Archive for the ‘Marriage’ Category

Loyalty – Do Women Test Their Man?

March 13, 2014

On a recent morning TV show a guest offered the following piece of “scientific fact” – “A woman will test the loyalty of her man each and every day!”  Oh, really?

As love and marriage experts for over three decades, we have NEVER had one single successfully married couple express this to us during our interviews.  Not one!  Where does this stuff come from?

In fact, we would offer that in successful love and marriage, the contrary perspective has much more credibility—those truly in love rarely, if ever, test their mates in this fashion.

The bookstore shelves are full of negative and inaccurate information about love and marriage, and what many counselors and psychologists learn about dysfunctional relationships in their private practice, often bears little relationship to the reality of successful relationships.

So what is the truth?  First of all, at the heart of a successful relationship is trust.  In Building a Love that Lasts, we have a chapter which reports our findings related to trust, honesty, and character in a successful marriage.  Over all the years we have been doing our research across cultures and continents (seven continents and 48 countries), we have never heard these couples talk about how they “test” each other “each and every day.”  In fact, the evidence we have collected would suggest just the opposite—they trust each other so much that they NEVER have to test their loyalty for each other!

Couple by river with flower

The sad truth is, many writers and so-called “love and marriage experts” are more interested in getting on television and radio with their crazy notions—so interested in making a name for themselves that they will say anything to support their perspective, irrespective of the truth.  It seems that being famous for some has become more important than reporting the truth.

Here is what we know—people who are truly in love and who are engaged in a successful and loving relationship, do not have to “test” each other.  They know that their love is total, honest, and complete.  They take their mutual love as a fait accompli. Their love for each other will stand the test of time.  Engaging in silly games about love is not their cup of tea.

By Dr. Charles and Dr. Elizabeth Schmitz
America’s #1 Love and Marriage Experts

Discover what happily married women know about what makes a man marriage material and learn other revealing truths in How to Marry the Right Guy.

**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.

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Top 5 Mistakes Newlyweds Can Avoid Making

January 15, 2014
Tips for newlyweds by America's #1 Love and Marriage Experts

Mistakes Newlyweds Make

Sometimes newlyweds make mistakes that could have been easily avoided.  But, so much of marriage advice today is too complicated, too pie-in-the-sky, and too out of touch with contemporary marriage.  In the end, the best advice we have learned over the years for newlyweds is like our recurring message – simple things matter in love and marriage!

As love and marriage experts, our research has revealed the top 5 mistakes newlyweds should NEVER make:

1.  Never go to bed mad at each other.  Going to bed angry is toxic!  This is the number one piece of advice from successfully married couples around the world. Don’t listen to the “so called experts” who say you can sleep on it and talk about it in the morning when you are calmer.  This is just NOT true!

2.  Don’t tally or keep score of wins and losses.  There are no winners and losers in a great marriage.  “Keeping score” or holding grudges is NOT OK. You shouldn’t cast blame when things go wrong.  Don’t be afraid to argue and debate an issue.  Just remember to fight fair and learn to argue effectively.

3.  Don’t mount up a “butt load” of debt when you first get married.  Wracking up too much debt is pure poison when it comes to your marriage. Keep the use of credit cards under control.  The single greatest cause of divorce and marital discourse is money.

4.  Don’t assume that marriage is fair, just, and beautiful all the time.  Just like life, marriage comes with its ups and downs.  If you go into marriage believing it will be like a Hollywood movie with roses, sunshine, and no responsibilities, you are in for a big disappointment.  Every successful marriage has to deal with setbacks.

5.  Never lie to your spouse or make promises you cannot keep.  Little white lies and broken promises erode the glue that holds marriages together.  Even small lies can form a habit of dishonesty in your relationship.  Trust is the foundation of any lasting relationship.

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

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

Marriage Is An Indicator Of A Successful Life

September 10, 2013

Love and Marriage Experts Talk About Marriage

From all of the available research we have reviewed about marriage and its benefits, the one benefit that stands out most is this—more and more people who get married are getting married “because marriage is a status symbol.”  As long-time love and marriage experts, we are most pleased by this research.

One of the many benefits of marriage is this—marriage has become an important indicator of a successful personal life in the United States and around the world!  Marriage is the single greatest contributor to social order on planet Earth and the most profound commitment to lasting love that exists. Those who question its importance ignore the facts.

