Archive for the ‘New Relationships’ Category

Sometimes It Is Nice To Be Bi-Polar!

July 10, 2016

Polar Bear Mother and 3 Cubs

We did it!! We did it!! We have now interviewed successfully married couples in both The Arctic and The Antarctic! We guess you might call us “Bi-Polar!”

When we planted our feet on the continent of Antarctica three years ago, we became the FIRST marriage researchers in the world to interview successfully married couples on ALL SEVEN CONTINENTS of the world. And we want you to know that we are very proud of that accomplishment!

As our loyal readers know, we have been engaged in our “labor of love” for over 34 years.   We began our journey with this simple idea in mind – “Do great marriages around the world share common and pervasive characteristics.“

And now, after 34 years of research in all 50 states of the Union, in 53 countries, on all seven continents on Earth, and in ten Canadian Provinces, our answer to the previous question is, YES! They do, even in the most isolated places on the planet! We have now discovered this to be true in The Arctic as well!

Let us now digress before we zero in on what we’ve learned on these trips to The Arctic and to Antarctica.

First, understand that Antarctica has the coldest, windiest, driest, and harshest climate on Earth. Living and working there, even for short periods of time, is not for the faint of heart. Very few people stay on the Continent for more than six months at a time. It is very rare for a person to “winter-over” and work for a full continuous year on The Ice.

In the Austral summer as many as four thousand people (mostly scientists and support staff) are there. Cruise ships bring about 30,000 people a year to the continent, but almost exclusively during the Antarctic summer season (November-February), and few get to actually set foot on the continent.

Considering that there can be six months of sunlight and six months of daylight, depending on the season, living here for even a short period of time can have its psychological and biorhythm challenges. The isolation and distance of Antarctica from the rest of the world can have deleterious effects on the marriages and relationships of people who work there or in the continent’s environs.

There are many misconceptions about Antarctica. For example, is it a country? The answer is NO! Nobody owns the 7th Continent. Nobody!

One person asked us if they have nice hotels and places to eat? The answer is a resounding NO. There are no hotels. There are no restaurants.

Another person who learned of our trip asked us if there is much poverty in Antarctica. Again, the answer is a big NO. A citizen of the USA can only get there if they are scientists funded by the National Science Foundation; members of the US Air Force who have been assigned there (most all who go to Antarctica volunteer to go); people who volunteer to work there in support roles (cooks, mechanics, etc.); tourists; and those arriving on a tourist ship that are conducting research. The latter category includes us. We are marriage researchers and this is the only way could get to Antarctica to complete our research on successful marriages around the world.

Some final notes about Antarctica. There are NO cities or towns and NO permanent residents. Moreover, by treaty agreement, NO country in the world owns Antarctica!  Antarctica is NOT a country; it is a Continent, and an isolated one at that.

And last but not least, there are no roads, bridges, Interstate-type highways, cars or gas stations. Antarctica is unique amongst the world’s seven continents. Understanding this is an important first step towards gaining a perspective of the adventuresome spirit of the people who work and travel there.

It is important to note the major distinctions between The Arctic and The Antarctic.

First, The North Pole in The Arctic is an ocean (The Arctic Ocean)   surrounded by continents. Antarctica in the South is a continent surrounded by oceans (Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian). Big difference!!

During our trips to Antarctica and the Arctic, we interviewed a number of married couples (mostly scientists and expedition team members) to ascertain if the long periods of separation and isolation create unique and specific challenges to their marital relationship.  The good news, of those dozen people we interviewed on this trip, the most important finding is this – their marriages survive and thrive for the most part because they recognize that communication is at the heart of their relationship. Keeping in frequent touch with their spouse during long periods of separation is critical to sustaining their marital relationship.

Relatedly, the “tourists” traveling the National Geographic Explorer (the ship we sailed on going and coming from Antarctica and The Arctic) are explorers. Every person we talked to and/or interviewed, are folks who have traveled the world extensively. They love being together and find that their many journeys can actually strengthen their marital relationship. Moreover, many volunteered to us that these travels kept their marriages vibrant, exciting, and alive.

Secondly, we were interested in seeing if the “Seven Pervasive Characteristics of a Successful Marriage” that we have discovered in our worldwide search for great marriages around the world, apply to people who work in or travel to Antarctica and to The Arctic. While we expected to find some differences from the norm, we didn’t. Quite the contrary, our interviews reinforced the notion that great marriages around the world are driven by common themes.

In summary, here is what we have discovered on these trips to Antarctica and The Arctic. Successful marriage, love, and relationships all require simple acts. Simple gestures. Simple conversations. Success in love and marriage depends upon an accumulation of the doing the simple things to form the foundation for building a love that lasts.

