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

By America’s #1 Love and Marriage Experts.

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

When your wife cheats it’s difficult to keep your head on straight and think clearly about the choices you are going to make right now that can affect the rest of your life. If you’ve found yourself in this situation you should consider the biggest mistakes that betrayed husbands often make when confronted with a cheating wife.

Not Asking for Proof it’s Over

Many men start the moving on process without proof that the affair is over because they don’t want their wife to think they are jealous. Asking for proof that there is no more cheating for a period of time does not mean that you are jealous. It means that you need some information to help you move past the situation. read more

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

Why Women Leave Their Husbands – The Top Four Reasons

Marriages just don’t last in the United States today, and it’s a shame to see a good thing go to waste. If you take a time and see why women leave husbands, you’ll realize that most of the problems that cause it can be resolved if you are willing to put some efforts into it. Below are the top four reasons on why women leave husbands and what you can do when you notice the signs.

Problem 1 – He’s Not Working Hard Enough

Marriage requires a lot of work, and if you’re married, you know what I mean. But many women leave their husbands simply because they think that he’s stopped putting the effort into it. When women see their partners begin to turn them off, it’s the beginning of the end. She feels like she is putting in all the effort, and she figures “Why bother?”

This is tough for men to realize. Usually, they feel like they are working hard at their work, and this is their contribution to the relationship. They are exhausted by this contribution, and it makes THEM feel unappreciated and leads to resentment. However, what she’s talking about is emotional commitment.

What You Can Do – Spend some time together. Plan it, like it’s a meeting with a client or buyer. Make time together and ensure that it stays focused on both of you. It’s just as easy as that.

Problem 2 – Where is The Affection?

Aside from his effort and time, women also need affection. This normally dwindles down from the first date to 30 years of married life. However – you cannot allowed this to happen! It is just as crucial now as it was when you were first dating. A lot of guys don’t realize this.

Without that spark of affection, a marriage becomes a partnership and nothing more. It might not even be a friendship anymore, and this is serious. Believe it or not, women need love, affection and intimacy much more than men do, and this includes what goes on in the bedroom.

What You Could Do – Start going out on dates just as before. Go back to those enchanting beginning days. Devote more time to making a little love.

Problem 3 – You Just Don’t Listen

As part of her needs, a woman also needs to be listened to. Lots of women report their husbands’ inability to listen as the top reason. Essentially, the issue isn’t that men don’t listen; it is that they simply cannot stop themselves from giving their ideas and trying to “correct” things. It’s part of a man’s primal nature, I suppose.

What You Could Do – Ask her about her day, after that shut up and pay attention when she’s talking. Ask her open-ended questions like “How did that make you feel?” Don’t worry about solutions; your listening is enough.

Problem 4 – Being Unfaithful

This one is pretty clear and understandable. He has an affair, she finds out, and then it’s over. However, there is a deeper truth concealed behind it. Having an affair is marriage suicide and most men realize it. You know that your wife won’t give you a second chance if she finds out. No other woman’s really worth all that, and you know it.

Whenever a woman finds out that her husband’s had an affair, it opens a whole Pandora’s Box of bad feelings about him. Additionally, it opens up all her negative feelings about herself. This double whammy is more than most women can handle, and that’s why it’s time for divorce.

What You Could Do – Men who are cheating should QUIT right this moment, and then try to find the actual reasons why they’re doing it. This is the real problem, and once you solve this, you’ll be happy in your marriage again. If your wife caught you (believe me, she will; it’s just a matter of time), you will have a long painful process to win her trust back.

A marriage takes work. If you notice the signals that she’s considering to leave, then you should ACT; RIGHT NOW. Keep in mind that you’re the only person that can save your marriage.

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

By America’s #1 Love and Marriage Experts.

Oh, the times, they are a-changing! This refrain is from a very famous Peter, Paul, and Mary song. And the truth is, people are finding love in different ways than they did is year’s past. Online dating is a reality today. read more

Why Women Stay With Men Who Cheat

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

Anonymity Versus the Truth about Marriage

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

We thought we had heard everything until this!