Over the years we have seen a positive trend developing with the steadily declining divorce rate since its peak in 1981 and it is highly encouraging. The divorce rate is now at its lowest level since 1970.  The good news is more and more couples are committed to making their marriage work!  In a society that is often characterized as “a disposable society,” marriage has too many benefits to be routinely “disposed.”

After a lengthy review of the current research on the benefits of marriage, we have selected what we think are the top 10 reasons marriage is the greatest contributor to social order in the good old USA:

  1. You will live longer and be healthier.  The preponderance of evidence from research shows a relationship between longer life and being married.  The links between marriage and good physical health are overwhelming.
  2. You will experience higher levels of psychological health. Married people have lower rates of depression and schizophrenia than unmarried people.
  3. You will be happier.  Married people report being happier than unmarried people.
  4. You will be less likely to abuse drugs or alcohol.  Numerous studies indicate that married individuals are less likely than unmarried persons to engage in risky behaviors including the use of drugs or alcohol because of their feelings of responsibility.
  5. You will have a built-in support system.  Research indicates that individuals in a marriage feel supported, saying that they have someone to share their feelings and thoughts with.
  6. Your earnings will be greater and you will save more money.  Numerous studies found that married individuals have a significantly greater earnings than unmarried individuals even when all of the various possible factors are taken into consideration.  In the United States married individuals in their 50s and 60s have a net worth per person roughly twice that of other unmarried individuals.
  7. You will have sex more often and enjoy it more. Married couples also have sexual intimacy more often than unmarried couples and enjoy it more.
  8. Your children will be healthier, do better academically and have fewer emotional problems. Children living in families with married parents are more likely to have proper health care, better nutrition, less serious illnesses, better grades, better tests scores and less stress to deal with at home.
  9. More couples in the 18-34 age range will be headed to the altar over the next couple years!  Marriages have increased some 4% since 2009 and will continue to increase through at least 2015 and probably beyond.  After a downturn in marriage due to the USA economic downturn, marriage is now on the rebound, and that is good news.  The biggest increases are among women ages 25-34, college-educated, and the more affluent.  Marriages are declining or growing stagnant for those with a high school education or less and the poor and less affluent.  The good news is this – marriage thrives among those who get married at the “right time.”  Check out love and marriage articles to learn more about the “predictors of successful marriage.”
  10. Drum roll please . . . . number 12 is this – Marriage is now a status symbolIt appears from the available research that marriage is now regarded as an indicator of a successful personal life.  Marriage is now considered a “privileged position” in society.  According to “Hollingsworth v. Perry, marriage “confers a special validation of the relationship between two individuals and conveys a message to society that domestic partnerships or civil unions cannot match.”

When you consider what social science research tells us about the benefits of being married and what our research reveals about the importance of the seven characteristics of successful marriages, you have many powerful reasons to work hard Building a Love that Lasts with your spouse.

It is our profound belief, as love and marriage experts, that the value of marriage to the world will not change over the next 50 years.  Marriage is here to stay.

Trust us when we say this – the numbers tell us that the marriage rate per 1000 Americans will stay about the same or increase as the USA and world economy gets better, as it always has under similar circumstances for time immemorial.  Keep the faith!

**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

How to Fight Fair in a Marriage – 5 Tips from Love and Marriage Experts

May 21, 2013

Fight Fair by the Love and Marriage Experts

As love and marriage experts who have interviewed couples in 48 countries of the world, we know that fighting and arguing are just as much a part of marriage as sex.  It is a natural part of relating to another human being.  Learning how to fight fair and to make appropriate compromises will go a long way towards keeping a marriage strong.  Compromise is rarely ever 50/50.  Some days it is 90/10; some days it is 60/40; and some days it really is 50/50.

When a husband and wife argue, they are engaging in a perfectly normal and expected part of what it means to be married.  In fact, disagreement between two people in love is actually healthy for their relationship.  To argue or not argue is NOT the question!  The question should be, “How do we argue effectively and fairly?”