The seven key ingredients that define a successful marriage are easy to understand, yet difficult for many couples to practice in their relationship.

  • Togetherness: Two become one without losing the individual identities of each other. In successful marriage it is not you and me, it is WE!
  • Truthfulness: Couples talk about anything and everything. In successful marriage there are no sacred cows and no secrets.
  • Respect: Couples understand that you do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Successful love and marriage is about mutual love and respect.
  • Fitness: Successfully married couples understand that taking care of only their only health is not sufficient. They must also promote the health of their spouse. To live until “death do us part” requires a mutual concern about good health.
  • Joint Finances: It is not YOUR money and MY money. In successful marriages, it is OUR money.
  • Tactile Communication: Touching each other multiple times per day is the norm. In successful marriage touching says, “I love you so much I simply must touch you.” Suprisingly, touch does not HAVE to include sex.
  • Surprise: Love is characterized by the notions of variety and spice. Successful marriage is exciting, never boring, and full of unpredictable things. Don’t always do that which is predictable. Upend expectancies. Variety is the spice of life!

It seems that successfully married couples around the world share much in common. After 34 years of wandering the Earth in search of great marriages we are more convinced of the truth of this notion than ever.

Whether it’s the top of the world, the bottom of the world, or all around the world, it is comforting to know that great marriages are possible.

Love well, whatever continent you live on, whatever country you call home, whatever Province or State you live in – love well even if you are “Bi-Polar.”

Those who are successfully married in the Arctic and the Antarctic share much in common.   Great marriages around the world are defined by common success variables even if they live at opposite ends of the world.

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


On the verge of having been married for 50 years, the Doctors give advice that you know you can trust.

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—the latest multiple award winning book by the Doctors.

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Living a Positive Life

May 7, 2016

By Charles D. Schmitz, Ph.D.

I just turned 70 years young less than three weeks ago! In a few months, my wife, Liz and I, will celebrate 50 years of successful marriage together. Our marriage is proof-positive that a small town Missouri boy can marry a California surfing girl and live happily every after! We have been blessed. We cannot imagine life without each other.

These milestones have caused me to increasingly reflect on the purpose of my life and its meaning.

Recent events in Our Town and across the USA have caused me to want to say something positive to help bring us together – dedicated to a better Saint Louis and to a better country for all of us.

And frankly, I am growing weary of all the negativism in the world today. There is so much to celebrate in life, yet our media, our citizens, our friends, and many others, feel the need to share news that is depressing – news that brings us down. News that is bad. But there is a better way.

Over time, the negativism takes a toll. But here’s the truth – it doesn’t have to be that way. There is hope!

I am at the point in my life where it is hard to imagine living anywhere else but the USA. I always get goose bumps thinking about the promise we hold in our collective and individual hands! Being part of this extraordinary national community is among the greatest joys and pleasures of my life.

As many of you know, Liz and I are passionate about our work, our people, and our community, particularly the Saint Louis community. The important work we engage in on a daily basis – here and around the world – and the many contributions we make, help the world become a better place, especially for families and children. The good we do as citizens in a free and democratic society will help determine the fate of the world. I know each of you understands the power for good you hold in your collective hands.

Your contributions today to your local community, the USA, and to the world community marks a significant accomplishment for you and those you love, and who love you. You will continue to head down the road of life. All that you have learned will serve you well.

However, I would like to remind you, your accomplishments might not be the most important things you take with you. Your life and the way you live it is your key to opening doors. But as you stand in the open doorway, you have a choice about how you will fill the room you face.

Each of you has the power to do something meaningful in affecting the lives of others. You have the power to bring goodness, justice and joy to children and families. To do these things will unquestionably bring the same to you. What a golden key you hold in your hands!

Link to find out how you can use your power to have a positive life

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


Having conducted research with happily married couples for over 35 years and been married themselves for 50 years, the Doctors give advice that you know you can trust.

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—the latest multiple award winning book by the Doctors.

Stop Thinking About Your Meaningful Life and Start Living It

January 12, 2016

Couple on bicycle in field

Live the lessons:  It matters how you live your life!

How you live your life matters! It matters to you and the ones you love.

Philosophers throughout history have provided guidance and theories about the importance of living worthwhile lives. But philosophers talk in vast generalities instead of providing helpful lessons that can be modeled.

After hearing yet another speaker philosophically expound about the importance of living a good life without providing any lessons, we were inspired to write this article about the “Ten Lessons of Life and Love.”  Always remember—inspiration often comes from those you disagree with.