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

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

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

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

Why Women Leave Men – The Shocking Truth About Why Women Leave Men

So why do women leave men? Well, the reasons are usually much different than why men leave women.

For example, while men crave respect women crave appreciation. There is usually a strong misconception among men that women are usually like a classic motor car, that is, high maintenance but this is really not the case.

If only men realized that keeping their women happy just required a little consistent appreciation then they wouldn’t be going into damage control when the crunch comes and they leave.

You’ve got to understand, women in the main are loyal to their men and it will take a lot of indirect frustration from men towards women to drive them to the point of throwing their hands in the air and saying enough is enough.

How To Make Women Feel Appreciated

The relationship between a man and a women has a very fine line between love and “I’ve had enough.”

It’s not usually hate when women leave men it’s more frustration that they just can’t seem to get through to them that some appreciation once in awhile will go a long way to keeping the relationship vessel on a steady course.

Yes, a cheating man or abusive man is a green light for women to leave men and in this case, the reasons are obvious. But the fact is, many women just become dissatisfied through lack of acknowledgment and the dangers of this will usually mean looking for it somewhere else.

Men who are players will usually be lurking in the distance somewhere waiting for an opportunity.

Women who are currently dissatisfied with their man’s lack of appreciation will be drawn to these type of guys who know how to play the game and give them what their lacking. Before you know it, an affair develops.

If your woman has left for another man then ask yourself why she needed to go elsewhere to find the attention and appreciation she so craved.

Who’s to blame? Well, one of the secrets to getting your partner back is to refrain from playing the blame game. This goes for both. As a man, you could do well to admit your faults rather than “fly off the handle” and try and understand why the hiccup occurred.

Yes, it’s tough but a part of the magic of making up which needs to be addressed before the healing process can begin.

When Dating for Marriage it’s Values, Values, Values!

Perhaps you have heard that in business it’s all about location, location, location! However, this dating coach believes that for relationships, it’s all about values, values and values! What do I mean about values? Let me explain:
Your values are what you treasure. It’s what you hold dear. When your values are not aligned with someone or something, you will feel discourse and out of sorts. I can’t stress how important it is to have a list with a detailed description of your values so you can adjust your love radar connection in the right direction.
As a dating coach I have observed for many of my clients that their love connection radar is off and they are choosing the inappropriate people to date based upon the wrong criteria. When you adjust your love connection radar through your values, you will make better choices for yourself and you will recognize a good potential mate sooner than later.
So how do your values help you with finding that special person? Let me share with you this dating coach’s 3 Step Motivated to Marry Dating Secrets System:

* First CLARIFY WHO would be a good match for you.
Once you have a detailed description list of your values written out, then you have to figure out which ones are your PERSONAL VALUES and which are your RELATIONSHIP VALUES. Your RELATIONSHIP VALUES need to be aligned with your life partner and your PERSONAL VALUES need to be supported by your partner.
* Next FOCUS on WHERE to go to find people who share your core RELATIONSHIP VALUES.
You will be able to figure out where you are going to meet people who share your values? You will find that you will connect with people because you share similar values. For instance, if you have a value around giving back to your community, you may find singles’ volunteer opportunities so you can meet other single people who feel the same desire. Also, it’s important to express your values in your online dating profile so you will attract the right people to your profile! Moreover, you can tell the connectors in your life WHO you are looking for based upon these RELATIONSHIP VALUES so they can easily think about who they know to introduce you to that would be a great match.
* Last, your RELATIONSIP VALUES will SOLIDIFY your CONNECTION to your romantic partner.
By honoring your CORE RELATIONSHIP values, you have the glue that will keep you together during the ups and downs of a relationship. When you share and support one another’s values, you both get one another and find that you have an appreciative, supportive, respectful and caring partner. This will give you the best chance for your future happiness in your romantic love partnership. By disregarding your RELATIONSHIP VALUES you are missing the one thing that can make dating easier so you can determine who is a good fit, as well as, a way to kindly pass on those who don’t share your core VALUES.
What criteria are you utilizing to evaluate a potential mate for continued dating? This curious dating coach would like to know!
Coach Amy
PS. If you would like to learn more about how to utilize your values to find and solidify true love, go to and let’s talk about how we can best uncover your PERSONAL and RELATIONSHIP VALUES in support of your quest to find your Motivated to Marry Mate!