**Learn more tips from America’s Love and Marriage Experts

Our interviews with thousands of successfully married couples throughout the world have revealed 5 tips about how to fight fair in your marriage:

  1. Hold back the anger and hostility.  That means don’t shout or throw things or rant about the situation. Think about what you are going to say before the words actually come cascading out of your mouth.
  2. Fight without name-calling or ugly verbiage about your spouse.  Don’t let the argument degrade into a battle of personal insults.  It doesn’t address the issues and can do lasting damage to your relationship even.  You can’t take back your words!
  3. You are an adult, act like it.  Don’t have a temper tantrum!  Don’t just sit there looking mad without saying anything.  Engage in the conversation thinking about how together you can solve this problem as adults.
  4. Keep the argument centered on the issues at hand.  Don’t wander off topic.  Determine what the problem is, what issues need to be dealt with and what are the possible solutions.  If you focus on determining which solution would work best, it keeps you moving towards an end result.
  5. Don’t cast blame or hold grudges. It doesn’t matter whose fault it is or who is right or wrong.  You share the problems together and you have to share the solutions together. As soon as the issue has been resolved, forget it and move on.  The worst thing you can do is resurrect old battles and scars.  That means no gloating if you were right and no reminding him or her constantly about how mad you still are.  Couples with great marriages tell us that they have a short memory when it comes time to their past arguments.

Remember, it is perfectly okay to argue and debate with your spouse.  Better solutions are often arrived at when you engage in wholesome debate.  Learning how to argue effectively is critically important to a healthy marriage and to a healthy relationship.

Creating a successful marriage is not always the easiest thing to do.  Your visiting our love and marriage blog suggests you are highly interested in making your marriage work!  And truthfully, we have learned over more than 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

5 Ways To Stop Negativity In Your Marriage

May 15, 2013

Love and Marriage Experts talk about moving from negative to positive

Extreme demands are hitting us from every side in this fast paced society, causing negativity to take over our life and our marriage.

From over 30 years of love and marriage research with thousands of happily married couples around the world, we have discovered the techniques these great couples use to jolt their marriage out of a negative rut.  Here are the 5 ways you turn the negative atmosphere into a positive one in your marriage:

1.  Take an honest look at what YOU could do differently to improve your marriage.  Could you spend more time with your spouse, or take more interest in their hobbies, or stop pointing out their weaknesses or talk more openly about what is bothering you?

2.  Repair your spirit and your balance.  Take the steps to get healthy mentally and physically.  You can’t turn off the negativity when you are in an unhealthy state.  You need to heal yourself first.

3.  When dealing with a marital crisis avoid saying:

  • It’s your fault! Sometimes, a financial decision goes bad or your child gets in trouble at school.  Blame doesn’t work!
  • I told you so! These four words are rarely ever used in successful marriages.
  • Saying “I am upset with you about this or that . . .” in a public setting.
  • 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.
  • Ask for your spouse’s opinion and then do the opposite.

4.  Successful couples build positive interactions with each other on a daily basis.  Begin your interactions with positive comments.  Comment on something your spouse has done that was good, helpful or kind.  Notice the small things and make a nice comment about them.  If your spouse begins a conversation with a negative comment or is upset, don’t jump down their throat with a negative response.  Bite your tongue and wait to comment until you can turn your thoughts into a positive comment.  It is amazing how often an entire conversation can be changed with a positive comment.

5.  Appreciate what you have!  If you have good health, a place to live, or a job, you already have more than most people in the world.  Focus on the positives.  Talk openly about them.  Your happiness will begin putting the spark back in the relationship.

Remember, getting out of a negative spiral begins with one positive action, then another, until a habit of positive actions is built in your relationship.

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 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

Making A Commitment Is Hard For Some

March 16, 2013

Fear of Commitment in Love and Marriage by America's #1 Love and Marriage Experts

Falling in love with another human being is easy, but making a commitment to love them forever is difficult 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.

“Up in the Air” certainly reminds us all of the difficulty of making commitments when it comes to love.  And it illustrates once again how difficult it is to make honest commitments that last a lifetime.

Let’s face it; many people are afraid to make commitments when it comes to love and marriage!  Heck, we live in a disposable world – where it is easy to have “one night stands” and avoid commitment to those we fall in love with, if even for a night.

But you know what – lots of people do fall in love.  Lots of people make a commitment to “love through sickness and in health ‘til death do us part” – and mean it!   Most who make this commitment feel honor-bound by the commitments they make!  Lots of people fall in love for a lifetime.  Honestly, there is nothing unusual about that.

Here is the question of the day – why do some find it so hard to make a commitment to love?

