. As love and marriage experts, we suggest you go, be in love if you are ready to give away your gift of love to another human being.
Creating a %0A” rel=”nofollow”>successful marriage is not always the easiest thing to do. Your visiting our blog suggests you are highly interested in making your marriage work! And truthfully, we have learned over 30 years of marriage research that there are proven effective ways to ensure a happy and healthy marriage. In fact, we took hundreds of tips from the thousands of happy couples we interviewed and put them into our award-winning and bestselling book, Building a Love that Lasts .
Today, you can see how you stack up to the best marriages around the world. Take the Marriage Quiz to assess your chances of achieving a successful marriage of your own.
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 Drs. Charles and Elizabeth Schmitz
America’s #1 Love and Marriage Experts

Simple Things Matter In Love And Relationships

Simple Things Matter In Love and Relationships
By Dr. Charles D. Schmitz and Dr. Elizabeth A. Schmitz
“the marriage doctors”
Authors of the INDIE Book Awards Gold Medal Winner for Best Relationship Book of 2008
Golden Anniversaries: The Seven Secrets of Successful Marriage
Available at,,, and at Bookstores
Twenty-five years of research on successful love and marriage has taught us many things, but first and foremost – no love has blossomed or been sustained without doing the simple things. Big things don’t matter until your relationship has mastered the art of doing the simple things day in and day out in your relationship with another human being whom you purport to love.
All too often in life, people make assumptions about love and relationships that do not stand up under scrutiny – that are not supported by the available evidence. So, what are the facts?
One of the great misconceptions of all time about love and relationships is this – just do the big things and everything will turn out well. And what do the Big Things include? For starters the list includes having financial stability in your relationship, being in love is all that matters, having a good job and a house in the suburbs, and so it goes. But the truth is, these Big Things are important, but they are only a by-product of doing the simple things. Here’s what we mean.
It is an established fact – successful love is based on an accumulation of the simple things. If you want your marriage and your relationship to succeed, just do the simple things! Do them day in and day out. When your relationship has mastered the simple things you have a chance to make it work. You have a chance to make it last. But if you don’t, well, failure is an option.
There is another important fact of life when it comes to love and relationships – there will be big challenges to address in your relationships, of that you can be sure. You might have to deal with financial setbacks, serious illness, the loss of a job, or the death of a loved one. And trust us on this – if your relationship with the one you love has mastered the art of doing the simple things day in and day out, the likelihood of your relationship making it through the tough times are multiplied many times over.
So what are these simple things? Here are a few: always showing respect for the one you love; saying I love you many times a day; engaging in simple acts of kindness (breakfast in bed, flowers on non-special occasions; opening doors for them, etc.); giving your lover lots of daily hugs; treating them with courtesy at all times; helping clean up the dinner table; sharing financial decisions with them, and the list goes on. Read more about the multitude of simple things that matter in our new book, Simple Things Matter In Love and Marriage, due out in August.
The point is, simple things matter and when you practice doing them, they accumulate. Simple acts add up. And always remember, you can’t keep turning on then turning off doing the simple things. You have to consistently engage in doing the simple things day in and day out. When you do, you will be surprised at how well this simple notion works. Start engaging in them today.
Love well!