* Is Your Marriage Suffering From Emotional Infidelity?

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

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

Falling in love with another human being is easy, but making a commitment to love them forever is up in the air for many people.

We like the term up in the air from the movie title for a whole bunch of reasons, primarily because it aptly describes the struggles so many folks go through when it comes to making a commitment to love somebody for a lifetime.
read more

Is the Seven Year Itch in Marriage Real?

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

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

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

Why Snoring Is The Silent Relationship Killer

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

What Makes a Happy Marriage?

By America’s #1 Love and Marriage Experts.
As our loyal readers know, we have been researching successful marriage around the world for nearly three decades. We have travelled to 47 countries on six of the world’s seven continents in search of the best marriages.
In our speeches, blogs, and world travels we are often asked – Are there ways to ensure that a marriage will be happy? The answer is of course, no. Life, love, and marriage do not come with absolute guarantees. Marriage does not come with a warranty.
Let us hasten to add, however, you can greatly increase the odds that your marriage will last a lifetime if your profile closely resembles the following 15 findings we have gleaned from our own research and the marriage research of others whose research we highly value.
If your marriage profile looks like this, you are well on your way to a long and successful marriage. These are, in essence, the predictors of a happy marriage.
1. It stands to reason that you and the one you love must first pass the Marriage Quiz. If you can’t get out of the starting gate with a successful marriage, the rest doesn’t matter. Take the Quiz and if you both receive a score of 18 or higher on the Marriage Quiz, you have met the first pre-requisite of a successful marriage.
2. Wait until you are at least 25+ to get married. Couples who get married after the age of 25 are far more likely to stay married than those who get married sooner. Doing so will pay many dividends over the years ahead. Experience and wisdom that comes with age will certainly contribute to the success of a marriage.
3. Have an income-producing job with stability before you get married. Here’s what we know, couples with annual incomes over $50,000 (vs. under $25,000) experience a drastically reduced risk of divorce. Couples who have steady jobs with steady incomes are far more likely to have a successful marriage.
4. Do not have children in the first year of your marriage. Bring children into the world when your marriage is ready for them. Nora Ephron once said, Having children is like throwing a hand grenade into a marriage! Children are wonderful, but they bring stress and challenges to a marital relationship, especially to a new marriage. Have children when you know and understand each other and your marriage is ready for the responsibilities associated with parenting. Your marriage will be well served, make no mistake about that.
5. Being spiritual and/or religious is good for your marriage. Couples that consider themselves religious or spiritual (vs. not) are considerably less likely to get divorced. Faith and spirituality contribute to the sense of oneness felt by successfully married couples – a necessary prerequisite to a long and happy marriage.
6. Focus on getting an education that includes post-secondary training (college, trade school, etc.). College educated couples have a much less chance of divorce than those with only a high school diploma. Education almost always leads to enlightenment and understanding and more tolerance for the views of others – so critically important in successful marriages. In fact, college educated women are more likely to get married than their less educated counterparts, and much more likely to have a successful marriage.
7. Make sure your spouse is your best friend. When someone asks you who your best friend is, the honest answer must be, My spouse. There is no other acceptable answer to this question. If you answer this question correctly, your marriage has a better than average chance of success. Being in love is never enough without friendship. All long-term successfully married couples know this to be a fact1
