Articles Marriage Tips

Marriage problems: Are power struggles destroying your relationship?

Marriage problems: Are power struggles destroying your relationship?

In the past you were single…
…and you could make decisions without having to check in with anyone.
Your favorite color was red and you liked small, fast cars (as in Cherry Red Sports Car, beloved even though you wrenched your back getting in and out);
The one bedroom apartment felt “cozy” and “just right,” so you signed the longest lease you could get;
You decided to get a tattoo … a few Margaritas later, “I love Hank” was scrawled across your shoulder. (Unfortunately, you don’t know any Hanks.)
Then “you” became a “we”…
…when you fell head over heels in love and made a commitment to another person (and a commitment to the relationship). And suddenly the two-seater is inadequate because it can’t hold groceries; the apartment is woefully too small for the visiting in-laws; and your significant other gives you a gift certificate for the newest boutique in town: “Tats: You Get ‘Em, We Strip ‘Em.”
You probably wouldn’t argue with the fact that certain responsibilities come with being part of an intimate, committed relationship (you now exist as part of an “us,” in addition to being a “me”). You could even make the argument that these responsibilities are part of what make being in love so rewarding.
One such responsibility includes consulting with your partner whenever you’re faced with an important decision. The thinking here is that big decisions impact both of you, so it only makes sense to ask about your partner’s opinions and feelings regarding any potentially important decision.
Major problems can arise when…
…you equate consulting with your partner with a loss of freedom and control in your life. Relationship problems arise when you fail to learn the give-and-take two-step, the relationship dance all couples must become skilled at in order to create a harmonious relationship.
Here’s the basic premise of the give-and-take two-step (don’t worry if you have two left feet, it’s pretty simple, at least on paper):
Step 1: You give to your partner by acknowledging and meeting her/his wishes and needs.
Step 2: You take (receive) when your partner acknowledges and meets your wishes and needs.
Step 3: Repeat steps 1 and 2 often.
Here’s the great thing about the give-and-take two-step: there will be moments when there is no difference between giving and receiving. If it’s meaningful to see your partner happy and content, you will experience the gift of receiving every time you give to your partner. No one loses in this dance!
Unfortunately, many fail to learn to do the give-and-take, and there’s another dance that many couples start doing instead.
Enter the power-struggle shuffle
The power-struggle shuffle feeds off a destructive “I’m right, you’re wrong” energy. In this dance, your ego fights for top billing and equates the idea of “giving to” your partner with “giving in” or losing.
Rather than experience the joys of “giving to,” the ego runs on the treadmill of illusion, seeking areas of the relationship where it can feel in control and claim victory. Needing to win or feel in control is the death-knell to compromise and intimacy. When one of you loses, so does the relationship. As long as the “win-lose” tempo keeps the power-struggle shuffle alive, the gifts of intimacy will never be realized.
The playing field of power struggles: Making decisions
Power struggles often emerge when couples have to make decisions. It doesn’t matter if you and your partner are butting heads over how much to tip the wait-staff, what school to send Junior to, or where to buy a new house, power struggles reflect the need to feel in control.
Mutuality and compromise: the antidote to power struggles
Many factors contribute to a successful marriage. A major contributor to success is learning how to become a team player, replacing the selfishness of the ego with an “us” and “we” mentality. Becoming a team player doesn’t mean you abandon your identity and forgo opportunities to get your own needs met. What it does mean, however, is that you’ve made a commitment to another person and to something bigger than each of you—the relationship.
3 steps to compromise:
The first step in learning to compromise is to acknowledge (to yourself and your partner) that the person you fell in love with is a unique individual with his/her own wishes, needs, preferences, and experiences.
The second step in learning to compromise is to accept your partner’s uniqueness. Needing to be in control of decisions is a major block to accepting that your partner’s perspective is both different from your own and valid.
The third step in learning to compromise is to create enough space so that each of you has a voice in the decision-making process. This space is created when judgment is suspended and you and your partner take the time and effort to understand each other’s perspective—even when you disagree with him/her.
Why can’t I compromise?
If you find that you’re having trouble compromising, it’s important to understand your own struggle and resistance (rather than focusing your energies on what you perceive to be your partner’s unreasonableness). A period of self-reflection in these moments can lead you down a path of self-discovery. When you find yourself resisting and unable to compromise, reflect on the following questions:
Why is this so difficult for me? What is fueling my resistance (e.g. fear, anger, resentment, etc.)?
What would happen if I give in a little?
What would I have to let go of in order to compromise?
One surefire way to drive a wedge between you and your partner is to begin making decisions as if you were single again. This is guaranteed to make your partner or spouse feel marginalized and before you know it, you’ll be single again and you won’t have to consult with anyone except your lonely self.
To discover ways to create a deeper, more intimate relationship visit http://StrengthenYourRelationship.com/ and sign up for Dr. Nicastro’s free monthly Relationship Toolbox Newsletter.
As a bonus, you will receive the popular free reports: “The four mindsets that can topple your relationship” and “Relationship self-defense: Control the way you argue…before your arguments control you.”