We are pleased to share our “Ten Lessons About Life and Love” with you today. Here they are:

  1. Each day you wake up, remind yourself of your dreams and the dreams of the one you love. It is highly important to have dreams. Dreams remind you of what is important to you, what you value, and what you are motivated to strive for each and every day. A day without a dream is, for most people, a bad day.Charley’s life experience of growing up poor in a small rural farming community of central Missouri without, as his Mother used to say, “A pot to pee in or a window to throw it out of,” reminds us of the power of a dream! Frankly, we cannot imagine where our lives would be if we didn’t have dreams of achieving something far beyond what might have been imaginable to most kids growing up in small towns and in big cities.
  1. Seek happiness in your life. Make your happiness and the happiness of the one you love, a major life goal.As love and marriage researchers, we have interviewed thousands of successfully married couples in all 50 USA states, 50 countries, 9  Canadian Provinces, and on all Seven Continents of the world over these past 33+ years. All these marvelous couples want nothing more than to secure happiness.

    Happiness is, in fact, a goal for most people, as it should be. Being happy in life is the goal of rational people. Never forget that!

  1. Success in life and love has almost nothing to do with luck. Our love and marriage work together over these past three-plus decades suggests that there is no such thing as luck! Is education luck? Is the development of good moral character luck? Is working three jobs to provide for your family luck? Is marrying the right person luck? Is having a steady job that pays a livable wage luck?Our answer to these questions is a resounding, NO! To suggest that life is all about luck is to minimize all of the hard work done by folks day in and day out to secure a better future. We have a lot of faith in human beings to work hard to achieve the success they desire. Success has little to do with luck.
  1. Who you love and want to spend your life with defines who you are as a person. Making decisions about whom you want to love, marry, and spend your life with, speaks volumes about your personhood. Do not make these decisions lightly. People are always defined by what they love. Love well. Love the right person.Analyze very carefully your decision before you make it, but understand this—loving and marrying the right person might very well be the most important decision you will make in your life. Do not make this decision lightly.
  1. Good health is, for most people, the secret to a happy life. Let’s be clear, doing the things that are required for a healthy mind and body are prerequisites to healthy life and love.As we have written in several books, articles, and blogs over the years, one of the Seven Secrets of a Successful Marriage is this, “long-time successfully married couples care about each other’s health and do their best to promote good health in each other. They know that the way you emote, your level of anxiety, your productivity, and your ability to engage in a loving relationship, are all affected by what you put into your mouth (or do not!) and how you maintain the health of your body—both mentally and physically. Successfully married couples long ago recognized that you must manage your mind and mood through food, exercise, and healthy living.”
  1. Every day of your life engage in an act of kindness! Be nice to those you meet. Give a compliment or two. Over-tip the waitress or waiter. Wave a person at the supermarket through the cross walk in front of you. Let someone with a smaller cart of groceries go ahead of you in line. Return ugliness from someone with a smile and a “Have a nice day!”The simple truth is this—people are measured by how they react to adversity, how they react to those who are unkind. It is easy to engage in “road rage.” It is far harder to control yourself when offended, chastised, belittled, and treated unfairly. As the British might say, “Stiffen that upper-lip!” Or as our mother’s used to say, “It’s okay to turn the other cheek.”

    Life is full of confrontations between nice people and ugly people. Make it your goal to be a good person—a decent person—a nice person. Your life and the lives of those you love will be happier because of it.

  1. Always be open to diverse points of view. Always be willing to listen to and consider a point of view different from your own. Let’s face it, it’s easy to get angry when someone doesn’t agree with us. In modern America, it is increasingly difficult to have civil conversations.  Too many people’s mantra is, “My way or the highway.” Compromise is seemingly a thing of the past.As Charley’s mother used to say, “Life is too short!” What she meant should be clear—if you spend your life arguing about everything—if you spend your life rejecting outright the points of views of others—you will be a miserable human being. Try your best to talk less and listen more to others. It is impossible to hear the messages of others if you do all the talking.
  1. Don’t be a bully! The intimidation of others is a bad thing. Respecting those who have less power than you is a good thing. Don’t ever be guilty of shouting down another human being.  It should be clear—life and love is a lot more fun when you treat others with respect.Here’s the truth—if you don’t respect the opinions of the one you purport to love—if you shout down the opinions of others—if you try to bully others into submission—you will ultimately lose in the game of life. Trust us—nobody likes a bully!!
  1. Live your life as an inspiration to others. Be a positive role model—be a teacher. Great teachers inspire, they offer insights, they make us laugh and cry, they change our lives in meaningful and measurable ways, and they make us better people. We have spent over four decades each in our respective lives, being teachers.At the start of each day of your life dedicate yourself to being a person who wants to inspire others, who offers insights into life, who wants to help others, and who wants to share the knowledge they possess with others. Teachers care. You should care! Share your love, share your knowledge, share “things that matter” in life.
  1. Life is a journey—be engaged. Charley’s mother used to say, “If you woke up this morning you knew it was the start of a good day!” In many ways, life is like a baseball game. There is no clock. The game of life for the most part has no seasons.One inning of life leads to another and sometimes you win the game, sometimes you lose, sometimes you go into “extra innings.” No matter what the outcome, you play the game—for better or worse. In life and love it is important that you play the game—get involved—take advantage of each day of your life. Be engaged in life. Be engaged in love. There is nothing like it.

