Posts Tagged ‘great marriages’

How to Fall in Love with Your Spouse Again

November 14, 2013
Love and Marriage Experts

Fall In Love With Your Spouse

The simple truth is, sometimes we need to fall in love with your spouse all over again!  When your marriage starts to stagnate, when it starts to suffer from the doldrums, and when it needs resuscitation, rest assured, there are five actions you can take to bring your marriage back:

1.  Engage in a process that allows you to re-establish the communication links between the two of you.  We suggest that you start with these three questions:  1. Why did we fall in love?  2. Why did we get married?  3. What are our hopes and dreams for the future?  The communicative links between the two of you are highly important and no love, no marriage, and no relationship will ever be jump-started again without the re-establishment of the communicative ties that bind.  Try getting started with programs like our “Seven-Week Program for Developing Ongoing Sharing in Your Marriage” in Building a Love that Lasts:  The Seven Surprising Secrets of Successful Marriage.

Read the entire article, Fall In Love With Your Spouse Again, to learn the other four actions you can take

**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

Do Great Marriages Live A Perfect Life?

March 2, 2013

Perfect_marriage

Too often, people assume that those who have the most successful marriages live in some kind of la-la land – a perfect world – a place where everything is fair, just, and beautiful – a Nirvana land!  Here’s the truth – nothing could be further from the truth

We have constantly and relentlessly pursued this question in our interviews in 47 countries on all seven continents of the world – “Do the great marriages live a perfect life?”  And the answer is – absolutely NO!

From the thousands of successfully married couples we have interviewed there is a “most important lesson”  – even couples with the happiest marriages have experienced severe challenges to their relationship.  These couples have reported to us unimaginable challenges to their marriage.  Couples have shared with us stories about the death of children, financial burdens that nearly destroyed their relationship, the horrors of losing a job, the burdens of serious health issues, the pressures of child rearing problems and the destruction caused by a transfer to another city for a work assignment that neither of them wanted, to name only a few.

These are couples that have been happily and blissfully married for a long time.  These are the couples that know the secrets of a great marriage and a great relationship.  The best marriages, the best relationships we have ever witnessed or interviewed – have all reported to us a litany of the great challenges to their marriage throughout their years together.

Ah, but the truth is this – the best marriages report that the challenges to their marriage ACTUALLY strengthened their marriage and their relationship.

The essence of their story is this – “These challenges to our relationship actually made our relationship better!”

So what is the message here?  Like all of the most important messages about love and relationships we have learned, the important message is a simple one – challenges make you stronger.  And in the end, challenges – properly dealt with together as a team – will make your relationship stronger.

People who have gone through the wars of life together will always choose their mate in battle.  People who truly love each other will always say this to us – we are a team and we will always support each in our times of need.

The Good, the bad, and the ugly – dealing with challenges together is the heart of the best relationships.

Never, never assume that the best marriages live in some “Cinderella land.”  The best marriages have survived heart-wrenching challenges.  Never minimize what the best marriages and relationships have gone through.

The challenges they have experienced have made their relationship stronger.  Never underestimate the power of challenge to the establishment of a great relationship.

Creating a successful marriage is not always the easiest thing to do.  Your visiting our Simple Things Matter 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 their marriage advice 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

Positive Communication Can Strengthen Your Marriage

July 14, 2012

Communication in a Marriage, Marriage, Marriage Advice, Love and Marriage Experts, Marital Communications

The “heart of the matter” is this – successfully married couples report a high level of satisfaction with the way they communicate.  They talk about everything and anything with each other—there are “No Sacred Cows.”  Great couples attribute their marital success first and foremost to the fact that they have honed their communication skills over time.

So, what are the lessons we have learned over the past 30+ years of research from those couples that communicate effectively on just about every level?  As we poured over our interview notes from thousands of couples around the world, five important actions emerged.

1. Effective marital communication always begins with proper engagement and in a proper context. Talking about serious matters cannot occur effectively when dealing with chaos, such as a blaring television, crying baby, etc.

