Should I Try To Save My Marriage?

By America’s #1 Love and Marriage Experts.
As we have said for many years, Most marriages and relationships are worth saving and can be saved, but not all! Here’s what we mean.
In the case of abuse – sexual, physical, mental – many failing marriages and relationships are simply not worth saving. In fact, to attempt to save them puts one or both partners in the relationship at risk for further abuse.
Frankly, we know that some %0A”>marriages and relationships are not worth saving. And do you know how hard this statement is to make for people like us – the eternal optimists who always see a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow—who always see a silver lining? Unfortunately, the truth is the truth when it comes to love and life . . . and marriage.
Our six decades of life and more than three decades of research on the topics of love and marriage, tell us that some relationships become so poisoned, so dysfunctional, and so hopeless, that it is better to end them than to operate under the illusion that they are worth saving or can be saved.
We recently interviewed a young American couple that had been married for 15 years. It was clear from the beginning of the interview that this was not a match made in heaven. In fact, this marriage had failed so miserably that the only just and decent thing to do was end it. End it now! No amount of counseling and therapy, no amount of praying, and no amount of hoping were going to save this marriage.
For 15 years, the husband had mentally abused his wife. He discounted her every word. He made her feel insignificant by his words, his deeds, and by his actions. And even though his wife was pursuing a doctoral degree at one of America’s most prestigious universities, he treated her like she was some kind of dumb cluck – someone capable of nothing significant, lasting, or meaningful.
When we interviewed them, it became clear to us that she had had enough. She had had enough of his disrespect, his belittling, his mental abuse, and his coldness. She had finally decided that if she were to have any life at all, their marriage and their relationship would have to become history. So, she decided to end it.
The truth is, the mental anguish she suffered over the years had taken its toll – on her, her three children, and on her marital relationship. She asked us the most profound question of all – How can I continue to live with a man that makes me feel so worthless, so insignificant, and so meaningless. How can I continue to live with a man that respects me so little?
Her questions reveal the truth of all this. Sometimes it is just time to move on. Sometimes, to save your soul you have to free yourself of all that is oppressive. Sometimes, you must remove the albatross around your neck if you have any hope of living out your life with happiness, hope, self-respect, and meaningfulness.
Sometimes, you simply must move on with your life before it is too late. For the couple we interviewed, her time had come. The action she must take was clear. The action she must take to save her soul and the souls of her three children became clear to her – if she had any hope at all for her life and her children’s life, the time to move on was now!
The simple truth is, some marriages and relationships should not and cannot be saved. As harsh and evident as this truth is, it cannot be avoided in the case of some marriages and relationships. And in the end, when you have exhausted the solutions available to you, you simply must cut the tithes that bind.
For over 30 years, we have interviewed couples around the world and across cultures and all seven continents. Most of the time we have concluded that most marriages and relationships can and should be saved – but not all! When you can look in the mirror and honestly and truthfully say that you did your best to save your relationship with another human being, but to no avail, then ending it is the right thing to do. Life is too short to waste it in torment, in abuse, and in lost love.
Save yourself.
Creating a %0A”>successful marriageis 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.
In love and marriage the simple things matter. Love well!
By Dr. Charles D. Schmitz and Dr. Elizabeth A. Schmitz

Sexless Marriage

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

Seven Tips to Avoid the Seven Year Itch

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

Romance for Marriage Minded People: Fantasy or Reality?