These are the lessons of life and love. Get engaged today. You won’t regret it.

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


On the verge of having been married for 50 years, the Doctors give advice that you know you can trust.

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—the latest multiple award winning book by the Doctors.

Is Your Dog Interfering With Your Relationship?

December 20, 2015

couple strolling in woods with dog

While dogs can enhance the relationships of successfully married couples, those four-legged friends can also interfere with a budding relationship that isn’t fully established. Here are four ways dogs can disrupt your happy relationship:

  1. A pooch can ruin your sex life. You love your pooch to pieces but when a 100-pound Golden Retriever wants to get in bed between you, it definitely hampers your romantic inclinations. Finding ways to train your dog to only enter your bed when you want him there goes a long way in solving this dilemma.
  1. You obsessively love your pooch. Doting on your dog and his needs instead of fostering your relationship interferes with building the deep bonds needed for a lasting love.
  1. Your dog may act jealous of your affection for each other. Avoid being overly concerned with the jealous reactions of your dog. Instead, encourage your love to lavish attention on your pooch, so your pet doesn’t feel slighted and looks forward to the extra attention that comes when your partner is with you.
  1. Your new love doesn’t like your dog. It becomes a definite problem if your mate starts picking on your dog by pushing or kicking your dog away and stating, “Get away from me, you’re messing up my pants.” Trying to have a serious lasting relationship with a non-dog lover can create enormous challenges. Remember, dogs have an intuitive sense about people. If your mate says he or she is a dog lover and your dog gurgles, continues to bark or growl, or hides, it’s important to take note. That action may truly be one of the best character references you’ll ever get!

Many dog owners in search of true love want to find a mate who is a dog lover as well. Pets can serve as important sources of social and emotional support, so it’s usually a deal breaker if the other person doesn’t like or get along with your dog.

It’s important to observe how your new love interest treats and talks to dogs that are not yours. A true dog lover will treat all dogs with respect and love, not just your dog because he or she wants to win you over!

May you find the love of your life, who also loves the dog in your life. If you do, your life will be greatly enhanced.

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


On the verge of having been married for 50 years, the Doctors give advice that you know you can trust.

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—the latest multiple award winning book by the Doctors.

Is Marriage The Answer To A Long And Happy Life?

August 29, 2015

Marriage Experts talk about Marriage and Long Life

A lengthy review of the current marriage research, including our own over 34 years of research, demonstrates that finding the right lifelong partner can be one of the smartest moves a person can make.

The top 5 reasons you might want to find a life mate:

  1. You will live longer if you get married. It is just that simple. One highly regarded study concluded that a man who is married lives an average of 10 years longer while a woman lives an average of 4 years longer than an unmarried person. What an incentive to find a mate for life!
  2. You will be happier and feel better about yourself if you are married. A multitude of studies demonstrate that married people report being happier and more balanced than unmarried people. People in stable relationship have higher levels of psychological health, including lower rates of mental illness, depression and schizophrenia than unmarried people. Research indicates that individuals in a marriage feel supported, saying that they always have someone they trust to confide in and to lean on in times of need.
  3. You will be healthier if you get married. The links between marriage and good physical health are overwhelming in a great number of research studies throughout the world since 1987. Married individuals have lower rates of serious illness and are less likely to die in hospitals than unmarried individuals. Numerous studies indicate that people who are married are less likely than unmarried persons to engage in risky behaviors including the use of drugs or alcohol because of their feelings of responsibility.
  4. You will have a greater income. Numerous studies found that a married person’s earnings are significantly greater than unmarried person’s earnings. Even taking all of the various possible factors into consideration including spousal earnings, the results of the vast majority of studies still demonstrate greater earnings for married individuals than for unmarried ones.
  5. You will have sex more often and enjoy it more. Married couples report a greater satisfaction with sex then their unmarried counterparts. Married couples also have sexual intimacy more often than unmarried couples.