2. There is proper etiquette to follow in effective communication. Lower your voices, speak in a calm manner, make eye contact, listen intently and seek clarification if you don’t understand.  Refrain from blaming, accusing, calling names, making nasty remarks or getting defensive.

3. Discussions about serious issues must always begin with agreement about what the issues really are.  Work to identify the issue, establish the parameters of the discussion, and agree to solve the problem together.

4. A fruitful conversation about important matters always begins with the brainstorming of ideas.  It is important to get your respective ideas out on the table.  Talk about the relative strengths and weaknesses of each.  Agree on ideas worth exploring.

5. Never, we repeat, never be judgmental when debating issues with your mate.  Instantly passing judgment on an idea is usually the death of open and honest debate between two people.

The thousands of successfully married couples we have interviewed report to us that they never felt invalidated by their spouse, that they always felt their arguments were heard, and that their opinions always mattered.  Learn the simple lessons of communication that these wonderful couples practice everyday of their lives together.

Simple things matter in love and marriage.

By America’s #1 Love and Marriage Experts
Dr. Charles D. Schmitz and Dr. Elizabeth A. Schmitz
For more marriage advice visit their website Simple Things Matter 

Secrets of Great Marriages from the Exotic Marigold Hotel

June 11, 2012

Love and Marriage Experts

If you are like us, you are sick and tired of all the debate about what constitutes a successful marriage or relationship.  Does it really matter what others think about OUR love, who we marry, or what makes us happy in life? Shouldn’t the real question be, “What does it take to sustain a loving relationship for a lifetime?”

Our point was driven home to us today when we saw the wonderful movie entitled, “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.”  In so many ways it answered the question of what it takes to sustain a loving relationship.  To say we loved the movie is an understatement!   The script was awesome, the acting superb, the movie-making gorgeous, and the story-telling most compelling.

The movie so well captured what it is like growing old, losing a spouse due to death, living in a bad marriage, making it work in a good one, falling in love, and capturing self-worth near the end of life.  Sometimes people find their way late in life and the movie illustrated all that so well.

What we were so impressed with in the end was how much the scriptwriter, Ol Parker, did his homework!  He understood life.  He understood what it means to grow old.  He understood what we have learned in our interviews around the world — there are, indeed, ingredients to all successful marriages and relationships — and he articulated them so well through her characters.

What was exceptional about this movie was the way the scriptwriter understood life and wrote about it in ways that exploded on the big screen.  We would highly recommend it.  We were mesmerized.  We laughed and cried a lot.  The movie touched our hearts.

The movie, based in India, reminded both of us of our time in Tangier and Casablanca interviewing successfully married couples two years ago.  A kaleidoscope of life was formed by the noise, the hustle-bustle, the incredible array of colors, and the smiles and passion for life that the people exhibited.  We were inspired then and again today when we watched the movie.

This movie reinforced what we have researched for 30+ years, written about in our books, and exposed in our many blogs – there are “seven core values of great marriages and loving relationships” present in all successful loving relationships around the world, and 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 then 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.  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.  You will be eligible to stay at the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel!

By America’s #1 Love and Marriage Experts
Dr. Charles D. Schmitz and Dr. Elizabeth A. Schmitz
For more marriage advice visit their website Simple Things Matter 

What Makes a Great Marriage in Paris?

April 25, 2012

ImageParis, France—the most romantic capitol of the world!  We are delighted to be here on another leg of our endless search for great marriages around the world.

As we all know, Paris is a very romantic city.  Honestly, how could the “City of Lights” not be romantic?  Walking the streets of Paris, riding a boat down the River Seine, and admiring at night the beauty of the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame, tells you all you need to know about love and romance! This place exudes romance!  And love!

Paris is unique among the great cities of the world.  It is breathtakingly beautiful; excitingly vibrant; amazingly romantic; stocked full of exciting world-class monuments and museums; historically significant; a culinary masterpiece; and wonderfully and tinglingly sensational in all its splendor.  Paris is, without a doubt, the “love capitol of the world.