The happily married couples we have interviewed on all seven of the world’s continents have shared many stories with us about their commitment to each other.  They have described how they formed a commitment to each other – how they decided once and for all how much they loved each other and how they would spend their lives together.  While some had trouble with the commitment issue, they found a way to get past it and enter into a fulfilling lifelong relationship with the one they love.

How does the fear of commitment manifest itself in real relationships?  What are the steps along the journey of a commitment to love? 

1.  It is not enough to be deeply loved, as you must reciprocate profound love as well before a lifetime of commitment can be made.  “Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage,” said Lao Tzu, a Chinese philosopher.  We think he has it right. Having strength without courage is much like the cowardly lion in the Wizard of Oz – only when he committed to being courageous could he use his strength effectively.  Successful marriage is a lot like that.

2. Friedrich Nietzsche once posited the notion that unhappy marriages are not caused by a lack of love, but by a lack of friendship.  Nothing truer has ever been spoken about successful marriage.  You see, the person you commit to must, first and foremost, be your best friend.  You cannot make a lifetime commitment to someone you only love.  Lifetime commitments are made to those we consider our best friends!  When we ask successfully married couples who their best friend is they almost always say the name of their spouse.

3.  If you wait to make a commitment until you have no doubts, it will never happen. One of our favorite quotes is by Rollo May.  When we were in graduate school studying the field of counseling we got a lot of exposure to him and we love most of what he has written, especially this – “The relationship between commitment and doubt is by no means an antagonistic one.  Commitment is healthiest when it is not without doubt but in spite of doubt.”  Simply stated, if you think there will ever be a moment in a budding relationship when you will say, “I have no doubts about him/her so I am willing to make the lifetime commitment” – well, forget it!  Not going to happen.  If you wait for that moment to come you will never make the commitment to love anyone for a lifetime.

4. Making a commitment to another human being for a lifetime also requires your resolve to make, an “unalterable decision,” as Alfred Adler says,  Adler goes on to say that “. . . real examples of love and real marriages . . . do not allow . . . men or women (to) contemplate an escape.  In none of the serious and important tasks of life do we arrange such a ‘getaway.’”  Someone who wants a successful marriage cannot promise a lifetime of commitment to someone they purport to love while plotting an escape at the same time.  A true commitment is unalterable!

5. And finally, remember this about commitment — it is NOT an on again, off again proposition.  Commitment to someone whom you love and consider your best friend can’t be here today and gone tomorrow.  In the best marriages there is a consistency to commitment.  Love and friendship can run hot and cold from time to time, but the commitment to the one you love must be an everyday thing.  Commitment is forever; it is not “up in the air.”

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 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

 

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

It Is NOT Enough To Just Be In Love

February 21, 2013
Love is not enough without friendship.

Best Friends

In our thousands of interviews with couples who have lived and worked on all of the world’s seven continents, we have heard the popular refrain over and over—”I love my partner.”  “I love my fiancée.”  “I love my spouse.”  I love, I love!    We admit it – people who say they are in love, probably are!   But is love enough to sustain the best relationships?

Is love enough to have a great marriage?  That is the most important question to ask yourself.

Here’s the rub – being IN love is easy.  It expresses an emotion common to those relationships that have transcended the millennia.  Being in love is central to the best marriages – to the best relationships between two people.  But being in love is NOT enough!

Here is what we know from our thousands of interviews with those who have had a successful and long-lasting relationship with another human being – no relationship has ever passed the test of time without friendship.

One of the questions of our interview protocol is this – “Who is your best friend?”  While we ask this question in every interview, there are two answers that stand out for us as to the importance of friendship in the best relationships.

We got our first most telling response in Rio de Janeiro.  After asking this question of the so-called “Best Couple in Rio” we got answers that drove home this point to us.   When we asked the most prominent physician in the magnificent city of Rio who his best friend was, he named TEN people and NONE was his wife of 37 years!

And it gets worse – when we asked his wife who her best friend was, she gave ten names and, like him, the list of names did not include her husband, the prominent physician she had been married to for the same 37 years!

Here’s another good example of our point.  When we interviewed a couple in Sydney, Australia a few years ago, as usual, we asked the same question – “Who is your best friend?”

To our surprise, both people in this so-called loving relationship, did not consider each other their best friend.  We probed and we probed, but alas, neither would admit that their spouse was their best friend.