On Valentine’s Day the Core Values of Love Matter

By America’s #1 Love and Marriage Experts.
Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. Commit to the seven core values of successful love and marriage and you can make your Valentine’s Day the best ever.
We have learned a lot about successful love and marriage in the USA and around the world over these past 32 years. The results of our studies are shared in our multiple award winning book entitled Building a Love that Lasts. In this article we would like to do is share with you what we have found to be the Seven Core Values of All Loving Relationships.
Over the past 32 years, we have learned much about what makes great marriages tick – about what makes them successful. Even in spite of ominous odds from time to time, the best marriages survive and thrive, and we know why! They survive and thrive because they are committed to the Core Values present in all great marriages and successful loving relationships. Here they are in a nutshell.
1. The couple in love is committed to always putting each other first in their relationship with each other.
The first thing you notice in all highly successful loving relationships is that those who purport to be in love recognize that their relationship is not about you and me, it is about US. Discovering that YOU are not the center of the universe is the hallmark of a great relationship. Actually putting another human being number one is a powerful indication that you are truly in love.
2. The couple in love is committed to democracy in their relationship.
Always remember, successful loving relationships are egalitarian. Namely, the best relationships understand that theirs is a shared relationship. If one person has all the power and makes all the decisions, it is NOT love! True love is a very democratic thing!
3. The couple in love is committed to ensuring their mutual happiness.
Remember, true love is not just about ensuring your happiness. More importantly, and often for the first time in your life, you actually enjoy and are motivated by ensuring the happiness of someone other than yourself. It is a good feeling!
4. The couple in love values absolute trustworthiness and integrity in their relationship with each other.
If you cannot trust the one you love, then it is not true love! Trust us on that. The most successful loving relationships report that they trust their mate unequivocally and without hesitation. To violate that trust is to undermine and, ultimately destroy, the relationship with the one you say you love.
5. The couple in love is committed to caring and unconditional love for each other.
When you truly love someone you do so without conditions. It is not about loving you IF . . . True love is unconditional.
6. The couple in love is committed to being mutually respectful towards each other.
There is a Golden Rule in true love and it is like the one you learned early in your life – Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Do not expect to be treated with respect when you are disrespectful to the one you love. Respectfulness is at the heart of all great loving relationships.
7. The couple in love values their mutual sense of responsibility for each other.
People in love care for each other in ways that they have never cared for another human being. They feel a sense of responsibility for another person that they have never felt before. It feels so good to put another’s needs above your own. To do so is to love deeply.
The Core Values of all successful loving relationships are at the heart of the matter. If you and your mate master these values, your love will, in all probability, last a lifetime. What a Valentine’s Day gift that would be!
Simple Things Matter in Love and Marriage, particularly on Valentine’s Day. Love well!
Read How to Marry the Right Guy, to find out if the man you think you are in love with is marriage material.
By Drs. Charles and Elizabeth Schmitz
America’s #1 Love and Marriage Experts
* Creating a %0A” rel=”nofollow”>successful marriage is not always the easiest thing to do. Your visiting our blog suggests you are highly interested in making your relationship work! And truthfully, we have learned over 30 years of marriage research that there are proven effective ways to ensure a happy and healthy marriage. In fact, as love and marriage experts we took hundreds of tips from the thousands of happy couples we interviewed throughout the world and put them into our award-winning and bestselling book, Building a Love that Lasts