So, what brings us here?  Simple, really.  We are here interviewing more successfully married couples for our fourth book about love and marriage around the world.

What we have found in our Paris interviews is this – marriage is alive and well in Paris, France!  You see it everywhere!  Couples of all ages holding hands as they walk down the street, kissing on street corners, romantically embraced waiting for a bus or the Metro, and gazing into each other’s eyes at a brasserie or a café.  The French people are a very loving and affectionate people.  They publicly and privately express their undying love for each other.  They do so unabashedly!

While romance is everywhere in France, it is important to understand the facts about love and marriage.  In 2012, the French average age for marriage of woman is about 28 and for men it is about 30.  The average birth of children to French woman occurs a little under the age of 30.

Current estimates are that co-habitation for up to two years prior to marriage occurs among French couples somewhere between 40% and 50% of the time.  The number of unmarried couples in France has increased four-fold in the last 20 or so years.  Only in Sweden is marriage less popular among Europeans, which might explain why over 40% of French children are born out of wedlock.

In terms of divorce, current estimates are that the divorce rate in France has increased by about 40% in the past decade, where more that one-third of marriages now end in divorce.

Contrary to the pronouncements of some of the popular media, people do, in fact, find someone to love and continue to get married in France.  Those who suggest otherwise are being disingenuous and ignorant of the facts.  Marriage is making a comeback according to those we interviewed on this trip!

Our favorite couple we interviewed on this trip lives near the Musee du Louvre, that great Paris art museum enjoyed by patrons from around the world.  What a splendid and magnificent place it is!  Its location on the famous and romantic Seine River makes it even more appealing.

Adelaide and Francois have been married for 15 years.  They have two beautiful children.  She is a school teacher and he is a financial analyst.  They recall so fondly the day they got married nearly 16 years ago.  It was a church wedding in what had already become a very secular country.  While neither is “religious” in the traditional sense of the word, both insisted that they have a traditional church wedding.  And yes, they did live together before they got married (a year)!  When asked if that strengthened their marriage, both replied that it didn’t necessarily.  They lived together only out of economic necessity as both were just out of college and they lived together to share expenses.

By their own words, Adelaide and Francois have had a wonderful marriage!  They have borne two beautiful children (a boy and a girl), achieved financial security because they both work outside the home, own their own home, and share the responsibilities of marriage equally.  They both reported that they “could not imagine life without each other” and look forward to a lifetime of marriage.

Clearly, Adelaide and Francois are happily married.  Our interview with them revealed that their marriage is nearly a perfect match to the “ideal couple” we have written about in our several books and our many blogs.

But here is the question-of-the-day – are Adelaide and Francois unique in France or are they typical?  Our answer – their marriage is typical of the great marriages we have discovered around the world.  And the truth is this – marriage in France is alive and well in 2012!

The most important lessons we have learned from our interviews in France are this – get married closer to 30 years old, don’t have children in the first year or two of marriage, have a job, have a post-high school education that leads to a trade or skill, and, beyond everything else, truly believe that your mate is the one for you before you decide to marry and settle down.  Get it right the first time!  The French example is the world example.  Success in marriage comes from those who wait until the time is right, and then act on it.

There was a time when young people in France thought it unnecessary to get married.  But the truth is this – those same young people have begun to realize that marriage to the one you love for a lifetime is a good thing.  We agree!

We always knew love was alive in France.  On this trip we discovered that marriage is as well.

By America’s #1 Love and Marriage Experts
Dr. Charles D. Schmitz and Dr. Elizabeth A. Schmitz
For more marriage advice visit their website Simple Things Matter

Does a Successful Marriage Come with a Guarantee?

January 10, 2012

As our loyal readers know, we have been researching successful marriage around the world for nearly three decades. In our travels throughout 47 countries in search of the best marriages we are often asked, “Are there ways to ensure that a marriage will succeed?” 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 for a lifetime if your profile closely resembles the 15 predictors of a successful marriage discovered as a result of our 30 years of research in 47 countries.

The “15 predictors of a successful marriage” are:

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. Experience and wisdom come with age.