Articles Marriage Tips

The Health Benefits of Marriage

The Health Benefits of Marriage

By America’s #1 Love and Marriage Experts.
The health benefits of marriage, both physical and emotional, have been well documented since the 1850’s when a British epidemiologist by the name of William Farr concluded that the unmarried die in undue proportion to those who are married. He offered, “The single individual is more likely to be wrecked on his voyage than the lives joined together in matrimony.” We would offer that his conclusions of a century and a half ago still apply today.
Dr. Edward P. Ehlinger, commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Health, concluded the following in an article on September 22, 2012: Recent studies confirm Farr’s observation of lower mortality rates and better physical and mental health among married individuals. Married men and women have lower rates of depression, Alzheimer’s disease, cardiovascular disease, smoking, substance abuse and cancer. After controlling for other factors, married couples have higher levels of cognitive functioning, happiness and life satisfaction. All the health benefits of marriage are consistent across age, race and education groups.
His conclusion is powerful and totally consistent with our research on marriage over the past three decades. Married couples are healthier, happier, more mentally well adjusted, more socially adjusted, and better off economically, as are their children.
There should be nothing surprising or Earth-shattering about these notions. It stands to reason that those who have somebody (Everybody needs somebody, sometime.) will be happier, healthier, and more socially well-adjusted.
Human beings are social animals – they want and need someone to spend their life with. When they have someone, they are, in fact, healthier – on virtually all fronts. Why would anyone argue against something so obvious? Why would anyone deny such a well-known truth? In our estimation, and based on our 30+ years of interviewing successfully married couples around the world, it is clear that the best marriages understand the health benefits of marriage. To deny these benefits is to bury your head in the sand.
So why does being married translate into important health benefits? Simple, really. People who are married help take care of each other’s health and here is how they do it.
Couples have the recognition that the health of you and your spouse is critical to your relationship, both short-term and long-term. Successfully married couples watch out for each other’s eating habits, exercise, vitamins, and medicines because they know that their relationship with each other is enhanced when they are healthy. If you get married young, there is a tendency to ignore the health risk factors because you think you will live forever. Instead, begin thinking long-term and focus on developing healthy habits both physically and mentally.
Seven areas of focus to begin developing healthy living habits:
1. Learn to cook healthy meals together. Enjoy each other’s company while you spend extra time communicating with each other. Find recipes that are fun to fix and fun to eat together. A good way to start is to try a few of the salad recipes we have included in our recent book, Building a Love that Lasts (Jossey-Bass/Wiley) They are from happily married couples all over the world who realized that healthy eating benefitted their relationship with each other.
2. Develop a regular exercise program together. It doesn’t matter if it is just walking together in the evening after work or riding bicycles in the park or going to the gym or swimming. What matters is that you do it together and commit to staying on a regular program to enhance your physical and mental health. Yes, exercise does make a positive impact on your mental health.
3. Focus on maintaining good psychological health for yourself and your spouse. Having a shoulder to cry on or someone to lean on when things get tough can keep you from the depths of depression. Life can throw unbelievable challenges in your path, so having your spouse as your best friend can provide both of you with the support you need to make it through the tough times together. Like the song goes, that’s what friends are for.
4. For a long life together, take a balanced regiment of vitamins. Don’t fool yourself into believing that you will get all of your nutrition by eating a well balanced diet. While it might help, with the stress in today’s life it is critical that you make sure that you get the required vitamins and minerals with a good vitamin supplement.
5. Eliminate bad habits. In other words, cut back on your foods containing refined sugars, white flour, salt, food additives such as food coloring, artificial flavorings and preservatives. Stop smoking. Limit your intact of alcohol to 1-2 drinks per day. Get off the couch. Get more consistent sleep.
6. Get regular annual medical check-ups. Encourage your spouse to get a regular physical check-up annually by scheduling your appointments on the same day. Preventative care is far superior to having to deal with a health issue that went undetected for a long period of time.
7. Make living a healthy well-balanced life a priority. Just like everything else in life, you have to set your goals and priorities focused on what is important to you. While you may not have any health issues yet, if you develop healthy living habits that focus on maintaining a healthy well-balanced life style, you have a far greater chance of celebrating your golden years together.
You see, the health benefits of marriage come about as a result of the relationship between two people in love. It does take two to Tango. Marriage has many health benefits because of the behaviors of those who entered into the sacred bond of marriage. Honestly, does this surprise you?
There are many health benefits of marriage. Take advantage of them. You won’t regret it.
Love well. Love healthy.
By Dr. Charles D. Schmitz and Dr. Elizabeth A. Schmitz
For %0A” rel=”nofollow”>marriage advice and hundreds of practical tips, get the Doctor’s best-selling and multiple-award winning book Building a Love that Lasts : The Seven Surprising Secrets of Successful Marriage (Jossey-Bass/Wiley) Available wherever books are sold.
Winner of the INDIE Book Awards GOLD Medal for Best Relationship Book
Winner of the Mom’s Choice Awards GOLD Medal for Most Outstanding Relationships and Marriage Book

Articles Marriage Tips

Will Sex Save Your Marriage?


We thought we had heard everything until this!


We heard recently that the Reverend Ed Young of the Fellowship Church in Grapevine, Texas told his congregation during a Sunday worship service that he wanted married couples in his congregation to have sex all week long. He says that God may have rested on the seventh day, but he wanted married couples in his church to have sex every day for a week! read more

Articles Divorce Marriage Tips

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

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.