Married or Not: Growing Old by Yourself Can be Lonely

By America’s #1 Love and Marriage Experts.
Love is like a little old woman and a little old man who are still friends even after they know each other so well. (Tommy, age 6)
Our recent marriage interviews in Southern California brought our attention again to the two undeniable truths of life – growing old is a blessing (consider the alternative!) and spending your old age by yourself is the loneliest place to be on Earth. You can take both truths of life to the bank! Our thirty years of research across the globe substantiates for us the wisdom of these words.
First, we digress. We have been married for 46 years. We not only know about how to make our own marriage work, we know how others make theirs work. Thirty years of research and our own marriage has taught us much.
We have studied marriage in all 50 states of the Union, in 47 countries, and on all 7 continents of the world. We hear many consistent responses to the Marriage Interview we have conducted with thousands of successfully married couples around the world. We have reported our findings in our book, Building a Love that Lasts and in our many articles on the Internet in a variety of venues.
Our research findings tell us that there are seven pervasive characteristics present in all successful marriages, irrespective of culture, ethnicity, continent, or economic station in life. You’ll have to read our book to find out what they are.
In this article, we are focused only on the notion of growing old and on the enormous benefits of having someone to share your old age with.
In our interview protocol we asked many revealing questions. There are three questions that tell us the most about the importance of aging together with someone you love.
First and foremost is this – Can you imagine life without your spouse? The answer we get from successfully married couples is always the same – NO!
The second incredibly important question is this – If you had to choose, who on Earth would you rather spend your exclusive time with? Again, the answer is always the same – My spouse.
The third and final question is, perhaps, the most telling of all – Who is your best friend? Over the past 30 years, the overwhelming response has been, My spouse.
So, we ask you this – are you ready to spend your life without a best friend, without the one person you’d rather be with than anyone else, and without someone who cannot imagine life without you? Think about it!
Here’s the deal – we are getting sick and tired of women who tell us they don’t need someone to spend their life with. We are growing very weary of men who tell us they will just grow old by themselves, content with hanging out with their beer-drinking buddies. And the list of our irritations grows!
The simple and unadulterated truth is this – when you are young, you don’t think about getting old. You don’t think about being alone. Shoot, you don’t think about much of anything beyond your life TODAY! And honestly, we are sorry to be so direct, but the truth is the truth. Seeing the future is not something most young people do. To them, eternal youngness is their frame of reference.
But here is the reality – if you get old, you’re lucky; if you have a best friend, you possess one of life’s blessings; and if you have someone in your life you cannot imagine being without – whom you would rather spend your time with more than anyone else on Earth – then you have achieved the nirvana of your life! You have found your positive place in life.
Now we come full circle. Is living your life alone what you want or desire? Do you really want to grow old by yourself? The negative trends are ominous, but hope springs eternal for those who are married or who get married.
Marriage is in decline in America. By 2008, marriage among adults had dropped to 52% according to the Pew Charitable Trust. In 1960 this number stood at 72%. And Blacks (32%) are much less likely to be married than Whites (56%). And worse yet, the decline of marriage among Blacks is more than twice that of Whites over the past several decades.
In the final analysis, married couples in the USA are on the verge of no longer being a majority according to the U.S. Census Bureau. In our estimation, that is a sad situation for a whole variety of reasons. Primary among them is this – this downward trend in marriage is the terrible precursor of loneliness in America for senior citizens – for those lucky enough to grow old.
Loneliness among seniors is of epidemic proportions. Yet, loneliness is so utterly and completely unavoidable. Living alone in old age is not a pretty state of being – it is not a desirable place to be.
Unfortunately, there are many amongst us who think that they don’t need to be married to be happy. They think they don’t need an intimate other in their life. Too many people are under the illusion that they don’t need somebody in their life to lean on, to share life’s burdens with, and to hold on to during the end of time.
Too many people think getting old is an illusion. Too many people cannot come to grips with the fact that everybody needs somebody sometime.
The many, many happily married couples we have interviewed tell us how blessed they are to have someone to share life with, particularly in old age. Those of you who think you can weather life’s storms by yourself in the latter stages of life are only deluding yourselves. Those who think marriage is passé are fools. Those who think they can weather the storms of old age by themselves are delusional. Everybody needs somebody.
Living life alone is not a good option for most. Think about it. Loneliness at the end of days, sucks!
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 your own copy of 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.

The Ten Essential Virtues of Love

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

Is your experience of love that it is scarce and limited?

“Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Love never decreases by being shared. ~Chinese Proverb read more

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.

By America’s #1 Love and Marriage Experts.

Here is an undeniable truth about life – actions speak louder than words! We know, you’ve heard this all before! But the truth is, you can, and must, judge a man by his actions and not by his words! read more

Over the past 30 years, we have learned much about what makes great marriages tick – about what makes them successful. Even in spite of ominous odds from time to time, the best marriages survive and thrive, and we know why!