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

On Valentine’s Day the Core Values of Love Matter

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

Never Go To Bed Mad At Each Other

By America’s #1 Love and Marriage Experts.
On the Today Show a remarkable segment aired. It was remarkable not because it was good or enlightening, but because it wasn’t. In fact, it was downright misleading and irresponsible based upon the research evidence, and we want to comment on it.
A psychologist and the managing editor of Good Housekeeping were on the Today Show to proclaim that the notion of never go to bed mad at each other was a myth. Imagine, calling such a time-honored notion a myth. Listening to them made our skin crawl and here’s why – credible research does not support what they said.
As many of our readers know, we have been researching successful marriages for almost 30 years. We have interviewed thousands of successfully married couples in 46 countries on six continents of the world, learning a lot about what makes good marriages work.
Towards the end of our interview protocol we ask these wonderful couples if they could offer three pieces of advice that we could share with newlyweds. And guess what, the number one piece of advice they have given, and it is has been consistent over three decades of research, is Never go to bed mad at each other!
Remember, this advice comes from thousands of happily married couples. The advice they give isn’t designed to shock the media with something unusual or out of the ordinary. These are the words of couples with a proven track record. Frankly, we got the impression when we watched the Today Show that the purpose of referring to Never go to bed mad at each other as a myth was to get a spot on a highly watched morning television show! But the sad truth is, their message was a terrible message to send to newly married couples. Our fear – they just might listen to the advice they heard on TV and that would be a big mistake in our judgment.
From time to time you hear so-called experts throw out information as if it were scientific fact. People believe it as if it were gospel. The problem is, much of what you hear has no scientific or research base.
The good news about the notion of Never go to bed made at each other – it is based on research from those who would know best – those who have been happily, blissfully, and successfully married for 30-60 years!
Married couples do, from time to time, have disagreements. They argue over big things and little things. They argue over stuff that doesn’t matter and stuff that does. But here is what we have learned from 30 years of research – successfully married couples rarely ever go to bed without resolving their differences on an issue, be it big or small. Many report to us that they have stayed up all night trying to bring closure to an issue that has divided them. They know that gaining resolution is far more important than getting a good night’s sleep. And remember this, issues that are not attended to more often than not fester through the night and only appear worse in the morning.
Do not be fooled by those who tell you that it is not important to resolve divisive issues before you go to bed. They are simply misguided and the advice they give can be hurtful to your relationship. Accept the advice of those who know – those whose marriages are happy and have stood the test of time.
In love and marriage the simple things matter. Love well!
By Dr. Charles D. Schmitz and Dr. Elizabeth A. Schmitz
For hundreds of tips to enhance your relationship get the Doctor’s best-selling and multiple-award winning book Building a Love that Lasts: The Seven Surprising Secrets of Successful Marriage (Jossey-Bass/Wiley 2010) Available wherever books are sold.
Winner of the INDIE Book Awards GOLD Medal for Best Relationship Book
Winner of the Mom’s Choice Awards GOLD Medal for Most Outstanding Relationships and Marriage Book
Nautilus Book Awards Winner for Relationships

Men And Depression After Divorce

A new study by Statistics Canada shows that men are more likely to suffer depression than women in the two years after a marriage or common-law relationship breaks up. The longitudinal data from the National Population Health Survey showed that men, aged 20-64, were six times more likely to report an episode of depression than men who were still married. Compare that to women, aged 20-64, were only 3.5 times more likely to report depression than women who were married. It seems that being the strong, silent type isn’t such a good strategy after all.
Interestingly, the study isolated out factors that could account for depression, such as loss of income, reduced social support and fewer children living in the household, to see if any of these things explained the depression. Even taking those important factors out, men were depressed simply because of the divorce itself. While most people worked through their depression within two years after the break-up, a significant minority were still depressed four years afterwards.
I found it interesting to see that men appear to be hit harder emotionally than women. In my experience, women certainly are more adept and willing to process and express their emotions. The vast majority of my clients are women and many of my coaching colleagues have that experience as well. Men are socialized to be the provider and problem solver of the family. They don’t have as extensive a social support network as women to support them in their divorce journey.
We’ve all heard about how men need to retreat to their cave at times. Quite often, men will jump straight into another new relationship as a way to cope with the loss, only to find that the same issues and unresolved needs surface yet again with the new partner. As the saying goes, If you can’t feel it, you can’t heal it. Starting a new relationship when you have unhealed emotional wounds is setting you, and your potential partner, up for a rocky ride.
So what’s a guy to do? I just so happen to have a few suggestions!
1. Talk It Out
Don’t suffer in silence. Reach out and find a divorce buddy you can really pour your heart out to. There are support groups specifically for men in many communities now. I just heard of one where every week men of all ages and marital status get together in a park and gather around a campfire, sharing their stories and simply listening to the others. A divorce coach or therapist can be a great resource, too.
2. Take a Time Out
Here’s a big tip: Take time to get to know yourself before jumping into the next serious relationship. Like an earthquake, divorce sends shock waves through your entire life. Give yourself time to let any aftershocks settle down before you rush out to lock into a new relationship. Make the investment to heal yourself upfront, and you’ll improve your odds of a successful future relationship significantly.
3. Women Love Vulnerable Men
There’s nothing more appealing to many women than a man who’s willing to be vulnerable and emotionally accessible. Drop the macho I can tough it out persona and let us see and feel your heart. Being real and authentic are critical for creating connected, loving relationships.