Articles Dating Tips

A Guide to Finding If Mr. Right is Right for Me

A Guide to Finding If Mr. Right is Right for Me

By America’s #1 Love and Marriage Experts.
How will I know when I find Mr. Right? What if I am making a big mistake? Is he really the ONE, or should I walk away? These are critical questions women must ask themselves when they try to decide whether to move on with a serious relationship or whether to they decide to move on to find the real Mr. Right.
In our three decades of research about successful love and relationships, we have learned lots of answers to the most commonly asked questions about this subject. As our loyal readers know, we are passionate about our work. We have spent half our lives in search of great marriages and relationships around the world. It has been our labor of love.
Our research has taught us much. At the top of the list are the seven ways to know if Mr. Right is the right one for you.
1. Actions speaks louder than words! Always remember this – it is not what someone says that matters. It is how they act. If Mr. Right says one thing and does another, beware! If Mr. Right kicks the dog and tells you how much he loves dogs, beware! If Mr. Right tells you how much he loves you and then disrespects you, beware! Know this – many people who think they are in love, are often confronted with this reality – Mr. Right does not act like Mr. Right; Mr. Right does not practice what he purports; and Mr. Right demonstrates in many ways the hypocrisy that guides his behavior. Don’t be fooled just because you are in love with being in love!
2. The Donuts always tell the truth! You say, what in the world are they talking about? Here it is in a nutshell. You and Mr. Right go to a donut shop to buy donuts. He asks, What kind of donut would your like? You say, I’d like a chocolate covered chocolate and a glazed donut. He brings you a French cruller and a cinnamon covered donut! He takes you to a movie and asks – What would you like to see? You say, The Help or Crazy Stupid Love. He buys tickets for Rise of the Planet Apes. You get the point. Mr. Right respects you so little he believes that you don’t know what you like! Go figure.
3. He is always first in line! You stop to have lunch at your local fast-food restaurant with Mr. Right. Your mother and father are with you. You arrive at the restaurant. He is first in the door. He does not hold open the door for you and your family to enter the restaurant, and he is the first to order! He is likely to wait for you or your parents to pay for the meal. When the meal is over, he expects you to clean up the mess left at the table. He is the first out of the door. Beware of the warning signs! This is not the man you want to marry!
4. He is in the habit of telling you something that isn’t quite true. Your trust in Mr. Right is waning. Your heart (your intuition) is beginning to tell you he is not truthful with you on the things that matter to you. You catch him in lies and distortions, from time to time. He tells you he is going one place and ends up going to another. Mr. Right is starting to make you feel uncomfortable about your relationship with him. He is starting to cause you to question his honesty. He turns out to be, in the end, someone you could no longer trust. Isn’t trust at the heart of all loving relationships?
5. You do NOT tingle at the presence of Mr. Right anymore! There was a time in your relationship when he excited you, made you feel special, made you tingle at the sight of him. But now, you find him to be just another ordinary man – a man without feeling, a man without emotion, and a man who no longer excites you or makes you feel special. There is no doubt about this – feeling positive emotion in a relationship is a pre-requisite to a healthy and happy one. When you no longer have intense feelings for Mr. Right, probably time to move on.
6. Mr. Right turns out to be a fraud! You trusted him, you loved him, and you thought he was at the center of the your universe. Then something happened. He started to disappoint you with his words, deeds, and actions. You could no longer predict his responses, reactions, or the positions he took. He was all over the board. And in the end, you discovered that he was, indeed, a fraud. He had no moral compass, no convictions, no sense of right and wrong, and no emotional center. You are no longer sure of who he actually is. Frankly, you are beginning to wonder if Mr. Right is really the Mr. Right he pretended to be.
7. Mr. Right thinks Sex is the most important part of your relationship! Our research over the years has taught us many lessons about the importance of sex in a relationship. In the early stages of a developing relationship, sex seems very important. But here is the real deal – the successfully married couples we have interviewed in 46 countries on six of the world’s seven continents tell us this – on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 high, the importance of sex to the overall success of their marriage as 6.2 on a 10-point scale. This finding does not in any way minimize the importance of sex. It does, however, put it all in perspective. It is not the most important part or sole determiner of a healthy and successful relationship. Don’t be fooled if Mr. Right tells you that your submissiveness in sex is the most important element to the success of your relationship, you know it is time to move on. Sex is fun, but it does not define a successful marriage or relationship. Take that to the bank.
Mr. Right is not always right for you. Sometimes, it takes awhile to discover the truth. However, if you review and understand these seven simple signs of trouble, you will be in a great position to discover if Mr. Right is right for you.
By Dr. Charles D. Schmitz and Dr. Elizabeth A. Schmitz
For hundreds of tips to enhance your relationship get the Doctor’s best-selling and multiple-award winning book Building a Love that Lasts: The Seven Surprising Secrets of Successful Marriage (Jossey-Bass/Wiley 2010) Available wherever books are sold.
Winner of the INDIE Book Awards GOLD Medal for Best Relationship Book
Winner of the Mom’s Choice Awards GOLD Medal for Most Outstanding Relationships and Marriage Book
Nautilus Book Awards Winner for Relationships

Articles Marriage Tips

Giving Up the Fantasy of the Perfect Mate, What REAL Marriages Are All About

Giving Up the Fantasy of the Perfect Mate, What REAL Marriages Are All About

We all seem to think that we need to find our perfect mate or soul mate. But does a perfect mate even exist and, if so, does this mean that the only way to be happy is to find this perfect soul mate? What if you don’t? What if you spend your entire life looking, only to end up alone in your fantasy delusion because you didn’t find him/her? Are we really searching for fantasy in our relationships?
To some degree, I think most of us have bought into the fairytale myth that we will find Prince or Princess Charming and AUTOMATICALLY live happily ever after. This belief in fantasy, soul mates, and the perfect partner, are all contributors to being unhappy and dissatisfied in our marriages. We want the fantasy mate and most relationships begin with perfect bliss with the perfect partner. But when this fantasy starts to fade into reality after the first 6 months of a relationship, we’re disappointed, try desperately to keep the fantasy alive by sweeping disagreements under the rug, or start looking elsewhere for that perfect mate. But the perfect mate really doesn’t exist…except in our fantasies. Our fantasies are always more compelling than our reality that can become boring, repetitive, filled with logistics, bills, jobs and dirty dishes. Fantasy is filled with feelings of being on top of the world, of things coming to us easily, of soaring, and feeling our hearts are full of love 24/7. Who wouldn’t choose fantasy over reality and hold onto it as long as we can?
So, how do we get over this desire for fantasy, the desire to feel that in love feeling ALL the time? How do we make a REAL marriage work and simultaneously keep the love alive when reality of the everyday chores, struggles, and inconsistencies of our partner sets in? Here are 7 truths to remember about REAL marriages when the fantasy turns into reality:
1. Real marriages are based on a solid foundation of mutual love, respect, and an understanding of differences in your partner. It is based on two people being balanced in their individual strength and their ability to share and connect with their partner.
2. Real marriages are able to handle the hard aspects of life through open communication and realistic expectations.
3. Real marriages are based on two WHOLE people enhancing each other, rather than two people EXPECTING their partner to complete them: filling in their weak spots, rescuing them, or taking care of them at their own expense.
4. Real marriages are two people who know they are human and, therefore, know that everyone makes mistakes and likewise exhibits tolerance for this humanness.
5. Real marriages are based on the deep knowledge that it’s a give and take from both partners. They know themselves and take responsibility for their actions, rather than projecting onto their partner who they feel their partner should be.
6. Real marriages are about companionship, appreciating your partner’s differences and uniqueness, and knowing that love is deeper than only sexual desire and feeling madly in love all the time.
7. Real marriages are about knowing and loving yourself so that you don’t need a fantasy partner or a perfect mate to complete your life. You instead need a partner who enhances your life and adds to it.
Lasting, REAL marriages are based on a solid foundation of honesty, respect, and love… love, not in the fantasy sense that the Prince or Princess saves me, but love based on a deep knowledge of yourself and your partner. In love the paradox occurs that two become one and yet remain two. When we follow the above 7 truths about a REAL marriage, we can enjoy the reality of our deepening union more than any fantasy we could imagine!

Articles Marriage Tips

Is the Seven Year Itch in Marriage Real?

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.