They survive and thrive because they are committed to the Core Values present in all great marriages and successful loving relationships. Here they are in a nutshell. read more

Law of Attraction: Activating Your Desire and Attention

The Law of Attraction states that like attracts like and that what you focus your attention on will expand. It is in operation whether we hold a positive or a negative thought. People working their way through the divorce process are often flooded with thoughts and feelings they don’t want. Using words like don’t, not or no puts focus and energy on the things we do not want to have in our lives. For example, having the thought of I don’t want to be hurt again keeps your awareness on being hurt. This makes it more likely that you will continue to attract the situations or relationships where you will feel hurt.
According to expert Michael Losier, there are some main steps to activating the Law of Attraction:
*Identify Your Desire
*Give Your Desire Attention
*Allow or Receive That Which You Desire
First: Identify Your Desire
Most people don’t get what they want simply because they are not clear on what they do want. Divorce, for all of its emotional upheaval, is actually a wonderful opportunity to get clear on what you do want. You’ve experienced enough negatives or disappointments that have brought your relationship to an end. Why not use the specific examples of what didn’t work in your relationship to get you crystal clear on what you do want for future relationships?
Here’s how to get started to on step one and identify what you desire. Take a moment to reflect on your relationship and name some of the elements that didn’t work for you. Was there betrayal? Disrespect? Lack of cooperation? Was it hard to communicate openly? A lack of common interests? Usually people can very quickly come up with an impressive list of what they don’t want!
Instead of feeling defeated by all of the ingredients in your relationship that didn’t work, turn them to your advantage. For each item on your list, identify the opposite characteristic. Ask yourself, what do I want? For example, if betrayal is something you don’t want, the opposite could be honesty.” Difficult to communicate becomes open, effortless communication. As you work your way through the list, write the flip-side of the negative characteristic you want to leave behind so you can get clear on what you do want. Then cross the negative quality off your list and start to put your attention on what you do want!
Second: Give it Attention
If you’ve completed step one, you should have created a fairly inspiring list of all the qualities you do want. It’s time to keep your focus and attention on what you want to attract.
In their book, Ask and it is Given, Esther and Jerry Hicks call this second step The Universe answers. Your job is simply to make your desire known and keep your focus on that. They say, All things that you ask for, large and small, are immediately understood and fully offered, without exception. So this part of the process is actually
out of your hands.
Creating a desire statement is a powerful way to keep your attention on it. Put together some of the qualities you want to attract into a short statement. Affirmations, usually stated in the present tense as if you already have what you desire, aren’t all they are cracked up to be. Affirming “I have an amazing, passionate relationship” when that’s not yet true for you can raise doubts and negative thoughts instead of positive vibrations. Use the phrase I am in the process of… as a way to manage your inner dialogue while you are still in the process of attracting your desire. For example, if you are still single, using the statement I am in the process of attracting an amazing, passionate relationship is more accurate and believable. This allows you to more easily maintain a positive focus on what you want.
Third: Allowing or Receiving that which you Desire
This is critical to your success at using the Law of Attraction and it’s the step which is least understood. Pull all the parts of the Law of Attraction together as a powerful tool to thrive after divorce.
Take Action!
1. Make a list of at least 15 things you experienced in your divorce that you don’t want to have in your future.
2. Flip ‘em. For each negative characteristic, ask yourself what you do want instead and get clear on the qualities you DO want.
3. Put together a short desire statement and use that to keep your focus positive. Use the phrase I’m in the process of… to help you anchor your belief. Post it up somewhere so you’ll see it often.

Discover the difference between needs coming from emotional dependency and authentic needs that we have within a relationship.
Every few weeks I do a free webinar. People can listen on their computers or on the phone; they can write in asking questions or they can ask me directly on the phone. Here is one of the questions a woman – I will call her Susan – asked in a webinar on emotional dependency:

“When we are in a relationship and we have made our needs clear to our partner, is hanging on in the hope they will follow through with promises to meet our needs a sign of emotional dependency?” read more

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
There is so much more for me to share with you!

By America’s #1 Love and Marriage Experts.

As our many readers know, we have been studying successful marriage and relationships for nearly three decades. And frankly, one of the most important questions we get asked is, How will I know if this is true love? The answer is simpler than you think. In the end, there are Seven Tests of True Love. read more

By America’s #1 Love and Marriage Experts.