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.

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!

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 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.”

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 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.”

Marriage in France is Alive and Well

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

Marriage Can Last a Lifetime for Some Very Good Reasons

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

Marriage and the Pain of Abuse

By America’s #1 Love and Marriage Experts.
While we normally write positive stories about successful marriage, a recent interview caused us to alter course, albeit, temporarily.
A few weeks ago we interviewed a woman who had recently gotten divorced. Her story was so emotional and impactful that it had to be told. The pain and suffering caused by the dissolution of an abusive marriage is unfortunately all too common.
During this particular interview, we discovered a woman who experienced a marriage with a man who was so vile, so condescending, and so dangerous to her children that she hid the truth from the world for nearly 20 years.
Just imagine — being married to someone for so long a time who abuses his children and his wife, who makes life miserable for his family on a day to day basis, and who threatens those who disagree with his perverted methods of parenting.
The truth is this – abusive people win because those who are threatened by them, give in. We are reminded of the old saying, If you allow yourself to be pushed around then you only have yourself to blame.
As stereotypical as it may sound, people who are abused, threatened, intimidated, and belittled, need to stand up for their rights! We have found over the years that bullies crumple at the mere sight of a superior force!
Here is what we mean by that. If you decide to accept the abuse in your marriage for yourself and your children, then you and your children will end up being further abused. Our advice, based on years of research is this – develop spine, stand up for yourself and your children, tell your abusive spouse (or ex-spouse) that you are mad as hell and you will not take it anymore!
While it may sound easy for an outsider to say, we fully understand that you will need to find a support system – family, friends, counselor, abusive support groups, etc. Finding a support system that you can depend on when you begin to push back is a critically important part of your success. When the going gets tough, it is always easier to know that there is someone else whom you can talk with, seek advice from and confide in with the truth.
Abused women and children in a marriage do not have to take abuse anymore. Why would you continue to reward the abusers with acquiescence? Why on Earth would you continue to allow them to control your life? Why would you continue to allow them to make your life miserable? There are solutions out there, even when it seems like you have nowhere else to turn.
Here are some links to services and advice that can help you decide what to do next:
Help for Abused and Battered Women:…
Abused Women Organization:
The National Domestic Violence Hotline: read more