Articles Love In General Marriage Tips

Marriage Slumps, Relationship Ruts and Other Painful Realities About Love

Marriage Slumps, Relationship Ruts and Other Painful Realities About Love

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

Articles Marriage Tips

The Marriage Ref is an Idea Gone Terribly Wrong

The Marriage Ref is an Idea Gone Terribly Wrong

Remember the television show, Seinfeld? Like you, we laughed ourselves silly over the antics of the show. It was funny and full of uproarious one-liners. When Jerry Seinfeld decided to promote the idea of a new show called The Marriage Ref, he and everyone else surely imagined that it would be a hit. Why would anyone expect anything different?
But now, reality is up against the truth. And the simple truth is this – marital problems aren’t funny to the couples going through the trials and tribulations of the various marital challenges all marriages go through. Poking fun at married couples in a public way it seems is not very funny, and not very helpful in either the short or long term.
Frankly, we were bewildered when NBC decided to air The Marriage Ref. Picking six-minute segments of marital discourse and having the featured couple judged by celebrity panelists as to who was right or wrong is, shall we say, an abomination when it comes to best practices for resolving marital conflicts. Moreover, such a tactic is not very useful for growing and strengthening a marriage.
The first arrow-in-the-heart of the show is this – you do not learn about successful marriage by highlighting marital failure. We have studied marriage on six continents of the world for some 27 years and we know this – if you want to understand success, study success. If you want to understand failure, study failure. Oh, if the producers and directors of The Marriage Ref had only known these evident and researchable truths.
Let’s start with the failure notion. This notion says that if a divorced person shares with you why their marriage failed or if they think they have suddenly become an expert on successful marriage just because they know what a failed marriage looks like is the anathema of the best research on marriage of which we are aware. So having Madonna (how many times has she been divorced??) or others who have failed at marriage act as a referee in a marriage dispute is analogous in our mind to trying to learn about how to have a successful marriage from studying failed marriages.
The second point we’d like to make is this – there are many credible researchers, effective marriage and relationship scholars, and great marriage counselors out there. Many books have been written on the subject of building great marriages based on years and years of research on successful marriage. Our new book, Building a Love that Lasts: The Seven Surprising Secrets of Successful Marriage (Josses-Bass/Wiley, 2010) is but one of them. We are quite fond of the writings of John Gottman, Scott Stanley, and Harville Hendrix to name a few. Their work is well researched and we have found their writings to be well worth recommending to couples in marital distress or in need of marital strengthening. Any of these experts could do an amazing job of diagnosing and assisting these couples with resolving their issues.
Our point here is that couples having to deal with the stress and challenges that confront all marriages need help from credible experts who have studied successful marriage and from well-trained, successful, and experienced marriage counselors. Going on a television show where you are exposing very private issues about your marriage while being judged by others who are not necessarily competent, or who may or may not have your best interests in mind (i.e., they use your marriage for a laugh line!), is not the best way to fix or grow your marriage.
The scathing critical reviews of The Marriage Rep have used words like painfully bad, terrible, unfunny, patronizing, ugly, and heinous. Is it any wonder given the premise of the show? Let’s hope the public has not been misled into thinking that the model they bring to the airways has any credibility or usefulness. And the truth is, the show isn’t even funny!
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

Articles Divorce Marriage Tips

Will Your Next Marriage be Better?

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.

Articles Marriage Tips

Will Marriage Counseling Get Your Wife Back?

Will Marriage Counseling Get Your Wife Back?

“Does marriage counseling work? My wife and I have tried seeing a marriage counselor for the past few weeks, but it doesn’t seem like it’s doing anything…What am I doing wrong?”
If you’re like many of the lost and confused husbands in the 21st century, then you have already tried the most commonly prescribed solution to any marriage problem, i.e. marriage counseling.
I don’t know when it became such common practice, but somehow the go-to solution for any and all problems that could plague a marriage (separation, loss of passion, divorce, infidelity, lack of communication, etc.), the most prominent and widely advice that you’re going to get is “have you tried marriage counseling?”
You would think that such a booming and reputable industry would be so highly recommended because of its high success rate, right? In other words, marriage counseling is so popular because it has a history of legitimately fixing the marriage problems that plague so many relationships these days, right?
Wrong!
Did you know that…
Marriage Counseling has the Highest Failure Rate of Any Therapy
Yup, marriage counseling and marriage counselors have the lowest success rate of any other counseling or therapy related field.
So, does marriage counseling work? I would say ‘not even close’.
* Drug addicts in rehab have a higher success rate than marriage counselors
* Alcoholics in AA have a higher success rate than marriage counselors
* Anger management therapy has a higher success rate than marriage counselors
* Even the prison counseling programs for murderers, rapists and other criminals have a higher success rate than marriage counseling
You would think that for up to $200 per hour there’d be some sort of guarantee that you’d see results in your marriage, but this is absolutely not the case. Marriage counseling DOES NOT WORK for most couples, and marriage counseling success rates are surprisingly low (less than 25%).
There is a type of couple that can benefit from marriage and family counseling, but it is the exception, not the rule. Most marriage counselors don’t effectively address the true issues that are leaving you and your wife ‘unfulfilled in our marriage’.
Does Marriage Counseling Work? Do We Have the Highest Divorce Rates, Ever?
Admittedly, according to recent statistics, the divorce rate in America has finally come to somewhat of a plateau in the past couple years because less people are getting married, so there are less couples to divorce.
But still, in the past 10 – 25 years divorce rates have sky rocketed, and I want you to really think about this for a minute… Doesn’t it seem strange that the rise in divorce rates correlates almost directly with the thriving marriage counseling industry? Some might argue that this makes sense because more divorces need more marriage counseling, but what if the true source of the problem wasn’t actually divorce, but the total ineffectiveness, even counter-productivity, of marriage counseling?
I’ll tell you an example of this – My own parents are divorced. They were married for over 20 years, and they tried everything in the book to save their marriage. They tried not one, not two, not three, not four, but FIVE different marriage counselors over the course of 10 YEARS, and not a single one of them did anything to save their marriage.
In fact, the marriage only ever got worse because my parents became frustrated with their lack of progress, and that frustration led to even more problems in the marriage.
In other words, marriage counseling added fuel to the fire, and it poisoned my parents’ marriage.
Now, I’m not saying that all marriage counselors are complete quacks, but a surprising amount of them are. Their marriage counseling methods and techniques are based on theory, conjecture and textbooks, not actual romantic or human experience or even on successful marriages.
Many Marriage Therapists Lack Proven or Relevant Experience
This could probably be said about many therapy related fields, but I feel that it is especially true in marriage counseling. I know of multiple marriage counselors who have actually gone through a divorce, but continue to teach others how to fix their marriage. Clearly these people have no idea what actually works if they can’t even save their own marriage, so why would you trust them to save yours?
Again, I don’t want to make any overly broad generalizations here, but I do feel like the marriage counseling field has become equivalent with divorce attorneys…It’s just one more cog in the machine leading to the simultaneous degradation and capitalization of marriage in America. I mean, from a price standpoint they’re both expensive… It will run you about $400 for an hour to talk on the phone with a divorce attorney, and a single marriage counseling session will usually cost you at least $100, and more for a ‘good’ one.
These are people that know you’re desperate and are willing to take advantage of that are their own gain.
Think about it, if you were truly passionate about helping people and saving marriages, would you demand $300 per session for something that you haven’t even seen consistently yield results? I’m not saying it’s morally wrong to charge a lot of money for your services, but when there’s so much money involved it’s only natural to question true motives, especially without results to justify a high price.
Think about it, most marriage counselors recommend at least 10 sessions to see results in your marriage, which means you’re dropping $1,000 to $2,000 on totally unproven techniques and strategies.
Which brings me to the implied second part of our original question…Does marriage counseling work, and why or why not?
And to me, this is what seems to be the reason most marriage counselors fail:
Most Marriage Counselors Have Been Trained To Analyze Problems, Not Create Solutions
This is what I really think it comes down to… Everything that your average marriage counselor has learned, and in turn everything they teach you, was very likely written by a psychologist.
All those things that your marriage counselor tells you…
* “Just keep working at it”…
* “Communication is the key”…
* “Be more open with each other”…
* “Start having intimacy time”…
* “Date nights are the answer”…
* “Make her feel loved”…
All of those things are written in some text book somewhere and that textbook was written by a psychologist. These are things that women think they want, and they do when everything is already perfect, but they will NOT save your marriage.
These are all things you should be doing when your marriage is thriving, more like characteristics of a successful marriage than actual techniques to fix a broken one.
But You Can Clearly See Their Train of Thought…
A good marriage has open communication, right? So it ‘makes sense’ that to fix a broken marriage you should develop open communication, right?
A good marriage has spouses who enjoy intimacy time with each other, right? So, it ‘makes sense’ to say that if you force intimacy time you’ll fix your marriage, right?
But marriage isn’t backwards compatible like that…It doesn’t work because these logical solutions are NOT going to work when there is no feelings of attraction or emotional fondness behind them. So even if you’re going through the motions correctly, there is no guarantee that you will actually fix your marriage.
In fact, if anything you’re almost guaranteed to make it worse, because you’ll remind your wife how bad things have to be that she can’t feel ANYTHING even when you’re apparently trying so hard.
Remember, attraction is the ONLY thing that will save your marriage. Without attraction there is no emotional incentive driving your wife to come back to you…Logic, reason, counseling, courses, books, rational techniques and perseverance will not save your marriage. Feelings, emotion and passion will.
So, does couples counseling work? Does marriage counseling work? I suppose I should let your own experiences give you the definitive answer, but from all of my own experience I would say that you’re better off trying to fix things on your own than with a counselor.