A number of marriage researchers across the globe, including us, have suggested that divorce decrees should carry the warning label, “Not being married can be hazardous to your health.”

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

For more tips to enhance your relationship visit SimpleThingsMatter.com and get the best-selling and multiple award-winning book, Building a Love that Lasts.  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.

Stop! Don’t Marry Him

April 5, 2015
Don't Marry Him by American's Love and Marriage Experts

Don’t Marry Him

He seems like the perfect prince charming. But 7 warning signs tell you to STOP—You’ll NEVER change these 7 things about him.

You think you are totally in love with the guy. You even think he’s marriage material. He says all the right things, but over time … you begin to notice that his actions don’t match his words. He tells you that he respects you, but dismisses your opinions. He claims he wants a shared relationship, but then he makes all the decisions.

Sorry, ladies … these are the behaviors of a “loser.”

After more than 33 years of marriage research conducted around the world, we’ve learned that ignoring the warning signs of a loser comes at great risk to your health, happiness, and welfare. Heed the warning signs … before it’s too late.

Our favorite questions for a woman whose marriage has failed are: “Why? … What went wrong? Why do you think your marriage failed?” The answer is almost always the same: “I thought I could fix him.”

There is one truth you can take to the bank, and that is: you CANNOT change a man! Either accept him the way he is—warts and all—or move on.

Remember, personalities are well established by the early to late teen years (some even say by age 7). If you think you can change him, you are potentially setting yourself up for an unsatisfying and failed relationship.

The seven telltale behaviors that our marriage research reveals you cannot change or fix in the man you are thinking about marrying:

  1. His controlling behavior is a constant occurrence. We often hear women say to us, “He always wants control,” or, “If I want to go to movie X, he buys tickets for movie Y.” When your guy exhibits behaviors that telegraph he clearly wants complete control of your relationship, be very wary. A true loving relationship does not have bosses.

 Here is the link to the other six warning signs that say STOP don’t marry him!

For more tips to enhance your relationship visit SimpleThingsMatter.com and get the best-selling and multiple-award winning book Building a Love that Lasts. Available wherever books are sold.

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 – the latest multiple award winning book by the Doctors.

Marrying the Right Guy is Easier Than You Think

April 16, 2014

Marry the Right Guy by America's Love and Marriage Experts

Did you ever wonder why some women find the perfect guy to marry, do so, and enjoy a love affair that lasts a lifetime? Yet, some women marry a guy that is wrong for them now, wrong for them tomorrow, and wrong for them for a lifetime? What’s the difference? Why do some women succeed at love and marriage when others fail?

When it comes to love and marriage, there is a truism that trumps all truisms. It goes like this – pay close and careful attention to the words, deeds, and actions of the guy you think you are falling in love with. And in the end, pay most of your attention to his actions, first and foremost! The truth is a guy’s actions speak so much louder than his words.

One of the questions we are asked most often by women as we travel the world discussing our work and conducting our marriage interviews is this: “What are the secrets of a successful marriage?” Our immediate answer is always the same – marry the right guy in the first place!

On the surface this may seem like a flippant answer to such a serious question, but it isn’t really.   If a woman who thinks she is falling in love with a guy would pay more attention to his actions and not the words, she wouldn’t miss the telltale signs.

Here’s how it works. You think you love a guy. He tells you all of the right things. But over time you begin to notice that his actions belie his words. He tells you he respects you but dismisses your opinions. He waxes on about how he puts you on a pedestal but never opens the door for you when he gets to it first. He tells you how he wants the relationship between the two of you a shared relationship, and then he makes all the decisions. You get the idea. We could go on.

The point is this – if you fail to notice and question the actions of the one you purport to love in the early stages of your relationship then you are deluding yourself into thinking he will change later on. Guys rarely do. And so often, women who ignore the warning signs end up getting married, only to discover later on that the guy they married is not who they thought he was. All too often we hear a woman lament to us that if she had only paid attention to the telltale signs, she would not have married the person she married. Many of these relationships end in divorce.

We don’t mean to suggest that it is always easy to tell if the one you think you love is one you can have a successful marriage with. We do, however, believe strongly that you will know what to look for if you take the Marry the Right Guy Quiz and use the 33 indicators to predict a great husband included in How to Marry the Right Guy.

If you consciously and rationally believe that the words, deeds, and actions of the guy you are thinking of marrying are consistent and he passes all of 33 indicators predicting that he will be a successful husband, then your marriage has a great chance for success.

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.

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.

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