Marriage and the Empty Nest: Five Strategies for Rediscovering Your Spouse

By America’s #1 Love and Marriage Experts.
Okay, the children have all left home. You and your spouse are finally alone after two decades of marriage. Now what? How do you cope? What lies in store for the two of you?
These are questions faced by millions of married couples worldwide each and every year. If you are lucky, it is something you will have to deal with some day.
You get married, your children are born, they grow up, and they leave home. Nothing unusual about all that. But the truth is, it is a significant event in the lives of married couples with children around the world. No matter where you live on planet Earth, married couples with children will eventually have to deal with the empty nest.
So, how do you deal with it? When your children leave home, how does that affect your marriage? What are the potential pitfalls? What good comes of all this? What are the negative and positive impacts?
Just understand this – having your children leave home is a scary proposition. It is painful. It hurts! The good news – you are not alone!
We have traveled the world in search of great marriages – forty-six countries on six of the seven continents of the world so far. And all of the successfully married couples we have interviewed report the same thing to us – they missed their children when they left home, they had to learn how to cope with it, and their marriage was affected by it – some in positive ways and some in negative ways.
So what can you expect and what should you do to deal with the empty nest syndrome?
When the children move on – go to college, get married, get a job – and your nest is empty, the impact on your marriage can be substantial. The relationship between you and your spouse can change, and often does. Some call into question the very nature of their relationship with the one they love.
In this day and age, the extended family is less and less prevalent, and less and less important. In previous generations, the extended family gave us more flexibility when it came to the empty nest. Clearly, this is no longer true. The empty nest today is much more impactful than it used to be.
Always remember this – it is natural for a mother and father to feel sadness when the children leave home. There is no debate about that. It is natural to feel weepy. It is natural to feel irritable. And for sure, it is natural to feel lonely.
Someone once said, Parenting is terminal. We are not so sure about that. Charley’s father (rest his soul) used to say that no matter how old he got and how old Charley got, he was always Charley’s father. He worried about him and his safety no matter what. He worried about Charley each and every day.
Honestly – and trust us on this – parenting is NOT terminal! Parents are always parents, no matter how old their children. Successfully married couples around the world have reported this to us during our three decades of research. When your children leave home your nest is empty, but your children are always your children.
With all this said, the question of the day is this – what are the five strategies for discovering your spouse again when your nest is empty?
Here is what we have learned over the past 30 years from our thousands of interviews with successfully married couples around the world. According to the successfully married couples we have interviewed, empty nesters need to adhere to the following advice:
1. Empty nesters need to take stock of their relationship now that the children are out of the house. In other words, they need to set goals for their relationship, plot a direction they want their marriage to go, and start thinking about where their marriage is and should be 5, 10, 15 years down the road.
Why is this important? Well, the two of you have devoted so much of your time to your children over the life of your marriage that is time to start thinking more about the life you want for yourselves. Frankly, married couples often need to rediscover their relationship with each other. And the simple truth is, if you are lucky, you will spend the rest of your natural born life with your spouse. The quality of your relationship must be good if your marriage is to survive and thrive, post-children.
2. If your marriage is a typical American marriage, the chances are very high that both husband and wife work outside the home. The great danger for empty nesters is that they often throw themselves even more into their work, often at the expense of their spouse. Our advice – based on the advice of thousands of successfully married couples around the world – don’t make this mistake!
Your careers are important to you but plunging your heart and soul into your work as a way of compensating for the absence of children in your home will only cause stress in your relationship with your mate. Not a good plan! Don’t do it.
3. Rekindle the romance and passion of your relationship that is often put on the backburner when you are raising children.
Plan for lunch or dinner out. Meet in some clandestine place from time to time for some good old fashion passion. Take a spontaneous trip out of town. Go to Disney World – just the two of you! And remember this highly important point — rekindling passion for each other takes action! And practice! Get in the habit again of engaging in passion with each other. You will be surprised at how easy it will be to fall in love all over again with your spouse. Practice, practice, practice!
4. The health of your spouse is of paramount importance to your marriage, especially in the empty nest. The two of you should plan some kind of daily exercise routine. For example, we ride our bikes in the area parks and trails 5 or 6 days a week AND we walk our dog, Louie, every morning.
It is also important to eat healthy foods – salads and fruits in particular. When you exercise and eat healthy, you have more energy, you will be healthier, and you will live longer!
5. The final piece of advice goes like this – the worst thing you can do to your spouse or yourself as an empty nester is to hover over each other all the time. Just as you need alone time with children, you need it as empty nesters.
As you have heard us report in our writings and in our recent book, Building a Love that Lasts (Jossey-Bass, 2010), there is a fundamental predisposition in every human being to have time alone. Everybody needs time to be with their own thoughts, with their own hobbies, with just themselves. Empty nesters have more time to be together, but couples often forget that the need to be alone is just as strong and just as important when the children are gone. Respect that need for privacy and aloneness in yourself and your spouse. You will both be better off for it.
Living in an empty nest is not all that bad. Couples have been doing it for centuries! Make the most of it. Follow the simple rules espoused by those who have been there, done that, and been successful at it. You won’t regret it.
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