Articles Marriage Tips

Anonymity Versus the Truth about Marriage

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

Articles Dating Tips Love In General

Great Love Cannot Be Rushed

Great Love Cannot Be Rushed

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

Articles Marriage Tips

Is time alone necessary for a great marriage?

Is time alone necessary for a great marriage?

By America’s #1 Love and Marriage Experts.
There is absolutely no question about it, great marriages require time alone – time away from each other!
We have witnessed time and time again marriages in which one or both partners failed to understand the importance of being alone, not only for themselves, but for their spouse as well. When we first introduce this concept to others, the reaction is usually one of surprise. Many couples are of the mistaken notion that they are to be constantly attentive to their spouse. While their intentions are good, their desire to be attentive causes them to, in fact, interfere with the quality of their communicative relationship with each other. The desire for too much time together can inadvertently drive a wedge between a husband and wife. Isn’t that ironic?
In all probability, many couples believe that quantity of time together is the most important characteristic of their relationship. Instead, the law of diminishing returns comes into play here.
The economists would explain it something like this. Let’s say you buy a case of your favorite cola and decide to drink it all in one setting. The first cola tastes great. Perhaps the first two or three taste good. But after about four or five, the quality of taste begins to diminish. If you were to drink the whole case in one setting, you would like each cola less and less until you reached a point where you began to absolutely hate your favorite cola.
The law of diminishing return seems to appropriately describe many marriages. More is not always better. Give your spouse some privacy . . . the opportunity to be alone. Expect the same opportunity for yourself. Don’t allow communication in your marriage to fall victim to the law of diminishing return.
Being alone to your thoughts provides for you a periodic psychological renewal. A few moments alone to your thoughts each day frees the spirit and cleanses the soul. Do not deny yourself or your spouse these moments of alone time.
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 Mom’s Choice Awards GOLD Medal for Most Outstanding Relationships and Marriage Book
Nautilus Book Awards Silver Medal Winner for Relationships

