What Your Marriage Proposal Could Tell You About Your Relationship

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

Five Reasons Why Second Marriages Fail at a High Rate

For some time the divorce rate in the USA for first marriages has held at about 50%. This is a national tragedy. This statistic also means that many people have subsequent marriages.
Common sense suggests that someone who remarries is older, wiser, more mature, has learned from their mistakes, and knows better what they want and need in a partner. Therefore, the divorce rate for second marriages would be expected to be substantially lower than the rate for first marriages. Despite our common sense expectations, according to demographic data, the divorce rate for subsequent marriages is, in fact, significantly higher than that of first marriages—65%, nearly two out of three! Why?
1. Money, Sex, and In-Laws
The above big three issues are the primary problems that plague most first marriages. These same issues also impact subsequent marriages—but even more so. The money problem becomes even more troublesome in second marriages due to child support and spousal maintenance payments. Second marriages feel the strain when money is tight and hubby has to send checks to the first wife.
The sex issue also gets interesting in subsequent marriages, if, for no other reason, one or both of the partners were previously in a committed relationship. Uncomfortable questions and comparisons are likely to arise.
The in-law situation becomes especially taxing in subsequent marriages, particularly when both partners bring a child into the new relationship. There would be husband’s parents, wife’s parents, husband’s ex’s parents, and wife’s ex’s parents. Whose house do you go to for Thanksgiving? Statistically, two of these in-law couples could be divorced so that could add another pair of in-laws this new couple may have to appease. If one of the partners is marrying for the third time and had a child with the previous two spouses, the mathematical permutations of potential in-laws is beyond this liberal arts graduate.
2. Children
Children keep tenuous marriages together. While natural children are binding agents in first marriages, step-children are often divisive factors in subsequent unions. Many parents struggle with managing their natural offspring; nearly all step-parents are frustrated with dealing with their step-kids. A major problem in blended families is partners not supporting each other with regard to the management of their respective natural children.
3. Ex’s
Some ex-spouses are pleased to see their ex enter a new relationship—especially if it could result in fewer legal motions being filed or reduced child support and alimony payments. Some ex’s, though, especially if they were the dumpee, are resentful when their ex finds a new relationship and may attempt to sabotage it. Some angry ex’s continue to bring their ex-spouse back to court for various reasons long after the divorce is final. This adds emotional and financial tension to the new partnership. Another sad but unfortunately common ploy is to negatively lobby the child against the new partner. This tends to make problem # 2 worse.
4. The Speed at which We Re-Couple
When you have been rejected by someone you once loved or decide to end a committed relationship, attention from another possible suitor is quite intoxicating. The data shows that many separated individuals are in a new exclusive relationship before the ink on the divorce decree is dry. We like to be coupled. A sizable number of persons will purposely enter a new relationship as a means of extricating themselves from an unfulfilling marriage. Rushing from one relationship into another is foolish and does not provide the time to fully explore the new one before becoming emotionally committed to it. Once the infatuation wanes, the new relationship could be in trouble.
5. Unconscious Dynamics
Psychoanalytic theory holds that who we marry is pre-determined. We are unconsciously attracted to individuals with certain characteristics. This attraction does not guarantee a healthy paring; this subconscious desire, in fact, may lead to angst in the relationship. Unfortunately, most of us are unaware of our unconscious forces. If the marriage ends, we tend to put all the blame on our ex and rarely consider our role in that failed relationship. Thus, we subsequently unconsciously seek another partner with essentially the same dynamics of our ex—and the next relationship is in jeopardy.
I recommend that if you have left a committed relationship, for any reason, you should immediately get into counseling for a minimum of nine months before you consider entering another exclusive relationship.

Marriage Can Last a Lifetime for Some Very Good Reasons

By America’s #1 Love and Marriage Experts.
Recently, we reviewed some research that addressed the issue of how to make the romance of a marriage last. While we think the essay generally reflects what we have found in our 26+ years of research on six of the world’s seven continents, we take issue with some of the reported findings.
First, the notion that happy marriages are based on good communication, shared values, a sturdy support system of friends and relatives, happy, stable childhoods, fair quarreling, and dogged determination is mostly true, but not completely true.
Here is what we know – successfully married couples have NOT reported to us that having a sturdy support system of friends and relatives was a prerequisite to their successful marriage. Quite the contrary – they have reported to us that the strength of their personal relationship with each other was based, well, on their relationship with each other, irrespective of their friends and relatives! Imagine that! Having friends and a supportive family is nice, but it is certainly NOT a prerequisite to a blissful, happy, and successful marriage.
And here is the second area where the author has gone wrong – stable childhoods are NOT a prerequisite to a successful marriage. We have interviewed couples that have been successfully married for 30-77 years and virtually none of them have reported that a stable childhood was the defining element in their successful marriage.
In fact, most of the successfully married couples we have interviewed suggest to us that their childhood experiences didn’t matter much with regard to their marriage. Their marriage depended, more than anything else, on their relationship with each other. The success of their marriage was determined by the strength of their relationship with each other – nothing more, nothing less. Let’s leave the blame on childhood experiences – for good or bad – behind as unworthy when it comes to a successful marriage.
Now, on to the next problem – so-called love blindness, self-deception, or positive illusions. These notions don’t hold much water in our humble and well-researched opinion.
Present in the mind’s-eye of the most successful marriages we have studied is the simple notion that a person’s spouse is eternally beautiful or handsome. And trust us on this – these aspersions of beauty and handsomeness transcend time and place.
The simple and endearing truth is this – would you really expect anything different? To see the one you love in the most positive terms throughout your enduring marriage should come as no surprise to anyone. Having positive illusions is not a bad thing – and it is certainly not something to dismiss as unimportant. Love blindness is something to embrace!
Some who study marriage have reported that there is no particular combination of personality traits that leads to sustained romance. Frankly, we find such a conclusion invalid and not supported by our own research. Here’s why.
Our research of successfully married couples on six continents of the world – reflecting different ethnicities, different cultures, different religious traditions – reveals seven personality traits that leads to sustained romance and to a successful marriage that transcends time. To suggest that there are no personality traits that lead to sustained romance is to ignore overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
All of this now leads to this inescapable question – why do so-called experts report such findings as truth when there is so much evidence to the contrary? One only knows!
Here is what we know to be true – there are recurring themes in successful marriages around the world. In a nutshell, they are: togetherness/oneness of the relationship; truthfulness and honesty; mutual respect and kindness; a focus on healthy living and good health; the sharing of important financial decisions; daily tactile communication (frequent touching and intimacy); and surprise and unpredictability (great marriages are never stale or boring). These time-tested relationships speak to the notion of how to make the romance of a marriage last. It really is that simple. Simple things matter in love and marriage. They really work!
As human beings, we have this amazing capacity to love and be loved. In a successful marriage, this notion is multiplied ten-fold! Successful marriage represents an accumulation of the reciprocal notion of loving and being loved.
Simple Things Matter in love and marriage. Love well!
By Dr. Charles D. Schmitz and Dr. Elizabeth A. Schmitz
Authors of the best-selling book and multiple-award winning book Building a Love that Lasts: The Seven Surprising Secrets of Successful Marriage (Jossey-Bass/Wiley 2010) Available wherever books are sold.
Winner of the INDIE Book Awards GOLD Medal for Best Relationship Book
Winner of the 2009 Mom’s Choice Awards GOLD Medal for Most Outstanding Relationships and Marriage Book
2009 Nautilus Book Awards Winner for Relationships