Today is a day to remember! Our publisher officially released our multiple award-winning book in paperback! Our labor of love – our heart’s work for the past 26+ years – has come to fruition in a format that will reach even more people. read more

Will My Ex Come Back – Signs Your Ex Is Still Into You!

You are probably here because you want your ex back and might be wondering will my ex come back. You are still in love with your ex and despite all you have tried to do to get over them, it just seems impossible. It seem like the more you try to stop thinking about them, the more you miss them. If you are wondering if your ex will come back to you, then you must watch out for some positive signs that reveal that they are still in love with you. In this article I will provide you with some signs that reveal your ex still have strong feelings for you and want you back in their arms.
As long as you have been in the relationship with your ex for a while, even if the relationship didn’t last long, you should by now understand your ex’s body language. You are supposed to know when they want to communicate with you or not. In other words, you should be able to tell when he or she is giving off signs that they still love you and want to be with you. Although you might not be able to observe these signs at the moment since you are very emotional. If you can calm down your emotions, then you would see all the signs your ex is giving you. However, you just have to take your time to observe these signs just to be sure, before you make plans on what to do next.
Does your ex seek your advice on various matters? One positive sign that your ex is still not over you is if he or she come to you for advice. Even more better is if your ex comes to seek advice from you on personal issues. Your initial move should be to try to observe if their aim for consulting is genuine or just using it as an excuse to talk to you. If you observe that they are just using it to keep the lines of communication open, you can do the same. Ask your ex’s advice on different matters. As time goes on, the communication would become regular. You must take immediate action when you notice a regular and a constant communication. However, if the contacts are irregular, then you must do all you can to keep the lines of communication open.
Another positive sign that your ex still has strong feelings for you is if he or she tries to appear good and sexy around you. Although this might not be true all the time, but take your time to observe closely before jumping into conclusion. As long as your ex is giving off these signs you must take advantage of it. You would want to appear good and sexy as well on your part. Your next course of action would be to go out on a date, but before attempting to go on a date, first try to find out your ex’s emotional state from their friends. While on the date act like you are already back together. If there are no objections, then you should be sure of getting back together with your ex. If there are objections, those can be settled!
If you are asking will my ex come back, then these tips will help you decide. However, these are just a few tips out of the numerous out there. Most times you are in the best position to know if you ex still love you or not because you are familiar with their body language. Despite the fact that your ex is showing signs that they still love you doesn’t automatically guarantee you that you are going to be together again. You must have a step by step plan in order to win back your ex.

Never Go To Bed Mad At Each Other

By America’s #1 Love and Marriage Experts.
On the Today Show a remarkable segment aired. It was remarkable not because it was good or enlightening, but because it wasn’t. In fact, it was downright misleading and irresponsible based upon the research evidence, and we want to comment on it.
A psychologist and the managing editor of Good Housekeeping were on the Today Show to proclaim that the notion of never go to bed mad at each other was a myth. Imagine, calling such a time-honored notion a myth. Listening to them made our skin crawl and here’s why – credible research does not support what they said.
As many of our readers know, we have been researching successful marriages for almost 30 years. We have interviewed thousands of successfully married couples in 46 countries on six continents of the world, learning a lot about what makes good marriages work.
Towards the end of our interview protocol we ask these wonderful couples if they could offer three pieces of advice that we could share with newlyweds. And guess what, the number one piece of advice they have given, and it is has been consistent over three decades of research, is Never go to bed mad at each other!
Remember, this advice comes from thousands of happily married couples. The advice they give isn’t designed to shock the media with something unusual or out of the ordinary. These are the words of couples with a proven track record. Frankly, we got the impression when we watched the Today Show that the purpose of referring to Never go to bed mad at each other as a myth was to get a spot on a highly watched morning television show! But the sad truth is, their message was a terrible message to send to newly married couples. Our fear – they just might listen to the advice they heard on TV and that would be a big mistake in our judgment.
From time to time you hear so-called experts throw out information as if it were scientific fact. People believe it as if it were gospel. The problem is, much of what you hear has no scientific or research base.
The good news about the notion of Never go to bed made at each other – it is based on research from those who would know best – those who have been happily, blissfully, and successfully married for 30-60 years!
Married couples do, from time to time, have disagreements. They argue over big things and little things. They argue over stuff that doesn’t matter and stuff that does. But here is what we have learned from 30 years of research – successfully married couples rarely ever go to bed without resolving their differences on an issue, be it big or small. Many report to us that they have stayed up all night trying to bring closure to an issue that has divided them. They know that gaining resolution is far more important than getting a good night’s sleep. And remember this, issues that are not attended to more often than not fester through the night and only appear worse in the morning.
Do not be fooled by those who tell you that it is not important to resolve divisive issues before you go to bed. They are simply misguided and the advice they give can be hurtful to your relationship. Accept the advice of those who know – those whose marriages are happy and have stood the test of time.
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