Articles Marriage Tips

Marriage The Second Time Around – Take It Slow

Marriage The Second Time Around – Take It Slow

By America’s #1 Love and Marriage Experts.
We know very well how important it is to rebound in a timely manner from a failed relationship. Of the thousands of couples we have interviewed over the past 30 years on all 7 continents of the world, many of them were remarried after suffering through a relationship that didn’t work. And irrespective of the reason, there is a pace to take when building a love that lasts.
Love the second time around is complicated! Consider this – two-thirds of second marriages end in divorce! It should come as no surprise that there are skeptics out there when it comes to finding love the second time around.
Recently, we interviewed an individual who is engaged in a new relationship after filing for a divorce from a very bad man (mental and physical abuse, child molestation, and other sinister actions).
On the surface, her story is like so many others. She finds a new guy she loves dearly, wants to marry him, and is hopeful that he will see the light and commit to spending the rest of his life with her.
To rid herself of the husband she is trying to escape (think divorce!) due to an abusive relationship – both for her and her children – is clearly understandable and defensible. However, the extent of the abuse (which is substantial) is not the purpose of this missive. Rather, our intent is to talk about her search for new love and new direction in her life.
Here’s what she reports. After filing for divorce more than four years ago, she fell in love with the new man in her life. He is kind and gentle. He is a gentleman. He personifies all of the characteristics she longed for in the man of her dreams.
More importantly, she wants him to tell her he loves her, that he wants to spend his life with her, and that he considers her to be the center of his universe.
Here’s where it gets complicated. She loves him and he loves her. But the problem is, she is not yet divorced from the abusive man she is officially married to under the law. Her new man gets scared! He wonders if he should make commitments to her about marriage given the fact that she is still married.
New love is best not rushed! When you fall in love again, you must understand that your new lover enters the relationship with various levels of insecurity based on your old relationship. If your divorce is not yet finalized, he is a skeptic. Will she really love me? Am I the one she truly loves? Am I the man of her dreams? Will her divorce really become final or will I be left holding the bag?
We know that finding love again is tough. And frankly, we know that getting the new guy to commit is not easy. He is afraid. He has, perhaps, been burned before. Moreover, he is afraid to commit his love, his sacred honor, and his undying dedication to you as long as you are married, irrespective of when the divorce is finalized.
Here is where the rubber hits the road – falling in love again is easy, but getting a commitment for the rest of your life is not. Our suggestion to you is this – never, ever, assume that your new love is willing to commit to you for the rest of your life in the absence of a bonifide divorce. One chapter in life must end before another one can begin!
Your new love is intimidated by the commitment to marriage before your divorce is complete. It doesn’t matter whether the impending divorce is virtually certain. What matters is that the divorce will be real! What matters is that your new love can trust that you will love him unconditionally, irrespective of the official date of your impending divorce.
People get remarried all the time. And, for the most part, and for some very good reasons, true love trumps everything. Love is the elixir of life. To love and to be in love is amongst the greatest triumphs of humanity. To spend your life on planet Earth is a great privilege. But to do your best to make great love your reason for being on Earth is, well, the principle reason humans strive to achieve the pinnacle of love.
Finding new love is a good thing. Going slow in your pursuit of a new love and a new relationship is admirable. To do less is to do a disservice to you and the one you purport to love.
In the beginning, great love is best not rushed. Finding new love requires patience. Finding new love requires you to understand that getting in a hurry in your new romance runs the risk of pushing away the person you truly love. Don’t take the risk.
Love is patient and love is kind. Don’t ever forget that simple notion. In the beginning of new love, take it slow.
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: The Seven Surprising Secrets of Successful Marriage
**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
In love and marriage the simple things matter. Love well!

Articles Marriage Tips

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

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

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

Articles Marriage Tips

Words and Phrases You Hear in Great Marriages


We have been engaged in marriage research for nearly three decades around the world and have never been asked this question until recently – Are there words or phrases you listen for when you interview the best marriages around the world?

This is a great question and we are delighted to share the answer with our thousands of loyal readers around the world. read more

Articles Divorce Love In General

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

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

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

Articles Love In General

Are You Emotionally Dependent?

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


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

Articles Marriage Tips

Great Marriages Require Unencumbered Time

Great Marriages Require Unencumbered Time

By America’s #1 Love and Marriage Experts.
Make no mistake about it – great marriages require unencumbered time!
You have read our musings about the fundamental predisposition of every human being to have time alone – to have time only to their private thoughts. In our book, Golden Anniversaries: The Seven Secrets of Successful Marriage, we describe privacy and aloneness as one of the seven secrets of successful marriage.
In many ways, unencumbered time might, in fact, be the eighth secret. Everyone needs time alone – that’s an established fact. But just as importantly, everyone needs unencumbered time – time when nothing is planned, nothing is programmed, nothing is on your iCal calendar on your iPhone, and nothing is in the way of your completely spontaneous day!
Successfully married couples know this – there are days in their marriage and in their relationship when nothing should be planned, nothing should be scripted, and nothing should be in the way to a totally and completely unencumbered day.
We have interviewed couple after couple – thousands of them – on our journey around the world in search of the best marriages. Our travels have taken us to five continents, with the sixth coming this next year (we still haven’t figured out how to get to Antarctica to interview successfully married couples!).
On each continent, and with each successfully married couple we have interviewed, there are many truths we have learned, but first and foremost among them is this – unencumbered time is necessary to the health and well being of the best marriages.
Here’s how it works. The next time you and the one you love wake up in the morning, let it be your resolve for that day – plan nothing! Let your whim drive your day. When you get to the fork in the road, take it, as Yogi Berra used to say! Make choices for no particular reason.
To have a day without restrictions and without encumbrances is to have a day you will cherish. In our hectic, fast-paced lives, it is good to know that you can, in fact, slow down, smell the roses, and let your instincts guide your way.
So many marriages are predictable – everything is planned. But the truth is, that is not the way the best marriages go. The best marriages understand that there are days when you need time alone. The best marriages understand that there are days when you need to plan NOTHING!
Being spontaneous is the hallmark of the best marriages we have studied over the years. Placing trust in your collective ability to do what comes naturally and impulsively is, in fact, a wonderful indicator of the quality of your loving relationship. Trust yourself. Trust the one you love. Live dangerously!
Over the 43 years of our marriage, we have come to appreciate our unencumbered days. They have proven to be the best days of our lives together. Why don’t you try having an unencumbered day tomorrow!
The Simple Things Matter in love and marriage. Love well!
By Dr. Charles D. Schmitz and Dr. Elizabeth A. Schmitz
Authors of Golden Anniversaries: The Seven Secrets of Successful Marriage
Winner of the INDIE Book Awards GOLD Medal for Best Relationship Book
Winner of the 2009 Mom’s Choice Awards GOLD Medal for Most Outstanding Relationships and Marriage Book
2009 Nautilus Book Awards Winner for Relationships