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

Will A Separation Help Or Hurt Your Marriage?

If you’re reading this, I’m sorry that your marriage has gotten to the point that separation is in consideration. I know that going through what you’re going through isn’t easy. However, your marriage is not over unless you stop trying. Here is how marriage separation can benefit your relationship, no matter how bad it may seem.
First things first, I know that things may seem impossible to fix between you and your spouse right now but just know that unless you stop trying, your marriage still has a chance.
A lot of people out there say that a marriage separation could ruin your marriage but I do not believe that is the case if you do it right. The point of a trial separation is to give each person space to reevaluate their emotions and marriage without the direct stress of living together with their spouse.
As long as each person is fully committed to saving their marriage while they are separated from their spouse will a trial marriage separation actually work. There are certain guidelines that must be followed to make sure that a marriage separation won’t be the death nail to a crumbling marriage.
With that said, here are a few things that you must do when it comes to marriage separation.
* Before you both separate, set a clear guideline on your marriage separation terms.
* Avoid dating other people while you guys are separated, it just gets too confusing.
* Commit to seeing a marriage therapist while you guys are separated.
* Plan on catching up with your spouse at least every other week or so (continue to date each other).
Going through a marriage problems will definitely affect your self-esteem and confidence. While you and your spouse are separated, take time for yourself and rebuild your confidence in yourself. One of the first step of healing a relationship is working on yourself. Somewhere along the road, your internal world was turned upside down.
Take a moment everyday and work on your mindset. You can do through affirmations, taking steps to improve your self-image, and meditation.
Mirror affirmations can do wonders for your self-esteem and help banish negative beliefs. A lot of people don’t realize it but your subconscious mind drives the boat. If your subconscious mind will try to make your negative beliefs about yourself into a reality. Mirror affirmations and positive thinking can really help you heal from the inside out.
For example,
* I am worthy of love.
* I am beautiful.
* Life is beautiful.
Many people can scoff at mediation, but when really helps us from dealing with negative stress and anxiety is by staying in the present moment. Anxiety is a anticipatory feeling. If you are in the moment and not worrying about the past or future– anxiety should be nonexistent.
Remember, if you and your spouse can come out of this “rough patch” in your life, your marriage will come out stronger than ever. Only with trial and tribulations can we increase our personal growth and self- development.