The simple truth of the matter is this – these two couples professed to “love” each other, but they did not “like” each other.  They were clearly not best friends. In fact, when we asked clarifying questions, it became quite clear that neither couple had friendship within their respective relationships.

Make no mistake about it – loving someone is NOT enough.  If they are not your best friend, your relationship with them will not pass the test of time.  Your relationship with them can never be judged as a great success.

You see, the standard principle in the most successful relationships around the world is this – your partner IS your best friend!  There is no equivocation when it comes to this point.  Best friends provide each other total trust, loyalty, mutual respect, admiration, encouragement, support, caring, and much more.

If the one you love is not your best friend, your relationship is in serious trouble and, in all likelihood, will not become one of the lifelong love stories we have heard around the world on all seven continents.

So, we will ask you what we have asked every couple we have interviewed across the continents – is the one you purport to love really your best friend?  If they are not, you are not really in love for a lifetime .

In the best marriages and loving relationships, being best friends trumps everything else.  There are no if’s, and’s, or but’s about it.

Love well!  More importantly, like well!

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 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

 

Marriage: The Greatest Weapon Against Poverty

September 18, 2012

Marriage, Marriage Economics, Marriage Advantages, Marriage Advice, Love and Marriage Experts We have found in our 30+ years of research on successful marriage around the world that being married has huge economic advantages.  Doubters have challenged us to “prove it!”  The latest proof is in the just released special report by the Heritage Foundation entitled, Marriage: America’s Greatest Weapon Against Child Poverty.

Being married has tons of advantages – love, companionship, children, shared responsibility, financial stability, and the like.  But in the end, financial stability in the modern era may, in fact, drive almost everything else.  We know this – among the principle advantages of marriage, is shared financial stability – now and in the future.

Here are the facts.  The number one economic advantage of marriage is income!  According to recent data reported by the U.S. Census Bureau and by the Heritage Foundation, the 2009 poverty rate for single parents with children in the USA was “37.1 percent.”  The poverty “rate for married couples with children was “6.8 percent.”  The Heritage Report goes on to say that being “raised in a married family reduces a child’s probability of living in poverty by nearly 82%.”  Need we say more about being married and its positive impact on our children?

The sad reality is this – in 1964, more than 9 out of 10 children born in the USA were born to married parents.  In 2010 that number had dropped to 6 in 10 – a one-third drop.  If you wanted to know the single greatest cause of childhood poverty, look no further.

The terrible truth of the matter is this – the number of children born out of wedlock has increased to just over 40% in 2010.   And make no mistake about it, most of the births of our “out of wedlock” children have come to women who have a high school degree or less – those women who have the most difficult time going it alone in the world – those who are most likely to raise their children in poverty.

Here’s the bottom line:  the huge increases in child poverty are twofold – out of wedlock childbearing and increases in single parenthood.  According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, some 71% of poor families with children are not married.  So we ask this simple question – why would we continue to have children out of wedlock?   What favors are we doing for our children?  Why do we want to have children born in poverty?  Why would we not want our children to be born out of poverty and with a reasonable chance of success?

Here is one undeniable fact – children born of married women who have some level of education beyond high school are much more likely to be born out of poverty.  When it comes to child welfare, when it comes to combating poverty, get married!!

Now, on to another important fact in the battle for marriage.  Income, income, income!

According to recent statistics, more than HALF of single mother families have an annual income of less than $25,000 per year.  The median income for single mother families is also about $25,000.  But imagine this – the median family income for married couple families is nearly $78,000 – more than THREE TIMES the income of single mother families!

Unbelievably, 41% of single-mother families live in poverty compared to only 9% for married-couple families – FOUR times as many!  Moreover, 40% of single mothers are poor and nearly two-thirds of single mothers receive Food Stamps.

In the final analysis, married couples in the USA are no longer a majority according to the U.S. Census Bureau.  In our estimation, that is a sad situation.  This drop in marriage explains more than any other phenomenon, the substantial increases in child poverty and in the significant income disparity of married versus unmarried individuals.

In the end, the choice is yours.  Do you want your children to live in poverty?   Do you want to live in poverty yourself?  Do you like the income difference between being married or not?

Here’s the deal – we do not advocate marriage for the sake of marriage, for eliminating poverty, or to address income disparity.  We DO advocate marriage for the stability it provides our children, for the income stability it provides our families, and for the many positive opportunities marriage provides, in general, for all of us.

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