Articles Marriage Tips

Keeping Your Marriage Strong While Raising Children

Keeping Your Marriage Strong While Raising Children

By America’s #1 Love and Marriage Experts.
Kids! We love them. We cherish them. They bring joy to our lives. When we have children in a marriage, we understand finally, and once and for all, what eternity means. While we are not immortal, we learn the meaning of everlasting life when we are blessed with children. They make us feel like we will live through time. We know that through them our lives will have meaning beyond our time on this earth.
But our children are also a pain in the butt! They challenge us. They taunt us. They demand much from us. They argue with us. They divide us. They unite us. They run up one heck of a child-care bill!
On the other hand, most successful marriages with children wouldn’t want it any other way. They know that without a doubt, their children enrich their lives in innumerable ways. They value their children immensely. But be clear regarding this – successfully married couples with children understand the challenges they pose to a blissful and romantic marital relationship.
You thought your marriage was nearly perfect — And Then…Along Came Kids. To quote Nora Ephron in Heartburn: Having a first child is like throwing a hand grenade into a marriage. When you are responsible for the care of your children you will, without a doubt, take on some enormous stresses.
After more than 27 years of research around the world interviewing successfully married couples, one of our principal conclusions is – the quality of the relationship between husband and wife trumps everything else in a marriage! Get it right and good things follow. Get it wrong and lots of bad things often happen!
And you know why? Without a positive, loving, and thriving relationship between mom and dad, children often don’t prosper, they are not well-adjusted, they don’t do well in school, and they are not as healthy, both physically and mentally.
Our research over three decades suggests that there are five useful tips to not only deal with the enormous stress of caregiving, but also strengthen your marriage at the same time. These tips appear on the surface to be simple, but in love, marriage and raising children the Simple Things Matter.
Tips to Strengthen Your Marriage While Raising Children:
1. Share openly with your spouse about feelings, emotions and stresses as they relate to caring for your children. In times of stress the tendency is to keep everything bottled up inside or explode at the slightest disagreement. However, this approach will not work if you want your marriage to survive and thrive. In successful marriages there are No Sacred Cows. Simply speaking, happily married couples talk about everything. They trust each other. They depend upon each other for truth and straight talk. They share insights about everything—the good, the bad and the ugly. They are each other’s best friends.
2. Make a conscious effort to keep the flame of your love affair alive with each other everyday. Can you rattle off a list of activities, topics and places you and your spouse include in your personal book of fun and romance? Have you found what clears your mind and gives you an unobstructed view of your world together? What type of priority do you place on making time for fun and romance with each other in your hectic lives? If you cannot answer these questions easily, you need to start today by carving out time to have a romantic date with each other, bring home flowers, get a hotel room, go for a long walk together, watch the sunset, write a love note, and snuggle or in bed a little longer in the morning.
3. Don’t blame each other when things get tough, as casting blame never solved a problem. The blame game doesn’t work in love and marriage. It is destructive. There is a natural tendency in tough times to blame the one you love for your collective misfortune, but people in love don’t blame, castigate, or chastise each other in challenging times. The truth is, there usually is no one to blame for the situation. Someone has to take care of the children and the job just fell to you.
4. Don’t wallow in self-pity; it is a wasted emotion. No problem has ever been solved by feeling sorry for yourself or your situation. Trying to pretend you are the perfect super human while you are totally overwhelmed, can only result in the wasted emotion of self-pity and even more stress. Successful couples grab the bull by the horns and work for solutions – recognizing that running a household is not easy. Making a family work is, clearly, difficult even in the best of times and even more challenging when you are the caregiver for your children.
5. Enhance your love relationship by providing each other occasional time for privacy and aloneness. The recognition of the absolute need for privacy and aloneness is, in our judgment after analyzing thousands of interviews, critical to successful marriages. The amount of time available to satisfy these two needs varies from one marriage to another and from one marriage partner to another, and can increase during times of stress. We live such hectic lives at work, at home and when raising children that the time to be alone with our own thoughts is paramount to our ability to engage in any meaningful communication with each other. The quality of communication can only be enhanced between the two of you after refreshing your mind and spirit with alone time. You have to belong to yourself before you can belong to others.
You brought your children into this world with the greatest of love and now you have to balance all of the stresses they bring to your marriage. Your children won’t be with your forever, so enjoy them while you can. Believe it or not they grow up oh so quickly. Cherish those precious moments with your children but remember that — the quality of the relationship between mom and dad trumps everything else.
Simple Things Matter in love and marriage. Love well!
By Dr. Charles D. Schmitz and Dr. Elizabeth A. Schmitz
*For more tips to enhance your relationship get the Doctor’s best-selling and multiple-award winning book Building a Love that Lasts: The Seven Surprising Secrets of Successful Marriage (Jossey-Bass/Wiley 2010) Available wherever books are sold.
Winner of the INDIE Book Awards GOLD Medal for Best Relationship Book
Winner of the Mom’s Choice Awards GOLD Medal for Most Outstanding Relationships and Marriage Book
Nautilus Book Awards Winner for Relationships

Articles Love In General Marriage Tips

Married or Not – Growing Old by Yourself Can be Lonely

Married or Not: Growing Old by Yourself Can be Lonely

By America’s #1 Love and Marriage Experts.
Love is like a little old woman and a little old man who are still friends even after they know each other so well. (Tommy, age 6)
Our recent marriage interviews in Southern California brought our attention again to the two undeniable truths of life – growing old is a blessing (consider the alternative!) and spending your old age by yourself is the loneliest place to be on Earth. You can take both truths of life to the bank! Our thirty years of research across the globe substantiates for us the wisdom of these words.
First, we digress. We have been married for 46 years. We not only know about how to make our own marriage work, we know how others make theirs work. Thirty years of research and our own marriage has taught us much.
We have studied marriage in all 50 states of the Union, in 47 countries, and on all 7 continents of the world. We hear many consistent responses to the Marriage Interview we have conducted with thousands of successfully married couples around the world. We have reported our findings in our book, Building a Love that Lasts and in our many articles on the Internet in a variety of venues.
Our research findings tell us that there are seven pervasive characteristics present in all successful marriages, irrespective of culture, ethnicity, continent, or economic station in life. You’ll have to read our book to find out what they are.
In this article, we are focused only on the notion of growing old and on the enormous benefits of having someone to share your old age with.
In our interview protocol we asked many revealing questions. There are three questions that tell us the most about the importance of aging together with someone you love.
First and foremost is this – Can you imagine life without your spouse? The answer we get from successfully married couples is always the same – NO!
The second incredibly important question is this – If you had to choose, who on Earth would you rather spend your exclusive time with? Again, the answer is always the same – My spouse.
The third and final question is, perhaps, the most telling of all – Who is your best friend? Over the past 30 years, the overwhelming response has been, My spouse.
So, we ask you this – are you ready to spend your life without a best friend, without the one person you’d rather be with than anyone else, and without someone who cannot imagine life without you? Think about it!
Here’s the deal – we are getting sick and tired of women who tell us they don’t need someone to spend their life with. We are growing very weary of men who tell us they will just grow old by themselves, content with hanging out with their beer-drinking buddies. And the list of our irritations grows!
The simple and unadulterated truth is this – when you are young, you don’t think about getting old. You don’t think about being alone. Shoot, you don’t think about much of anything beyond your life TODAY! And honestly, we are sorry to be so direct, but the truth is the truth. Seeing the future is not something most young people do. To them, eternal youngness is their frame of reference.
But here is the reality – if you get old, you’re lucky; if you have a best friend, you possess one of life’s blessings; and if you have someone in your life you cannot imagine being without – whom you would rather spend your time with more than anyone else on Earth – then you have achieved the nirvana of your life! You have found your positive place in life.
Now we come full circle. Is living your life alone what you want or desire? Do you really want to grow old by yourself? The negative trends are ominous, but hope springs eternal for those who are married or who get married.
Marriage is in decline in America. By 2008, marriage among adults had dropped to 52% according to the Pew Charitable Trust. In 1960 this number stood at 72%. And Blacks (32%) are much less likely to be married than Whites (56%). And worse yet, the decline of marriage among Blacks is more than twice that of Whites over the past several decades.
In the final analysis, married couples in the USA are on the verge of no longer being a majority according to the U.S. Census Bureau. In our estimation, that is a sad situation for a whole variety of reasons. Primary among them is this – this downward trend in marriage is the terrible precursor of loneliness in America for senior citizens – for those lucky enough to grow old.
Loneliness among seniors is of epidemic proportions. Yet, loneliness is so utterly and completely unavoidable. Living alone in old age is not a pretty state of being – it is not a desirable place to be.
Unfortunately, there are many amongst us who think that they don’t need to be married to be happy. They think they don’t need an intimate other in their life. Too many people are under the illusion that they don’t need somebody in their life to lean on, to share life’s burdens with, and to hold on to during the end of time.
Too many people think getting old is an illusion. Too many people cannot come to grips with the fact that everybody needs somebody sometime.
The many, many happily married couples we have interviewed tell us how blessed they are to have someone to share life with, particularly in old age. Those of you who think you can weather life’s storms by yourself in the latter stages of life are only deluding yourselves. Those who think marriage is passé are fools. Those who think they can weather the storms of old age by themselves are delusional. Everybody needs somebody.
Living life alone is not a good option for most. Think about it. Loneliness at the end of days, sucks!
In love and marriage the simple things matter.
By Dr. Charles D. Schmitz and Dr. Elizabeth A. Schmitz
For %0A” rel=”nofollow”>marriage advice and hundreds of practical tips, get your own copy of the Doctor’s best-selling and multiple-award winning book Building a Love that Lasts : The Seven Surprising Secrets of Successful Marriage (Jossey-Bass/Wiley) Available wherever books are sold.