Finding The Right Person To Marry

Finding The Right Person To Marry
By Dr. Charles D. Schmitz and Dr. Elizabeth A. Schmitz
“the marriage doctors”
Authors of the Best Relationship Book of 2008 INDIE Book Awards Gold Medal Winner
Golden Anniversaries: The Seven Secrets of Successful Marriage
Available at GoldenAnniversaries.com, BarnesandNoble.com, and at Bookstores
On July 6, Maureen Down wrote an Op-Ed piece for the New York Times entitled, “An Ideal Husband.” Let us say up front that we do not often share the views of Ms. Dowd as we believe her musings tend to be on both the negative and the cynical sides of life, and as you know, we take a much more positive approach when we talk about love and relationships. So what did she say that has us riled? Here’s what.
In her article, Ms. Dowd extensively quotes Father Pat Connor, a 79-year old Catholic priest, born in Australia and based in Bordentown, New Jersey, on his views about finding the ideal husband. In summary here are the thoughts of Father Connor:
1. “Never marry a man who has no friends,”
2. “Does he use money responsibly?
3. “Steer clear of someone whose life you can run, who never makes demands counter to
4. “Is he overly attached to his mother and her mythical apron strings?
5. “Does he have a sense of humor?
6. “A therapist friend insists that ‘more marriages are killed by silence than by violence.
The strong, silent type can be charming but ultimately destructive.
7. “Don’t marry a problem character thinking you will change him.
8. “Does he possess those character traits that add up to a good human being – the willingness to forgive, praise, be courteous?
Father Connor concludes by saying, “After I regale a group with this talk, the despairing cry goes up: ‘But you’ve eliminated everyone!’ Life is unfair.”
On the surface, all of this seems fun – it seems like good advice. But here is where the Father and Maureen Dowd go wrong – while some of the advice seems good at first glance it has five primary problems:
1. It is not based on any research that would support the notions expounded by the Father (Some of the ideas seem plausible on the surface, but do not pass the research test).
2. It makes love sound like it is some kind of litmus test – some kind of quiz you give to the one you are falling in love with. (Trust us, a quiz of someone you purport to love about these ideas could be a real turnoff!).
3. It belittles and disparages men – it makes it sound as if love is only a one-way street
(i.e., she decides as if HE has no choice in the matter).
4. At the risk of offending some of our readers – a celibate priest is not the best
judge of what makes for a successful marriage.
5. And finally, on what basis would you judge his answers to the aforementioned questions?
We have studied successful marriage for over 25 years. We report our findings in our new book entitled, Golden Anniversaries: The Seven Secrets of Successful Marriage (©2008). Of the many discoveries we have made over the years, we know this – finding the one you want to marry is not as simple as Father Connor and Maureen Dowd would like for you to believe. There are no simple questions to ask or elixirs to take. And frankly, with regard to the eight ways that are suggested to find the right husband, what are those answers supposed to be? How do we determine the right answers?
More than anything, finding the one you want to marry is, in the end, a matter of the heart. We believe there are better ways to determine if you have found the right person to marry and if you will read our article entitled How Will I Know I Am In Love? you will find out what they are.
Here are some simple truths:
1. Many men are shy, some are loners, and many are careful whom they select as friends. That doesn’t mean they have no friends, but could be construed that way by the unknowing person as just that.
2. Using money responsibly is important to a marital relationship, no question about it. On the other hand, how does one define responsible use of money? Remember, what is good for the goose is not necessarily good for the gander. In a successful marriage, financial decisions are shared decisions. The successfully married couple ultimately decides what the standard for responsible use of money is.
3. As to running someone’s life, what exactly does that mean? Do not mistake accommodation and acquiescence to your desires as a weakness in a man. Most men have learned to pick and choose their battles. More often than not, when it matters, he will stand up to your demands. Letting you have your way is not a weakness, it is usually a sign of respectfulness from a man. Don’t misinterpret his meaning.
4. Virtually all good men love their mothers. Big deal! And frankly, the old adage that men marry their mothers is in many ways true. Their mother’s nurtured them, loved them, cared for them, held their hand, and supported them in time of need. Men could count on their mother’s trust. The notion of an apron string is, in fact, mythical in most cases.
5. A good humor is a fine trait in a man. But on the other hand, dismissing everything important with humor is not necessarily a good trait. Laughing off things that are serious isn’t funny. Using cutting or biting humor in their interactions with you is not a virtue.
6. We are baffled by the notion that the strong, silent type can be charming but ultimately destructive. Where in the world did this notion come from? Many men are quietly strong. Don’t confuse being quiet with being weak. Many men carefully choose their words, promulgate their thoughts before they speak, avoid arguments and heated discussions for fear of escalation. These are not negative characteristics. Sure, communication is at the heart of most loving relationships, but communication is many faceted. Talking is only one form. Remember, judge a man by his actions and not by his words.
7. It is true that it is very hard to change a person when they become an adult. And yes, it is a bad idea to marry someone who is not a man of character and then thinking you can change him into becoming one. On the other hand, imagine all of the men of the world who would have missed out on so many of life’s opportunities if they did not meet a loving, nurturing, and supportive women who helped them become a better person by overcoming their shortcomings. Lost souls find their way many times because of the love of a women. To suggest that women should run away from men who are still finding their way in life is silly – and destructive.
8. Good men do forgive, give praise, and are courteous. But praise for a bad deed, forgiveness for the unforgivable, and courteousness to those who abuse them or cheat on them, are not virtues. And sometimes, men use these traits to get things they don’t deserve. There are no black or whites answers here. In the end, the actions of a man speak far more loudly than his words.
Finding the right person to marry is not simple and there are no magic answers. The love between two people develops differentially, of that you can be sure. But in the end, being in love is the prerequisite to everything in a marital relationship. If you understand when you are truly in love all things are possible.
Love well!

The 5 Things You Should NEVER Say to Your Spouse

By America’s #1 Love and Marriage Experts.
Just as important as saying the right thing to the one you love is to avoid saying statements that have the potential to destroy the foundation of the relationship. Saying just one wrong thing can negate an entire day of good statements and actions. Negative and hurtful statements can have the power to cut through the very fabric of the bond between two people in love.
Here are those five things you should NEVER say to your spouse:
1. It’s your fault! Sometimes, a financial decision goes bad, one of your children gets in trouble at school, or some household calamity occurs. And know this – things do go bad from time to time in any relationship. Decisions turn out wrong. Stuff happens! But the blame game never works! It alienates. It divides. It most certainly undermines trust and openness in your relationship.?
2. I told you so! Trust us on this – these four words are rarely ever used in successful marriages. This kind of comeuppance has no place in a loving relationship. There is no need to remind your spouse that you were right about something and they were wrong. Talk about wasted criticism!?
3. Saying I am upset with you about this or that . . . . in a public setting. Telling private secrets or criticizing your spouse in public or to someone else can do permanent damage to the trust in your relationship. True or not – it doesn’t matter. Keep private things private.?
4. Why do you always . . . Focusing on your spouse’s weakness rather than building on their strengths will only increase their weakness and diminish their strength. This habit can send a relationship into a downward spiral if weaknesses are pointed out and commented upon. Success does breed success. Stick with the strengths and don’t focus on weakness.?
5. Ask for your spouse’s opinion and then do the opposite. We have heard from many angry divorced or almost divorced couples that this is the greatest indicator of disrespect. If you ask where your spouse wants to go to dinner and he/she suggests a couple of places, then you select a different one, by your actions you said, I do not respect your opinion and don’t care what you think!
Since saying negative or hurtful things can be damaging to a loving relationship, it is wise to take extra caution before engaging your mouth when these negative thoughts come into your mind.
By Dr. Charles D. Schmitz and Dr. Elizabeth A. Schmitz
For hundreds of practical tips to strengthen your love, get the best-selling and multiple-award winning book Building a Love that Lasts: The Seven Surprising Secrets of Successful Marriage (Jossey-Bass/Wiley 2010) Available wherever books are sold. Learn more about America’s #1 Love and Marriage Experts

Toilet seats can come between you and your spouse!