Humorous Nicknames for Lovers

By America’s #1 Love and Marriage Experts.
Over our 44 years of marriage we have met thousands of couples that deeply loved each other. We have interviewed many, many of them for our several books on successful marriage.
In nearly every case, successfully married couples have an affectionate nickname for each other – a sort of private code for saying, I love you. Some of the nicknames are ones you have probably heard many times before – lovey-dovey, sweetie-pie, sugar, snookie-poo, honey, darling, sweetness, sweetpea, baby girl, lover boy, sunshine, sugarplum, baby-doll, hey, handsome, hey, beautiful, and so forth.
Some of the nicknames are unusual and funny. Names like Butch in reference to a very petite wife seem unusual, but to her husband, it is an endearing term.
Snookems, in reference to a very manly-man does not compute with most people, but to his wife, the term is an expression of love and affection. There are many other examples we could share related to this notion.
Over the years, the funniest affectionate nickname we ever heard was from a wife who lovingly referred to her husband as, turkey-fart! It is not important to understand the origin of turkey-fart. What is important is that the name has special meaning to the husband and wife team that coined it.
You see, love has a private code. People in love understand!
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

Love is Colorblind to Those in Love

Real Love Is Colorblind
By America’s #1 Love and Marriage Experts.
The romantic 1955 movie, Love is a Many Splendored Thing, tells the story of an American reporter who falls in love with a Eurasian doctor. And as you might have guessed, they encounter prejudice from both of their families. Such prejudice was, unfortunately, all too common in 1955. It is all too common in 2011.
People in love it seems do not always find a colorblind world. That’s too bad. Love is love. People, who are in love, love each other irrespective of their race, creed, color, or national origin. True love between two people is colorblind – never forget that! Love does not see color, it only sees love.
In the nearly three decades we have studied successful loving relationships we have often encountered people in love who have suffered the slings and arrows of misfortune because their relationship was a bi-racial one, or in many cases, a multi-racial relationship. Often times, there are people who observe others in love, but they do not always just see love. They see race. They see people who are different. Their prejudices take over. The dark side of some takes over. Too bad.
During the film, Love is a Many Splendored Thing, some intensely romantic meetings occur on a high and windswept hill. The song lyrics are clearly audible during many parts of the film.
This intensely romantic song touches the heart. It touched our heart. It will touch yours. It goes like this:
Once on a high and windy hill,
In the morning mist, two lovers kissed,
And the world stood still.
You see, two people in love know their love for each other is timeless. They know their love is unconditional. They know it transcends everything else, even prejudice. Love between two people who are truly in love trumps everything else.
There is another line from the song that we think is particularly lovely:
Love is nature’s way of giving.
A reason to be living.
Love must be shared. Love must be enjoyed. Love, quite frankly, is nature’s way of telling people in love that they have many reasons to live – that they have many reasons to spend their life with the one they love.
There is another message about love. Love, when it comes your way, must be embraced. When you fall in love, you must seize the moment. Love does not always wait. When you fall in love, when you feel it completely, you must seize the moment:
Love is a many splendored thing
It’s the April rose that only grows in the early spring.
When you fall in love, when you fall deeply in love, there is a good chance it will be forever. True love is between two individuals who see only love when they gaze into each other’s eyes. Those in love do not see race, color, national origin, or prejudice. They see only love.
Love is a many splendored thing. Love is colorblind to those in love, and it should be to those who observe those in love.
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