Articles Love In General

The Ten Essential Virtues of Love

The Ten Essential Virtues of Love

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

Articles Marriage Tips

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

Being married to a functioning alcoholic can cause many problems in a family. Tens of thousands of families in North America alone are struggling with this issue.


A drinking problem can begin in many ways. For some people it begins with social drinking. Social drinking can gradually deteriorate into alcohol abuse and eventually into alcohol dependence. The drinking became a habit and the habit became alcohol dependence or alcoholism. It matters not whether the alcohol is in the form of beer, wine or hard liquor. Alcohol is alcohol in any shape or form. read more

Articles Marriage Tips

Women Can Effectively Manage Work And Home

Women Can Effectively Manage Work And Home

Women are more dexterous and dynamic when it comes to managing office work and house chores. They have assignments to complete at work despite having a sick child at home, check their children’s school work, handle several concurrent tasks at the office, create a good atmosphere at home and manage household chores. At the start, women are energetic and bustling with vim and vigor but after a while, it can become exasperating and difficult to maintain such a hectic schedule. She will feel the effects creeping into her and she may start responding in a negative manner.

Balance your work

Multitasking is common among women. They have to handle concurrent tasks such as taking care of the child, cooking and cleaning the house. This is just the house work and can become more complex once you include their office work, such as taking calls, making reservations, typing letters and attending to office visitors. Women get accustomed to this scenario but when it starts turning to stress and tension, and then it’s time to call a halt to the multifarious activities. Take stock of the work you do at home and see if you can delegate it to other people or set a more relaxed schedule to handle it. Cleaning the house can be done by house help. It may be cheaper to hire help rather than exert yourself to the extreme. You can use the time to handle other house chores more effectively or use the time to bond with your family. Relaxing and taking it easy is a good way to get rid of your stress and tension.

People have to eat regularly and cooking food can be a tedious daily chore. Use the week end to cook all the food you need for the week. It’s easier to do all your cooking at one sitting. Work out the menu for the week and cook the food one at a time. Washing pots and pans are also done during one sitting and can save a lot of time during the weekdays. It feels good coming home from work and not having to slave over an oven cooking dinner for the family.

Talk to your spouse about splitting the house work. There are house chores that require some strength and can be easily handled by the man rather than a woman. Set up car pools with your neighbors if they have children going to the same school. You can also make arrangements with a shuttle or school bus. Do an inventory of the house chores and prioritize them based on frequency. There may be chores that can be done weekly or monthly. Some chores like spring cleaning or putting up storm windows are seasonal. Set a calendar so you don’t miss out on the chores. Once you stop doing a chore, there is a tendency to forget about it and it may completely slip your mind.

If you handle your daily routine well, there will not be any stress or tension in completing the work. Try to keep the work to the basic essentials. Allocate a certain number of hours for your house work. Remember you have to get ready and go to office so time management is vital in your chores.

Handling tension

Stress and tension can be motivators in getting the jobs done. A person will react and finish their work if they know there is a deadline. Knowing that the boss is expecting the reports first thing in the morning can make a person work extra hard to get the job done on time. If their children have exams, they will take extra time to review them and make sure they understand their lessons. Tension can rise high because children do not realize the importance of the exams and might not have the same concern in studying for it. The woman has to exert more effort to get the children to study their lessons rather than play and watch television. The husband can play an active role in making sure the children do their assignments.

When stressed out, take it easy for a few moments. Take a breather and relax for a while. Clear your mind and keep calm. Once you are relaxed, you will be in a better position to review your problems and work out solutions to them. If things start piling up at the same time, list down all the things that are pending and determine their priorities. People expect you to do all the tasks but there is only so much that can be done concurrently. The other tasks will have to be settled sequentially. Keep your energy up. Take small meals frequently during the day. This will help keep out the hunger pangs and keep your energy level high. Keep careful watch over your health. Maintaining a healthy well being is essential in keeping pace with the hectic work in the office and at home. Perform regular exercises to keep in shape.

Keep a list of the chores in your leather briefcase in an organized and orderly manner. You can refer to them every time you are at a loss on what tasks have to be done at home. Keep your office papers neatly in your briefcase. When you get to office, you will have an easier time settling down and starting your office work with all your office work neatly filed in the briefcase.

Take time to go shopping and spend a day at the spa. There are instances when you simply have to stop your hectic work and just take time off to relax and take it easy.