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

* 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!

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

Why Women Stay With Men Who Cheat

Many people find it hard to understand why a woman would choose to stay in a marriage or a relationship with a man who has cheated on her, or who has a history of extramarital affairs.
Yet there are millions of women, who for various reasons, have chosen to stay with a cheating mate.
Reasons Women Stay with Cheating Men
Listed below are a few of the reasons why women choose to stay with a cheating spouse or significant other:
• Love
• Convenience
• Financial reasons
• Not willing to give up lifestyle
• Insufficient proof of infidelity
• For the sake of the children
• Fear of change
• Low self esteem
• Bad timing
• Thinking the cheater will change
• To achieve career goals
• Hoping counseling will help
• Fear of being alone
• Loyalty
• Religious beliefs
• Desire to keep the family intact
• Belief that it won’t happen again
These are not the only reasons women remain in relationships with cheaters. There are other reasons, too — reasons that make sense only to the woman involved.
A Woman Shouldn’t Have to Explain
Having been a victim of infidelity myself, I feel that a woman should never have to explain or defend her decision to anyone (other than her children) as to why she has chosen to leave or to stay with a man who cheats.
Choosing to leave, or to stay with a cheating spouse or significant other is a very personal matter. Some women will make a spur the moment decision the minute they find out about the affair. And many times they may regret their choice. For other women, whether to stay or leave is a carefully thought-out decision in which many factors have been taken into consideration.
Well-wishing friends and family members are quick to tell w woman what they think she should do if her husband or boyfriend is having an affair. But it’s up to the woman to decide for herself what’s in her (and her children’s) best interests at the time. She is the one who has to live with the decision that’s made.
What NOT to Do When a Husband Cheats
While making the right decision is of the utmost importance, it’s more important to know what NOT to do.
Many women react blindly when they first find out about the affair. They let fear, anger, hurt, or a desire for revenge cause them to do things they may later regret.
Regardless of whether a woman ultimately decides to stay with the cheater or leave him, doing the wrong thing in the initial stages of discovery can actually make a bad situation worse. Rather than making a hasty, spur-of-the-moment decision, it’s best to take time to carefully think things through. It’s important for her to avoid making a mistake that can sabotage the course of action she eventually decides to take.
For some women, staying is the right decision. For other women, the right decision may be to leave. Each woman must make her own choice. The most.
FREE Tips on How to Avoid Making a Mistake
If your husband is having an extramarital affair and you want to avoid making a fatal mistake, get a copy of the free special report entitled 5 Things You SHOULDN’T Do If He’s Cheating on You. It covers five things a woman should avoid doing immediately after discovering that her cheating on her, and explains the reasons why. To get a free copy, e-mail with 5 things-sg in the subject line.
For more information on infidelity, cheating spouses, and extramarital affairs, visit www.InfidelityAdvice.com or http://infidelitynewsandviews.blogspot.com

By America’s #1 Love and Marriage Experts.

Don’t you just hate bullies! They try to get what they want by bullying you, by intimidating you, and by making you feel inferior to them. If you are like us, this NEVER works! Yet, so many good folks succumb to the bully. And we wonder why? read more

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
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.