8. Always fight fair in your marriage. All married couples argue – the good, the bad, and the ugly marriages – they all do it. The difference is how they argue. If you decide to submerge your feelings, let the anger fester, and go to bed mad at each other – well, you are heading down a path that could ultimately lead to the destruction of your marriage. Arguing is healthy for a marriage. Just fight fair and never make your arguments personal and hurtful!
9. Never lose your individual identity or subjugate your individual strengths just because you got married. While in many ways two becomes one in the best marriages, losing who you are is not a pre-requisite to being happily and blissfully married. Quite the contrary, losing the sense of who you are hurts your marriage. It doesn’t help your marriage. Be true to your identity as a human being. It will serve your marriage well.
10. Never, we repeat, never engage in acts of infidelity. While some marriages survive infidelity, the overwhelming majority do not. Think long and hard about what you will lose before you engage in infidelity – before you violate the most sacred of marital trusts.
11. Always allow time to be alone – for both you and your spouse. We have learned over the past three decades of research one fundamental truism – every human being has a fundamental predisposition to be alone, to be by themselves from time to time. Allowing yourself time to be alone to your thoughts each day will serve you and your marriage well. Extending the same opportunity to your spouse will pay huge dividends for your marriage. A marriage that does not follow this simple advice could place their marriage in grave jeopardy.
12. Talk about anything and everything! Marriages thrive on open communication and honest discussion. The most successfully married couples we have interviewed around the world tell us that they have learned to communicate frequently, fairly, openly, and honestly. Mum is not the word in marriages that work! Practicing communication with your spouse each and every day is a necessary prerequisite for the success of your marriage. There should be no sacred cows in your marriage!
13. Always show mutual respect and admiration for each other. The best marriages repeatedly engage in acts of kindness towards each other. They do nice things for each other with no expectation of something in return. They work hard to understand each other’s needs and wants. They say thank you and please. They open doors for each other. Successfully married couples do all these things automatically, without ever thinking about it. But remember – these behaviors take daily practice! Start today.
14. The greatest joy in life for both you and your spouse is spending time with each other. If you do not feel this way, you do NOT fit the profile of the most happily and successfully married couples we have interviewed around the world. Couples who love each other deeply, who want to spend their lives with each other, and who cannot imagine life without each other, will almost always tell you this – the one they want to be with more than anyone else is their spouse. There is no substitute for togetherness when it comes to a happily married couple, make no mistake about that.
15. Understand that all marriages go through seasons – much like the seasons of nature. A marriage is born in the spring, blossoms over the summer, grows to maturity in the fall, and settles in over the winter. When we find true love, most of us find it for a lifetime. Those marriages and relationships that last over time started with the simple planting of a seed. The seed was nourished over time. Love grown with tender and loving care matures into fully-grown love that can withstand the tests of time. You can make your love and your marriage last for a lifetime.
There is a profile for marital success – there are predictors associated with the best marriages and they do not occur by accident or happenstance. It takes hard work to make a marriage work.
There are characteristics associated with success and tale-tale signs of impending failure. Heed the advice and the odds are in your favor. Ignore the predictors and do so at your own peril. The choice is yours.
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) 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