Marriage and Barriers to Openness

A whole lots of people are having problems in their marriage today because they allow barriers in their openness to their spouses,here let us check some of the barriers you must remove to give room for open ness in your marriage.
1.Ignorance. Many lack godly wisdom in marriage. They believe it is wrong to let their spouse know everything about them. This is not the right thing to do. Your spouse may be the only one who can give you godly counsel you need to help you solve that problem you are keeping from him or her. Just as you can’t keep any secret from God, you shouldn’t keep any from your spouse. Proverbs 16:2
Self. Selfishness is another reason some refuse to open up. A self-centered person sees things only in relation to himself. When self gets in the way, you are bound to see your spouse with jaundiced eye, then you will judge all actions in relation to you only. Do they please me? Am I justified? Will I gain from it? A good marriage is represented by the acronym- JOY meaning-
J- Jesus first
O- Others in between
Y- Yourself last.
Anything different from this will always amount to trouble in your marriage. Philippians 2:4.
3.​Poor spiritual life. A man with a deficient spiritual life or a backslider is likely to listen to the world and not what God says. It takes the fear of God to make marriage work.
4.​Unfaithfulness. When a person becomes unfaithful to his or her marriage vows, it becomes extremely difficult to open up to his or her partner. Proverbs 28:13
5.​Wrong Association. When you relate with people who do not cherish marriage, then it becomes difficult to open up to your partner. Proverbs 29:24
6.​Immaturity. It takes a mature mind to manage marriage in God’s way. Baby husbands and wives will definitely make a mess of it. 1 Corinthians 14:20
7.​Unforgiveness. Unforgiveness and a crave for vengeance destroy marriage easily. It breaks the unity of purpose and disallows openness. It breeds bitterness, hatred, resentment, nagging and a chain of evil things. Colossians 3:13
8.​Wrong Conceptions. Misconceptions in marriage also destroy openness. Some people believe that one’s spouse should not know everything about one’s life. Those with this mindset cannot open up to each other.

Make Valentine’s Day 365 Days a Year

By America’s #1 Love and Marriage Experts.
Today, we were on an hour show with a blow-torch radio station, talking about love, relationships, and Valentine’s Day. We had a blast!
It is always fun reaching the folks with our positive message about our more than 30 years of research on love and marriage on all seven of the world’s continents in 47 countries.
What made this particular show notable today, and separated it from the hundreds of radio and television shows we have done, is a comment from someone who called in to the show. His name was Frank and his observation was right on and supported our research on successful love and marriage on six of the world’s seven continents!
Frank made a simple comment and it went like this – Everyday of successful love and marriage is Valentine’s Day! Truer words were never spoken! We could not agree more. Frank has it right!
Here’s the truth. If people who purport to be in love only express their love to the one they say they love on Valentine’s Day, their so-called loving relationship is questionable. We do not express this notion lightly! Here’s why.
You can never, ever, take the one you love for granted. Never, ever assume that Valentine’s Day – that once-a-year celebration of love – can take the place of 365 days of your expressions of love throughout the year.
No dozen roses, poignant Valentine’s Cards, and dinners out will ever replace your daily expressions of love for the one you love. None of your expressions of love will ever replace your time with the one you love. And frankly, none of these acts will ever replace the time they spend with you throughout the other 364 days of the year.
Make no mistake about it – Valentine’s Day is an important day of celebration for love. We don’t want to minimize this notion. But in the end, Valentine’s Day, as a celebration of love, should occur everyday – through expressions of love, simple acts of kindness, by the daily respect you show your lover, by your actions of love, and by the way you treat the one you love. Valentine’s Day should occur everyday of the year – all 365 days. And in a Leap Year, you get an extra day! What could be better than that?
Let this Valentine’s Day be the first of many Valentine’s Days to come on each day of 2013.
Creating a successful marriage is not always the easiest thing to do. Your visiting our blog suggests you are highly interested in making your relationship and 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 bestselling book, Building a Love that Lasts. This multiple award-winning book — first in hard cover then in paperback – – is still the standard handbook for marriage and relationships for five years running.
**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 Dr. Charles D. Schmitz and Dr. Elizabeth A. Schmitz