Marriage in France is Alive and Well

By America’s #1 Love and Marriage Experts.
Our recent trip to France reinforced for us something we already anticipated – marriage is alive and well in France.
Recently, we again traveled to Europe to conduct more interviews with successfully married couples for our new book entitled, How to Marry the Right Guy, (2014). Since we had not been to France in several of years, we were beginning to believe the media reports about how the French did not like Americans. So, we braced ourselves for the difficulties we might encounter as two American authors and researchers asking intimate questions about love and marriage in France. Our fears and the media reports could not have been further from the truth.
First of all, the French people were delightful! They were wonderfully warm, open, friendly and courteous beyond imagination. Everywhere we went they treated us like members of their family. From the hotels we stayed in to the local bistros, the people were marvelous. On buses, trains, subways, and in cabs, we were greeted with open arms and great warmth.
And while we have heard for years the notion that French people will be more friendly if you speak to them in French, we found that a warm handshake and a big smile spoke volumes in French! They were polite to us and we reciprocated. We struggled with each other’s languages but we managed. Big smiles, hand signs, and hugs go a long way in most of the foreign countries we have visited. That’s for sure.
Our travels took us throughout France, with a focus on Paris and Lyon—both wonderful cities with fabulous cuisine, great wine, sights to behold, and history to tell. But more than anything, with all the amenities of these two great cities, we were struck by the friendliness and warmth of the French people. We were there for nearly two weeks and only have splendid experiences to report. The French passion for food, wine, life and romance cannot be missed if you just strike up a conversation with someone, observe couples strolling down the Champs Elysee, or when you mingle in a small café or bistro.
And the couples we interviewed were marvelous, which brings us to the main point of our story. You have probably heard that the French are no longer interested in marriage or some variation on that theme. Don’t you believe it! The couples we interviewed who had been successfully and happily married for 30 to 60 years reported great satisfaction in their marriage and would do it all over again.
But here is where it gets interesting – we found the same themes in young French couples that were in love. The ones we interviewed loved each other very much and were looking forward to getting married, just like their aunts and uncles, parents, and grand parents before them. In fact, the word on the French streets is that marriage is making a very nice comeback in France! We heard nothing while we were there to dispute that notion.
Isn’t that wonderful news! The greatest romantic country in the world – and a very secular country as well – is getting interested in marriage again. That is encouraging news, indeed.
When we summarized our recent interview data from France we were struck by how similar the characteristics that defined their successful marriages and relationships were to those in the USA. They were virtually identical. It seems that successful marriages around the world or in romantic countries have common themes. Frankly, we continue to be extremely excited about our findings.
Prior to this visit we had already interviewed over the years couples in Argentina, Australia, Austria, Chile, China, Denmark, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Italy, Monaco, Morocco, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, The Philippines, The Netherlands, and the USA, just to name a few of the 48 countries we have interviewed people in. On our most recent trip we interviewed additional couples in Belgium, Great Britain, France, and Luxembourg. Next week we are off to Canada to interview Canadian couples with successful marriages of more than 30 years.
While we have enjoyed immensely the couples we have interviewed in all of the countries we have visited, we particularly enjoyed our recent interviews with French couples. There are a multitude of reasons why. But if you pushed us to name just one, it would have to be their passion for enjoying the romance of life and their love for each other. We do not ever remember feeling so comfortable and welcomed by the people of a foreign country than we did in our recent trip to France.
As we began to write the individual and collective stories of these engaging French couples with %0A” rel=”nofollow”>successful marriages for our next book, we found ourselves wanting to share some of those findings with you right away. We were just too excited to wait!
Stay tuned for more on love, relationships and successful marriage in romantic countries and around the world! And always remember, around the world the secret to a great marriage is marrying the right guy in the first place!!
In love and marriage the simple things matter.
By Dr. Charles and Dr. 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 marriage work! And truthfully, we have learned over 30 years of marriage research that there are proven effective ways to ensure a happy and healthy marriage. In fact, we took hundreds of tips from the thousands of happy couples we interviewed and put them into our award-winning and bestselling book, Building a Love that Lasts .
**Today, you can see how you stack up to the best marriages around the world. Take the Marriage Quiz to assess your chances of achieving a successful marriage of your own and read How to Marry the Right Guy, to find out if your guy has the essential characteristics to be a great husband.

There is No Recovery from Infidelity

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

How to Deal with Money Problems in a Marriage

By America’s #1 Love and Marriage Experts.
While times are tougher than normal in the country today, the best marriages and love affairs will sustain the test of tough times for all the right reasons – during good or bad times the best loving relationships find ways to survive and thrive.
The more important question through all this is, How do we as a married couple, or lovers engaged in a loving relationship, make sure we sustain our love affair through all this turmoil, through all this uncertainty?
As we stated so clearly in one of our books entitled Building a Love that Lasts, people in love must talk sense when dealing with their dollars. Here’s what we mean.
Balancing the family budget requires teamwork. It requires common goals. It most certainly requires family support. People in love support each other through thick and thin – through tough financial times and uncertainty.
People in love don’t blame, castigate, or chastise each other in tough economic times. They work together to make ends meet and to prepare for tomorrow.
There is a natural tendency in tough times to blame the one you love for your collective misfortune. There is, sadly, the desire to find a scapegoat when times get tough. There is, unfortunately, the need to find someone to blame when your economic fortunes go south. But it doesn’t have to be that way because the truth is, there usually is no one to blame for your misfortune.
People in love don’t wallow in self-pity. They grab the bull by the horns and work for solutions – recognizing that running a household is not easy. Making a family work is, clearly, difficult even in the best of times. But the unequivocal truth is this – if you don’t view your relationship as one requiring teamwork, all is lost. If you don’t work together to address head-on the economic challenges of your relationship with each other, there is little hope of success.
Whether you lost your job due to downsizing or whether you had to take a pay cut to keep the job you have, always remember this, what sustains your relationship is being in love with someone you trust – someone you would trust with you love, your sacred honor, and with your life.
In summary, here are the seven most important actions you can take to deal with your financial issues together:
1. Communicate openly about all financial issues in your relationship. You are in this together. Never make a major purchase without talking it over with your spouse and sleeping on it. You would be surprised at the number of purchases you don’t make if you sleep on it! Financial communication and sharing is the best insurance that you both agree on the purchase. It prevents a serious fault finding session later, if the decision was a bad one from a financial point of view.
2. Don’t run up a butt load of debt. This is the number one cause of stress in marital relationships. Too much month at the end of each paycheck makes it tough to relax and enjoy life together. Work out a budget together and stick to it. Put off purchasing anything that you can until you save enough money to pay for it.
3. Approach all financial problems as a team, setting goals for resolving your financial setbacks. These are after all our problems not my problems and your problems. Agreeing on a course of action together provides the clarity of purpose necessary for finding a solution.
4. Don’t blame each other if things go wrong. The blame game doesn’t work in love and marriage.
5. Don’t wallow in self-pity; it is a wasted emotion. No financial problem has ever been solved by feeling sorry for yourself or your situation. Climbing out of financial difficulties takes focus and a positive team approach.
6. Take ACTION today to begin addressing your financial issues together. When you are in love being the Lone Ranger doesn’t earn you bonus points.
7. Celebrate each time you have a financial success such as paying off a credit card or finding a way to cut expenses. Fiscal responsibility is a virtue. Taking time to celebrate together creates the feeling that the next goal is even more achievable.
Times do occasionally get tough, but here’s the bottom line – if you have a loving and trusting relationship with someone, believe in that. If you love someone completely, then understand that your true love will sustain you through the best of times, and the worst of times.
The financial difficulties you are experiencing will improve if you work together to find solutions and build a team approach to handling money matters in 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