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.

4. Do not have children in the first year of your marriage. 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. Bring children into the world when your marriage is ready for them.

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 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.

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. Being in love is never enough without friendship.

8. Always fight fair in your marriage. All married couples argue—the difference is how they argue. 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 the sense of “who you are” hurts your marriage.

10. 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 that every human being has a fundamental predisposition to be alone. Allow yourself time to be alone to your thoughts each day. Extending the same opportunity to your spouse will pay huge dividends for your marriage.

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!

13. Always show mutual respect and admiration for each other. The best marriages repeatedly engage in acts of kindness towards each other with no expectation of something in return. They work hard to understand each other’s needs and wants. But remember – these behaviors take daily practice!

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. There is no substitute for togetherness when it comes to a happily married couple.

15. Understand that all marriages go through seasons – much like the seasons of nature. Those marriages 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.

These predictors associated with the best marriages do not occur by accident or happenstance. Heed the advice and the odds are in your favor for a lifetime of marital happiness. Ignore the predictors and do so at your own peril. The choice is yours.

By America’s #1 Love and Marriage Experts
Dr. Charles D. Schmitz and Dr. Elizabeth A. Schmitz
For more marriage advice visit their website Simple Things Matter

Great Marriages Use Common Words and Phrases

July 3, 2011

Common Words in Great MarriageWe have been engaged in marriage research for nearly three decades around the world and have never been asked this question until our recent research trip to the Miami area – “Are there words or phrases you listen for when you interview the best marriages around the world?” This is a great question and we are delighted to share the answer with our thousands of loyal readers around the world.

The most successfully married couples (longevity plus measured happiness according to our marriage interview protocol) use specific words and phases as they talk about their relationship with each other.

Here are the words and phrases commonly used by happily married couples categorized into the seven pervasive characteristics of successful marriage from the 28 year study of marriage in 45 countries of the world:

1. Togetherness: In successful marriages, two become one in so many positive and important ways without losing their individual identities. The most important words and phases used by successfully married couples are: We, us, our, together, team, we are like one, we cannot imagine life without each other.

2. Truthfulness: In successful marriages, couples talk about anything and everything. There are no sacred cows – no secrets. In the best marriages you hear these words and phases: Confidant, complete trust, we never worry about betrayal, we know nearly everything about each other, we are the keepers of each other’s deepest and darkest secrets.

3. Respect: Successful love and marriage is about mutual love and respect. In the best marriages you hear these words and phrases: Mutual respect, admiration, kindness, politeness, we do nice things for each other with no expectation of something in return, we put each other’s needs first. Successfully married couples do all these things automatically.

4. Fitness: In successful marriages, to live until “death do us part” requires a mutual concern about good health. Here are the words and phrases they use: Health, fitness, exercise, vitamins, nutrition, salads, taking annual physical exams, take your medicine, we exercise together, we shop for food together!

5. Joint finances: In successful marriage, it is not YOUR money and MY money. It is OUR money. Here are the words and phrases they use: Our financial goals, our house, our bills, joint decision making, joint finances (no separate checking accounts), live within our means, we talk before we buy big items.

6. Tactile communication: In successful marriages, touching each other multiple times per day is the norm. Their mantra is, “I love you so much I must touch you.” They use these words and phrases: Warmth, caring, friendship, love, understanding, we love to hug, we have great sex, touching acknowledges your presence, our hands communicate loving messages, touching is our private Morse Code.

7. Surprise: Successful marriages are exciting, never boring, and full of unpredictable things. Boredom is not an option! The best marriages use words and phrases like: Variety, upending expectancies, fun, adventure, romance, passion, always finding something to do together, we never get bored with each other, we are each other’s best friends.

You see, the words and phrases you use tell a lot about your marriage. If you don’t hear these words and phrases in your marriage and relationship, it is clear you have some work to do. Get started today forming the habits that communicate love.

In love and marriage, simple words and phrases mean a lot!