The 5 Things You Should NEVER Say to Your Spouse

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

What are the Warning Signs of a Failing Marriage?

By America’s #1 Love and Marriage Experts.
We have studied marriage around the globe for three decades. And while our focus has principally been on successful marriage, we have interviewed a lot of folks whose marriage was in trouble – whose marriage was falling apart.
There is nothing more painful than watching your marriage disintegrate before your eyes. It hurts. In fact, it may be amongst the most painful experiences you will have in your lifetime.
During our many radio and television interviews over the years we are often asked this simple question – How will I know my Marriage is in Trouble?’ Our research has identified the answer to this very important and often asked question.
So, friends, here are the Seven Telltale Signs of a Failing Marriage that we have identified over the years.
1. You fight and argue much more often than before and do so unfairly.
Fact is, you have nothing nice to say to or about each other anymore. You love to nitpick at each other. Your teasing isn’t fun – it is now painful and hurtful. You use each other as a personal pincushion!
Sadly, your arguments are repeatedly about the same subjects. You are increasingly critical of each other, you fight constantly, and you no longer fight fair.
As we have said many times before – it is okay to argue – all successfully married couples do – but the truth is this, successfully married couples have learned how to fight fair. Their arguments do not become personal and attack oriented.
2. One or both of you show increasing disrespect for each other.
As we have described in our recent book, Building a Love that Lasts: The Seven Surprising Secrets of Successful Marriage (Jossey-Bass/Wiley), mutual respect is at the heart of the best marriages. In failing marriages, there are growing signs of disrespect. Resentment and contempt have replaced patience and love. You go out of your way to avoid being together.
And sadly, when you are away from your spouse you are happier than when you are with them. Having fun with your mate seems to be a thing of the past.
When mutual respect and understanding fail, your marriage is well on the way to its end. Make no mistake about that.
3. You and your spouse are no longer capable of communicating with each other in meaningful and productive ways.
Communication between a husband and a wife is of paramount importance to the health of a successful marital relationship. Failing marriages communicate less and less. There are fewer and fewer meaningful exchanges between the two people who occupy the marriage bond.
Worse yet, they don’t talk with each other about their mutual problems anymore. Frankly, failing marriages lose the ability and the willingness to resolve their marital problems. They just don’t care anymore.
When communication between a husband and wife shuts down, there is little hope for the marriage. Always remember this – no problem was ever resolved, no divide ever bridged, and no disagreement ever broached when people refused to communicate. When communication falters, a marriage is in trouble.
4. Sexual intimacy in your marriage is low and increasingly non-existent.
In a failing marriage, sexual intimacy is low. Sexual intimacy becomes more and more infrequent. Marriage partners turn into roommates – they live together in the same home, but do not share the intimacies of a marriage. Unfortunately, intimacy becomes a thing of the past.
It is clear from our three decades of research that sexual intimacy is over-rated when it comes to the best marriages. There are many other elements that are equally or more important to a successful marriage than sex. But make no mistake about it; INTIMACY is more than good sex. Intimacy is holding hands on a walk, snuggling in the morning, hugging a lot, touching each other, and in general, feeling emotion for each other.
When intimacy starts to fade so does the marriage. When you and/or your spouse lose feelings of intimacy, your marriage is in trouble.
5. Financial disagreements dominate your discussions and conversations.
It is clear, when you argue increasingly and incessantly about financial issues, your marriage is in trouble. We have written extensively about this subject over the past two years, and if the truth were known, most arguments in a marriage center on financial issues.
Worse yet, you discover your spouse is lying about money and other financial related issues. They lie about the bills, the balances, the payoffs, and the commitments. A very bad sign, indeed.
It is clear; we live in trying times when it comes to economic uncertainty. Unemployment is historically high, the Stock Market has wild swings, we worry about our retirement income and our savings, and our home values are in the tank. There is a lot of economic uncertainty.
But here is the truth – the best marriages survive and thrive during trying economic times. The best marriages find a way to deal with the economic uncertainties. Failing marriages have not learned to cope with economic uncertainty because they have not learned how to communicate with each other. If all you talk about is your financial plight, you marriage is in trouble.
6. You do not trust your spouse anymore.
Trust is the centerpiece of a great marriage! In fact, there is nothing more central to a successful marriage than the ability to trust. If you can’t trust your spouse, whom can you trust?
When you or your spouse start to have thoughts of being unfaithful and think more and more about divorce, your marriage is in trouble. When you worry about infidelity in your marriage, your marriage is in trouble.
Let’s face it, when the trust level between you and your spouse nears zero, there is little hope for your marriage. You cannot imagine how important it is to trust your spouse. When you don’t trust them anymore, there is little hope for your marriage.
7. Family members increasingly choose up sides instead of striving for common ground and common understandings.
Your immediate family (your children, each other, your extended family) finds it more and more difficult to find common ground in debates, discussions, and conversations. Family members start to choose up sides. Winning and losing becomes the order of the day. Compromise is out the window.
Moreover, you and your spouse try to isolate each other from family and friends. Divide and conquer becomes the order of the day.
It is sad but true – those marriages that become dysfunctional display symptoms of division and lack of common understandings among family members. Family unity begins to disintegrate. Feuding families are not good for a healthy marriage.
It is important to know the telltale signs of a failing marriage. Pay close attention. When you witness the signs, take action. Save your relationship if you can. Having a healthy and happy marriage is one of the great success stories of life. It is not too late to save your marriage.
In love and marriage the simple things matter. Love well!
By Dr. Charles D. Schmitz and Dr. Elizabeth A. Schmitz
**For hundreds of tips to enhance your relationship get the Doctor’s best-selling and multiple-award winning book Building a Love that Lasts: The Seven Surprising Secrets of Successful Marriage (Jossey-Bass/Wiley 2010) Available wherever books are sold.
Winner of the INDIE Book Awards GOLD Medal for Best Relationship Book
Winner of the Mom’s Choice Awards GOLD Medal for Most Outstanding Relationships and Marriage Book
Nautilus Book Awards Winner for Relationships