Having Children Is Not The Purpose of Marriage

By America’s #1 Love and Marriage Experts.
In the last several years a great deal has been reported about the purpose of marriage, lamenting the fact that Americans no longer consider children among the most important purposes of marriage. While most experts are concluding that this is a negative change, we would like to offer a different perspective based on our two and one-half decades of research on successful marriage.
For the past 26 years we have conducted interviews with successfully married couples representing the collective wisdom of over 15,000 years of successful marriage in some forty countries on five continents of the world! We have reported the results of our exhaustive research in our multiple award-winning book entitled Golden Anniversaries: The Seven Secrets of Successful Marriage and in our new book (due out in mid-year 2009), entitled Simple Things Matter in Love and Marriage. Our principal conclusion based on those interviews – marriage is alive and well.
In fact, we have found seven pervasive characteristics present in all successful marriages. And guess what – the quality of the relationship between husband and wife trumps everything else in a marriage!
And you know why? It’s simple, really. Without a positive, loving, and thriving relationship between mom and dad, children often don’t prosper, they are not well-adjusted, they don’t do well in school, and they are not as healthy, both physically and mentally.
In all of our interviews over the years with couples that have a long and successful marriage, not one of them ever mentioned that the purpose of their marriage was to have children. Oh, to be sure, they loved their children very much if they had them. They were delighted that they brought children into this world and were very proud of them for the most part. But they also reported to us time and time again that it was the strength of their relationship with each other that made their marriage happy and allowed them to attend to all the myriad of responsibilities and issues present in their marriage.
Marriages thrive and survive more than anything else because of the quality of the relationship between mom and dad. It’s no more complicated than that.
Let’s look at the facts – 73%, some three-fourths, of women 30 years old and older are currently married or widowed in the United States of America. Most importantly, over 90% of all women will have been married at least once by the time they reach the age of 50.
The truth is, American’s love marriage! We just need to learn how to get it right the first time around instead of having nearly four out of every ten of our marriages end in divorce. And the simple truth is, two-thirds of those that re-marry after divorce get divorced again. Nearly 75% who get married a third time get divorced.
So you see, the relationship between mom and dad does trump everything else. Get it right and good things follow. Get it wrong and lots of bad things often happen!
A women quoted in a recent Washington Post article got it right when she said, “When I think of marriage I don’t think of children at all. I have them. But with marriage, I think of a husband and a wife, and I don’t think it’s the children that make it work.”
The purpose of marriage within the historical and social context is strengthened when the focus is on the development of a strong, positive, and blissful relationship between husband and wife. That relationship trumps everything else. Make this relationship work and everything else follows.
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

One time in a land far away a client asked me if I could help her save her 15-year marriage.

Her husband was threatening to leave her, was stonewalling and was generally emotionally cold, but she said he was willing to see me. I worked with him for several months, and they stayed together.
read more

Is the Seven Year Itch in Marriage Real?

By America’s #1 Love and Marriage Experts.
The Seven-Year Itch is real according to the U.S. Census Bureau. There were a number of interesting highlights reported in the U.S. Census Bureau’s press release entitled Most People Make Only One Trip Down the Aisle, But First Marriages Shorter. The one that piqued our interest the most was the following: On average, first marriages that end in divorce last about eight years. This phenomenon has often been referred to as the Seven-Year Itch.
First, a little background. Most aficionados of the Seven-Year Itch trace it back to a play by the same name written by one George Axelrod. His three-act play was first performed on Broadway in New York City in 1952. Three years later, a movie by the same title starring the late, great Marylyn Monroe was released by 20th Century Fox.
Before we get to the plot of this article we also wanted to remind you that the Seven-Year Itch has also been associated with an itchy and irritating skin rash that has been reported to last for up to seven years. Frankly, this notion is very closely related to what happens in a number of marriages as we explain in the paragraphs to follow.
In the most basic sense, the Seven-Year Itch is the inclination of some to become unfaithful to their spouse after seven years of marriage. Most of these marriages end in the 8th year.
In the play and the movie of the same title, a married man by the name of Richard is currently reading a book about to be published by his company entitled 7-Year Itch. The book offers the notion that a large percentage of men have extra-marital affairs after seven years of marriage; hence, the Seven-Year Itch. At the same time he is reading the book, he meets a young blond television model. As you might imagine, the plot thickens!
As the recently released Census data suggest, there just might be something to the Seven-Year Itch when it comes to marriage. 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 the ups. the downs, and the temptations present in all relationships at one time or another.
We have written about the importance of honesty, trust, and faithfulness in love and marriage in an article entitled Some Thoughts Regarding Character in Marriage. It takes character to avoid the Seven-Year Itch. It takes character to avoid the Seven-Year Itch.
We believe we have learned much from our more than 30 years of research on successful marriage and loving relationships and would like to share some of our findings with you within the context of this conversation about the Seven-Year Itch. Here are the seven rules for avoiding the Seven-Year Itch:
1. Understand that infatuation with another person and the temptation to betray the trust of the one you love is a perfectly normal feeling when it comes to love and marriage. Getting hitched to another person doesn’t make you less human. It does, in many ways, make you more human – more in touch with your feelings and emotions. Accept the feelings.
2. Do not under any circumstances act on those infatuation and temptation impulses until you have taken the time to fully think through the consequences if you make that choice. Cheating on your spouse or loved one can be and often is deadly to your relationship. Rebuilding trust is nearly impossible after committing such an indiscretion.
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 or lover. These feelings are often associated with a deep-seated problem in your relationship that must be addressed before it is too late.
4. The fourth rule—the turn the corner rule as we like to refer to it—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. There is pain to be sure when you address the issues that are destroying your loving relationship, but to not do so will be even more painful, we guarantee it!
5. Rule 5 is a tough one. You and your lover may discover in rule 4 that love is tough. It is sometimes unforgiving. Frankly, sometimes you determine that your loving relationship is lost. But more likely, you discover that you truly love your spouse and that you cannot imagine life without them. You find out what so many before have discovered – you love your mate so much you cannot under any circumstances let them go. You must save this relationship by committing to the hard work it will take to rebuild the love.
6. Which is why rule 6 is so critically important. Rule 6 says, seek help! Find some neutral party to talk to. Sometimes couples turn to a marriage counselor. Others turn to self-help websites. Truth is, much of what you need to learn can be self-taught. You can learn to do what you have to do to make your relationship work by reading what others, including us, have discovered. Being educators at heart, we especially like the latter. More often than not, you can learn so much about yourself and your loving relationship by discovering what others have already learned!
7. All of this leads to rule 7. Rule 7 is a simple rule, really. At it’s essence, it says to us that sometimes we have to fish or cut bait. The reality is that some marriages and loving relationships cannot be saved. They are doomed. They must end to the mutual benefit of both and to the many that are affected by the relationship. It is time to move on. But in the end, an examination of your relationship will hopefully reveal that your relationship is worth saving. More often than not, it can be saved. You should always work towards that end if you are to avoid the Seven-Year Itch.
We offer these seven rules to help you avoid the Seven-Year Itch so you can be one of those happy and successfully married couples who celebrate their golden anniversaries together.
In love and marriage the simple things matter. Love well!
Creating a 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.
By Drs. Charles and Elizabeth Schmitz
America’s #1 Love and Marriage Experts.