Imagine Life Without Someone To Share It With

By America’s #1 Love and Marriage Experts.
Okay, we are madly in love after all these years! We have been married for nearly 46 years and we cannot imagine life without each other. We are each other’s constant companions and wouldn’t want it any other way!
But we must admit, we often think about all the lonely people who are, in their advanced age, all alone. They have no one with whom to share their days and nights with. Worse yet, no one to share their advancing age with.
On a recent trip to our neighborhood Starbucks, we were struck by the number of people there who were by themselves. These weren’t old people with a dead spouse – they were people in their 20’s, 30’s, and 40’s who were accompanied by no one. They sat by themselves sipping their latte, reading the newspaper or a book, or checking their email.
In all the times we have gone to this bustling coffee shop we noticed the same thing, but never did anything about it until today. We decided to follow up our experience by sharing our thoughts about seeing so many lonely and alone people in one space.
Is this the new America? Is this the way it’s going to be in the 21st Century? The answers to these questions are worth pursuing we think.
We begin by asking this simple question – why are there so many people spending their days alone? Is it our imagination or are we truly on to some profound changes going on in our society?
It is clear—the number of those getting married in our society is declining. According to the University of Virginia study entitled The State of Our Unions 2010 marriage has been on the decline since the 1960’s.
For example, marriage today among white males and white females has dropped some 20% overall since the 60’s. The marriage decline is even more pronounced for black males during this same time frame where marriage is down 40% overall. And, even more dramatic is the marriage decline for black women where marriage is down over 50% since the 1960’s.
Part of the aforementioned decline is due to people getting married at an older age than in the 1960’s. People getting married at the ages of 15, 16, 17, and 18 is much less prevalent in our society today than it was in 1960, and that fact is a good thing.
While getting married later in life is a good thing that has lead to higher success rates in marriage, not getting married at all is not good for people and not good for America. The truth is that in the American middle class and among the African-American community, marriage is in trouble!
These are the five major conclusions one can draw from the University of Virginia study:
1. Marriage is an emerging dividing line between America’s moderately educated middle class and those with college degrees.
2. Marital quality is declining for the moderately educated middle but not for their highly educated peers.
3. Divorce rates are up for moderately educated Americans, relative to those who are highly educated.
4. The moderately educated middle is dramatically more likely than highly educated Americans to have children outside of marriage.
5. The children of highly educated parents are now more likely than in the recent past to be living with their mother and father, while children with moderately educated parents are far less likely to be living with their mother and father.
Their most stunning summary statement of the report reads as follows:
So the United States is increasingly a separate and unequal nation when it comes to the institution of marriage. Marriage is in danger of becoming a luxury good attainable only to those with the material and cultural means to grab hold of it. The marginalization of marriage in Middle America is especially worrisome, because this institution has long served the American experiment in democracy as an engine of the American Dream, a seedbed of virtue for children, and one of the few sources of social solidarity in a nation that otherwise prizes individual liberty.
Just imagine – the most fundamental and central component of American society – the glue of our socialization process for the total of American history (and for nearly 6000 years of recorded world history) – has been marriage. There has been no more important glue for the social structure of America than marriage. Any threat to the sanctity or importance of marriage between two people puts our society at risk.
In the end, we believe the University of Virginia should have added a 6th conclusion – there is great danger for the Republic when people in love choose to stay single and not make the commitment to marriage so prevalent in our history as a nation.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that the great societal traditions of America will continue without marriage. Don’t think that spending most of your life without someone is good for you or good for America. Everybody needs somebody. Of that you can be sure.
Marriage between two people who love each other has been an enduring element in the success of America from the beginning of our great country. There are many reasons to support marriage as an institution, but perhaps one of the most compelling reasons is this – you will not grow old by yourself.
In the end, it is of utmost importance to all of us to have someone who loves us, has our best interests at heart, commits to being our life’s companion, is our advocate, stays with us through thick and thin, and is there for us during the ending stages of our life.
We are reminded again of the lyrics from Neil Diamond’s 1972 song, Morningside – The old man died. And no one cried. They simply turned away. (Prophet Music, Inc. (ASCAP)).
No one wants to grow old alone. We would dare say that most everyone wants someone to be their companion when they grow old. To laugh with them while they live and cry for them when they die.
Why all the lonely people? Where do they all come from? All the lonely people, where do they all belong? (Eleanor Rigby, The Beatles, Capitol Records, 1966).
Don’t grow old by yourself. Life is too short to spend it alone. Go to Starbucks with someone you love today! Don’t join the ranks of all the lonely people.
By Dr. Charles D. Schmitz and Dr. Elizabeth A. Schmitz
For hundreds of tips to enhance your relationship get the Doctor’s best-selling and multiple-award winning book Building a Love that Lasts: The Seven Surprising Secrets of Successful Marriage (Jossey-Bass/Wiley) Available wherever books are sold.
Winner of the INDIE Book Awards GOLD Medal for Best Relationship Book
Winner of the Mom’s Choice Awards GOLD Medal for Most Outstanding Relationships and Marriage Book
Nautilus Book Awards Winner for Relationships