By America’s #1 Love and Marriage Experts
Dr. Charles D. Schmitz and Dr. Elizabeth A. Schmitz
For more marriage advice visit their website Simple Things Matter

The “We” versus “Me” and “You” in great marriages

February 23, 2011

Great marriages require We versus You and MeOne of the key ingredients of a successful marriage is a feeling of togetherness – we are in this together and are stronger because of our relationship. While the importance of togetherness is easy to understand, for many couples it is difficult to put into practice in their relationship.

Happily married couples become one without losing the individual identities of each other. Their relationship is NOT focused on you and me, but rather it is all about WE!

Here are the three most important actions you can take to build togetherness as reported from our thousands of interviews with happily married couples:

1. Be the number one cheerleader for your spouse. Support your spouse in every way that you can. Let your partner know just how important they are to you and to the rest of the world. Perhaps the best help that you can give your spouse is to give them the confidence they need to become all that they can be in everything that they endeavor to do. Be your spouse’s strongest supporter. Become their cheerleader. Remember that when your spouse reaches the top of the mountain, you will be standing there with them.

2. Learn how to use comprise as part of daily living in your marriage. No one can have it all his or her way. We share the bed, the toothpaste, the car, the house, and the bills. While this sounds so simple, it can cause some unusual challenges as the two individuals in a marriage have to discuss and work out mutually agreeable arrangements for such minor issues as who uses the shower first and who takes out the trash, as well as major issues such as where to live, if children will be a part of the family, and what car to purchase. Discuss how the two of you will make decisions. When you share a marriage, you must learn the art of compromise—giving a little to gain a lot.

3. Carry the burdens of your marriage on four shoulders, not just two. Helpfulness should become such a matter of habit that you feel and act like a winning team. Both of you individually are good, but the two of you working together can be a dynamite team. The old saying that two heads are better than one is very true in a marriage. Ideas that the two of you generate can be better than most ideas generated alone. As you begin working together you will learn to sense when your spouse needs help, even when they do not ask for it. You will have a “sixth sense” that tells you when your spouse is in need. Sharing life’s burdens on four shoulders is certainly easier than on just two.

Successfully married couples report the importance they feel of always being able to count on their spouse for moral support when they are down in the dumps. This comes from the togetherness they have established in their everyday interactions with each other.

The Best Marriages – Together Alone

November 9, 2010

Love and Marriage Experts with Couple in LoveOver the past several days, we have been in sunny southern California conducting interviews with selected celebrities including a former priest and his wife and couples with very famous last names. Tomorrow, we tape a segment of the television show, Lifestyle Magazine. It has been a fun trip so far.

There are many recurring themes in the best marriages. These pervasive themes only begin with the “Seven Secrets.”

Over the past year – and including these interviews in California – we think we might have gleaned another “secret” about great marriages. Here’s what we are hearing.

When you pose this question to the best marriages around the world you hear very consistent answers – “If you had the choice of spending most of your time with another human being, whatever the circumstances, who would it be?” The answer is almost always the same! “My husband/wife!”

The most happily married couples we have interviewed tell us that they would rather spend time with their spouse than with any other living human being. And when given the choice of spending an evening with their spouse INCLUDING others, the happiest couples will tell you that hands down, they would rather spend it JUST with their spouse!

As a couple that has been married over 44 years, we almost always put what we learn from others in the context of our own marriage. And truthfully, our secret is out of the bag on this one! Given the choice of being just with each other or being with others, we always choose just each other.

Oh, sure, we have family, friends, and work associates we like to be with. Most happily married couples do. But the simple truth is this – given the choice, successfully married couples would rather be with just each other.

So what does this all mean? Does it mean there is an “8th Secret” for a successful marriage? Do we, the good doctors, need to rethink our message about great marriages around the world? Maybe so. Maybe so.

Couples who love each other deeply, who want to spend their lives with each other, and who cannot imagine life without their husband or wife, 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.

Being married to your soul mate is one of the greatest joys of life! Spending as much time with them as you can is icing on the cake. And with deference to your family, friends, and associates, the time you spend with each other is amongst the most precious highlights of your life.

Spend the time wisely.

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