Will A Trial Separation Save Or Break Your Marriage? Find Out Here!

Many couples out there with a failing marriage question whether or not a trial marriage separation will make or break their marriage. If you are seriously thinking about whether or not you and your spouse should get separated, please read on.
Many couples with failing marriage living under the same roof can not coexist with each other without fighting, arguing or even build more resentment between one another. If you have children, staying under the same roof with your spouse can do more hurt than good.
Keep in mind if you and your spouse want to make your marriage work, but it seems impossible while you guys are living together, separating for a little bit can save your marriage (with the help of marriage counseling).
Marriage separation can help your marriage if each person commits to saving their marriage. A Trial separation is a great way for each person to breathe and reflect about their marriage.
It is best to not date other people while you’re separated, if you have any hopes of making your marriage work. When you and your spouse are separated, take time to reevaluate your life. Think about what went wrong in the marriage. A trial separation can also give each person the space they need for themselves. With this space, (like mentioned above) reflect about where your spouse fits in and the steps you need to making your marriage work. This time alone allows you to really think about where your relationship stands with your spouse.
A planned marriage separation is more likely beneficial to your marriage than an unplanned separation. An unplanned separation is when one person moves out without discussing it with their spouse. In an unplanned separation, there are no plans or guidelines to make your marriage work, which will indefinitely cause divorce.
It’s always best to give a trial marriage separation a try rather than heading straight for divorce. Frequently telling your spouse that one day you will leave if they don’t change their ways may not hold the impact you hope until one day you actually move out. Many people with a spouse who threatens to leave don’t really believe they will leave until there are packed bags in front of the door.
By not immediately filing for a divorce, it gives your spouse a wake up call. This may be the final straw it takes for your spouse to really listen to your words and agree to see a marriage therapist.
If you and your spouse plan for a temporary marriage separation make sure you:
Communicate what your goals are for the separation. Are you goals similar to your spouse’s goals? When you guys talk about this, come to an agreement on what you guys want to happen during the marriage separation.
Set a time frame for how long you guys will be separated for. During this time, make sure you guys are taking strides to make your marriage work. Whether you guys see a marriage counselor at the time or begin dating again, make sure you guys keep in contact with each other to cultivate your marriage.
Making sure you guys set guidelines before you separate. Make sure that the guidelines are clear and that each party has a clear understanding.
A trial separation can heal your marriage. Don’t forget to take this time to also work on your own self improvements. It takes two people to make a relationship work and two people to make it fail. Find out what areas you need to work on yourself as well as your relationship issues.
Remember, the point of the marriage separation is that you get the space you need away from your spouse to think about things. This means, don’t call your spouse every day to see how their doing.
Your marriage separation should help reduce how much toxic emotions you and your spouse invoke in one another and give you the space you need to figure out the necessary steps to saving your marriage.

Will Your Next Marriage be Better?

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

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!