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!
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*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.

Looking for Love in All the Right Places

By America’s #1 Love and Marriage Experts.
We believe that many folks are afraid of marriage because they read the dire predictions about marriage in the news, they watch way too much television where the focus is, more often than not, on glorifying sex and multiple relationships, and because they hear too many people belittling the value and sanctity of marriage. It’s a shame really because it causes people desperate for love to look for love in all the wrong places.
There is science involved in understanding why so many marriages beyond the first one fail. People desperate for love go to singles bars, nightclubs, parties, etc. Now ask yourself this very honest and forthright question – do you really expect that your best chance to find Mr. or Ms. Right is through one of these venues? That is not to say that it doesn’t happen from time to time, but we suspect that people looking for lasting love in these places rarely find it. This is not meant as a criticism of these venues so much as our attempt to open your eyes to the limited chances of finding someone to spend your life with in places like this.
Our advice is go to places where you are more likely to find another person looking for true and lasting love – at church or synagogue, at volunteer opportunities, by belonging to social organizations like dance clubs, at interest-oriented meetings such as book clubs, car clubs, outdoor organizations or community action groups, at the bookstore over a cup of coffee, or at work (this gets a little complicated!), to name a few. If you meet a person doing what you enjoy doing the most, chances are, you will find a person who shares your same interests and passions. Make a list of all of the things you love doing, then start doing them.
Fairly recent on the matchmaking front are the dating services and on-line dating sites. There is still no clear conclusion about the long-term success rate or validity of the matching capabilities of these services. However, one thing is for sure, much caution has to be used when engaging these services. For tips on things to watch out for see: Does online dating lead to marriage?
In our judgment a principle cause of divorce is because people end up married to the wrong person after searching for love in all the wrong places. Start doing what you enjoy the most and you will be looking for love in the right places. We are confident you will find the one you can love and who will love you for a lifetime.
Simple Things Matter in love and marriage. Love well!
By Dr. Charles D. Schmitz and Dr. Elizabeth A. Schmitz
For more tips to enhance your relationship get the Doctor’s best-selling and multiple-award winning book Building a Love that Lasts: The Seven Surprising Secrets of Successful Marriage (Jossey-Bass/Wiley 2010) Available wherever books are sold.
Winner of the INDIE Book Awards GOLD Medal for Best Relationship Book
Winner of the 2009 Mom’s Choice Awards GOLD Medal for Most Outstanding Relationships and Marriage Book
2009 Nautilus Book Awards Winner for Relationships

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