Infidelity is Not Okay and it is Not Forgivable!

By America’s #1 Love and Marriage Experts.
Frankly, if we hear yet one more person talk about infidelity in a relationship as if it were okay, not a big deal, and forgivable, we are going to get angry!
We have studied the best marriages for more than 25 years and we know this – the best marriages would never engage in unfaithfulness – they would never engage in infidelity.
Here is the whole truth and nothing but the truth – being disloyal to the one you love is an unpardonable sin! Why would anyone who engages in this disloyal, dishonest, and morally reprehensible behavior think it is okay? To betray someone you purport to love is unconscionable. And as we often say, based on our years of research with successfully married couples, there is a character element to marriage and to violate the code of conduct in a marriage – to engage in the ultimate form of betrayal – is to destroy the core, the heart, of that relationship.
As you have noticed over the years, we are not angry people. But the notion that betrayal is acceptable or excusable gets us riled. Clearly, we are not unreasonable people. And the truth is, we know what makes marriages work. Being unfaithful to the one you love is not conducive to a wholesome, successful, and endearing relationship.
Here’s the deal – there are NO excuses for infidelity! There is no way to excuse infidelity. Being unfaithful to the one you love is the most unpardonable of all sins. To violate the core of trust in your marriage or loving relationship is, simply put, to destroy the relationship.
It is our considered opinion – based on many years of research – that the notion of character in marriage is real. To suggest otherwise is to ignore the basic tenets of successful relationships. We guess that it is time to say, The buck stops here! Literally translated – there are no excuses for disloyalty and infidelity to your spouse – to your lover.
Over the years, we have interviewed a lot of people who purported to be in love. We have interviewed a lot of couples that repeated the vows, Until Death Do Us Part. And these are not just words! To love someone for a lifetime does not occur by accident. To be in love is not an accident. To be in love is to do the simple things day in and day out of your relationship with the one you say you love. But trust us on this – you cannot betray the one you love and expect your marriage to survive and thrive.
It pains our heart to see couples espouse the virtues of the Desperate Housewives who think it’s okay to cheat on the one your love, and everything will be okay. It drives an arrow through our heart to think that there are people engaged in a loving relationship who think that betrayal is an offense for which there is forgiveness.
The ultimate betrayal of the one you say you love is an unrecoverable act! Writers, therapists, counselors, and psychologists who suggest otherwise are not only fooling themselves, they are misleading those they purport to represent.
Don’t be fooled and don’t be foolish. There is rarely EVER a recovery from a relationship that sinks to betrayal, infidelity, and disloyalty. Those who have been successfully married for years and years know this to be true. Don’t be misled by those who suggest otherwise.
The Simple Things Matter in love and marriage. Love well!
By Dr. Charles D. Schmitz and Dr. Elizabeth A. Schmitz
Authors of Golden Anniversaries: The Seven Secrets of Successful Marriage
Winner of the INDIE Book Awards GOLD Medal for Best Relationship Book
Winner of the 2009 Mom’s Choice Awards GOLD Medal for Most Outstanding Relationships and Marriage Book
2009 Nautilus Book Awards Winner for Relationships

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

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