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

Intimacy In Marriage: Politeness Is The Key

It is easy for people to throw caution into the wind after weeding, disrespecting their spouses, removing courtesy hurting each other deeply.
Many wrong things we cannot do to outsiders are what we do to our spouses, this is totally wrong.
To have intimacy in your marriage, to enjoy sizzling and intimate relationship with your spouse politeness is the key.
To show that we are polite to our spouse and spark up intimacy in our marriage, thereby enjoying the miracle of politeness in our homes, we must do the following:
1. Speak politely to your spouse. The easiest way to be impolite is through our words. An impolite person uses harsh words, is unkind, full of abusive words, criticizes unjustly and finds it easy to condemn. The easiest way to be polite can still be through our words; when you speak politely, encourage, motivate, appreciate, praise, assure your spouse of your support and speak to uplift each other. Proverbs 15:23 2. Be excited when you see your spouse, this is the key to intimacy in your home.
3. Honor him or her in the public and in secret.
4. Never report your spouse to your friends and family members.
5. Handle him or her politely in the presence of your friends, children and family.
6. Get angry politely. Even in the face of provocation, get angry without being impolite. You must not talk or act to destroy. When you are angry, express your anger in the most polite way.
7. Give attention to your spouse. It is an act of being impolite when you ignore your spouse whether at home or in public. This attitude has the capacity to kill your spouse’s morale.
8. V.I.P your spouse. Treat your spouse as a very important personality. Give high regards to your mate, esteem him or her in your heart and in your actions.
9. Be a privileged partner. See yourself as a very privileged person to have married your spouse. See him as the president; handle her as you would if the first lady stays in your house. Give your husband a presidential welcome; give your wife a first lady salute. You are privileged to have married a man or woman like her.
10. Keep his or her secrets. Never divulge the secrets you are privileged to know about your spouse to anybody else. If you do that, you are being impolite. Proverbs 25:2.
11. Be polite to him or her in absential. Some people are fond of talking ill of their spouses when he or she is not there, only to honor him or her when the person comes. This is wrong. This is an act of disloyalty and very hypocritical. Proverbs 24:3-4 12. Be polite to him or her in your heart. Don’t ever think negatively about your spouse in your heart, but if it comes, destroy it immediately. The heart is the seat of loyalty and disloyalty. Never allow your heart to work against your marriage; it is dangerous.
13. Be polite to your spouse even on the phone. Don’t ever fail to pick his or her calls. If you do, which should not be intentional, call him or her back immediately. Speak to him or her with respect on phone. Don’t ever hang up on your spouse; it is a sign of impoliteness. Proverbs 24:26 14. Argue politely. Even if you think your spouse said something foolish, please don’t confirm it. Argue positively and politely. Talk about the issue at hand in a manner that makes it easy for your spouse to accept correction, thereby preventing a recurrence of such. Proverbs 17:14 If intimacy is your dream in your home, then be polite, handle your spouse politely and respect.

Anonymity Versus the Truth about Marriage

By America’s #1 Love and Marriage Experts.
Often we wonder, silently and out-loud – why have so many good folks fallen prey to the lies and distortions about marriage in the USA promulgated by so many uninformed people or people with some kind of political agenda? Many times, they have an agenda protected by anonymous acrimony?
Why are so many willing to accept the negative pronouncements about marriage – it is a failed institution; the divorce rate is over 50%; people don’t get married anymore; we can just live together and be happy; good sex is all that matters; and the pronouncements go on.
Recently, we got yet another anonymous proclamation about all of the above – and more! This faceless writer made a lot of reckless claims about the institution of marriage. He or she proclaimed that marriage was all about good sex, that open marriages worked best, and that there was no such thing as a happy marriage.
Clearly, one of the problems associated with the Internet is anonymity. The Internet’s greatest strength (anonymity) is also its greatest weakness.
Here’s what we ask of those who comment anonymously. Have you conducted research about successful marriage for three decades on SIX continents of the world? Have you earned the appropriate academic degrees in the field you purport to know so much about? Have you published widely in the field of marriage?
Trust us, we do not intend to come across as angry or defensive. What we do want is for people to recognize that the practice of anonymity is a double-edged sword! While it is nice to express an opinion anonymously, anonymity does not make you smart, it does not make you informed about that which you speak, it doesn’t make you anything! It only means you have an opinion irrespective of its accuracy.
You see, expressing an opinion is different than having spent time doing the research to draw an honest conclusion. Opinion is just that, an opinion. But the problem is there are a lot of folks out there on the Internet who think that expressing an opinion is an epiphany – a truth that should be accepted at face value! We disagree.
The Internet is a very useful tool. The information you can retrieve from it is voluminous – it is awe-inspiring. And more often than not, it is useful. But here is where opinion ends and the truth begins – there is so much out there that is junk! There is so much on the Internet that is not truthful or reliable.
Now our main point! It is hard for us to see so many uninformed opinions and notions out there about successful marriage. It causes us sleepless nights to know that the opinions of one uninformed and anonymous person gets the same billing in the eyes of the public as a researcher than has spent nearly a lifetime doing research on a topic. In our case, the topic is successful marriage.
In our latest book, Building a Love that Lasts (Jossey-Bass/Wiley), we report on three decades of research on successful marriage on six of the world’s seven continents. We have interviewed thousands of successfully married couples based on one simple notion – you do not learn much about success by studying failure. You learn about success by studying success. Hence, we studied successful marriage around the world. We know what makes successful marriage work! We do not speculate, we do not guess, we do not offer opinions. We only offer the truth of our research findings.
We are sure you would agree – an anonymous opinion does not measure up to an informed and carefully conducted research study. Most people know the difference and that pleases us. All we ask of our many, many wonderful readers is that they weigh and measure carefully what they read, and then ask – is this research or opinion, is this person qualified by virtue of academic training and experience to express the opinions they promote as facts, do these people hide behind anonymity?
Our life’s goal is to share with our thousands of readers the truth about marriage based on the research evidence we have collected over nearly half of our respective lifetimes. In the end, you will know this – 40% or less of marriages end in divorce, not 50%; marriage is one of the most important contributors to social order in the world today; those who live together rather than get married have a higher divorce rate than those who get married; and, while sex is important to a marriage, over the life of the marriage it is NOT the most important contributor to successful marriage. We know these things to be true based on RESEARCH, not on anonymous opinion.
The good news – readers of our various missives know the difference. We are blessed with intelligent, well-informed readers. We go to bed each night thankful for this. Opinions are fun, but facts matter.
In love and marriage the simple things matter in love and marriage. Love well!
By Dr. Charles D. Schmitz and Dr. Elizabeth A. Schmitz
**For hundreds of tips to enhance your relationship get the Doctor’s best-selling and multiple-award winning book Building a Love that Lasts: The Seven Surprising Secrets of Successful Marriage (Jossey-Bass/Wiley 2010) Available wherever books are sold.
Winner of the INDIE Book Awards GOLD Medal for Best Relationship Book
Winner of the Mom’s Choice Awards GOLD Medal for Most Outstanding Relationships and Marriage Book
Nautilus Book Awards Winner for Relationships