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

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

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

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

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

Love the Second Time Around – Falling Back in Love

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

Love is Colorblind to Those in Love

Real Love Is Colorblind
By America’s #1 Love and Marriage Experts.
The romantic 1955 movie, Love is a Many Splendored Thing, tells the story of an American reporter who falls in love with a Eurasian doctor. And as you might have guessed, they encounter prejudice from both of their families. Such prejudice was, unfortunately, all too common in 1955. It is all too common in 2011.
People in love it seems do not always find a colorblind world. That’s too bad. Love is love. People, who are in love, love each other irrespective of their race, creed, color, or national origin. True love between two people is colorblind – never forget that! Love does not see color, it only sees love.
In the nearly three decades we have studied successful loving relationships we have often encountered people in love who have suffered the slings and arrows of misfortune because their relationship was a bi-racial one, or in many cases, a multi-racial relationship. Often times, there are people who observe others in love, but they do not always just see love. They see race. They see people who are different. Their prejudices take over. The dark side of some takes over. Too bad.
During the film, Love is a Many Splendored Thing, some intensely romantic meetings occur on a high and windswept hill. The song lyrics are clearly audible during many parts of the film.
This intensely romantic song touches the heart. It touched our heart. It will touch yours. It goes like this:
Once on a high and windy hill,
In the morning mist, two lovers kissed,
And the world stood still.
You see, two people in love know their love for each other is timeless. They know their love is unconditional. They know it transcends everything else, even prejudice. Love between two people who are truly in love trumps everything else.
There is another line from the song that we think is particularly lovely:
Love is nature’s way of giving.
A reason to be living.
Love must be shared. Love must be enjoyed. Love, quite frankly, is nature’s way of telling people in love that they have many reasons to live – that they have many reasons to spend their life with the one they love.
There is another message about love. Love, when it comes your way, must be embraced. When you fall in love, you must seize the moment. Love does not always wait. When you fall in love, when you feel it completely, you must seize the moment:
Love is a many splendored thing
It’s the April rose that only grows in the early spring.
When you fall in love, when you fall deeply in love, there is a good chance it will be forever. True love is between two individuals who see only love when they gaze into each other’s eyes. Those in love do not see race, color, national origin, or prejudice. They see only love.
Love is a many splendored thing. Love is colorblind to those in love, and it should be to those who observe those in love.
In love and marriage the simple things matter. Love well!
By Dr. Charles D. Schmitz and Dr. Elizabeth A. Schmitz
For hundreds of tips to enhance your relationship get the Doctor’s best-selling and multiple-award winning book Building a Love that Lasts: The Seven Surprising Secrets of Successful Marriage (Jossey-Bass/Wiley 2010) Available wherever books are sold.
Winner of the INDIE Book Awards GOLD Medal for Best Relationship Book
Winner of the Mom’s Choice Awards GOLD Medal for Most Outstanding Relationships and Marriage Book
Nautilus Book Awards Winner for Relationships

Looking for Love in All the Right Places

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

Lie, Steal and Cheat Your Way to Love

By America’s #1 Love and Marriage Experts.
Okay, we admit it – our favorite new love-story movie is Leap Year (2010). We simply love the movie and have now watched it three times! The movie speaks to many of the research findings we have found over the three decades we have researched successful marriage and relationships on six of the world’s seven continents.
We are particularly enamored with the movie because it is filmed in Ireland and we recently spent a week there interviewing successfully married couples. Ireland is a beautiful country with wonderful people. We took a ton of photos, and many of our photos were of places featured in the movie.
If you are interested, you can see the iTunes movie trailer for Leap Year.
A number of the scenes in the movie are places we visited during our stay in the Emerald Isle described in one of our blogs from Ireland.
One of our favorite lines in the movie went something like this – Can you lie, cheat, and steal your way to love. And before you start getting all worked up over this line, we offer you the punch line that went like this – you can lie if you lie next to me; you can steal if you steal my heart; and you can cheat if you cheat death.
We have to admit to loving those notions! And here is what they mean in a nutshell.
1. You can lie if you lie next to me. The notion we have discovered about great marriages around the world is the essence of great love – two people in love join together to form one without losing their individual identities. Make no mistake about it, when you find the person of your dreams you will always want to be with them and have them by your side. There is something wonderful and remarkable about having a soulmate – about having someone who lies next to you while you sleep – someone who makes you feel secure and cozy because you share a bed with someone you love completely and who loves you unconditionally.
2. You can steal if you steal my heart. Being in love requires one to be vulnerable. Let’s face it; giving of yourself to another human being without conditions and with great vulnerability is not an easy thing to do! But one thing is for certain – when you fall in love completely, and you do it for a lifetime, you will do it without conditions. Stealing someone’s heart and having someone steal yours is one of the great heists of life! Enjoy it!
3. You can cheat if you cheat death. One of the important lessons we have learned in our research over this years is this – successfully married people cannot imagine life without their spouse. Near the end of our interview protocol we ask this question, Can you imagine life without your spouse? The answer is always the same – NO! People in love for a lifetime know that their life is only complete when they are with their spouse. They know that their life cannot continue to be complete without spending it with the one they have loved for a lifetime. Death changes everything! People in love want to cheat death for as long as they can because life is unimaginable without each other.
You see, you can lie, cheat, and steal in your marriage – under the proper conditions, of course!
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

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

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