Archive for the ‘Newlyweds’ 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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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.

Surprise! The Secret to a Happy Marriage – Alone Time

July 8, 2015

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Your partner needs space to grow as an individual.

Stop the presses! We’ve discovered the most important ingredient of a successful marriage! And do you know what it is? The answer is . . . (drum roll, please) . . . alone time!

Give your life’s partner the gift of privacy and aloneness with these six tips from happily married couples:

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. Available wherever books are sold.

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.

7 Tips To Make Love Last Forever

August 14, 2014

Love and Marriage Experts talk about Lasting Love
Falling in love is easy, but making love last takes hard work. A successful marriage is an accumulation of having done the simple things day in and day out to build a lasting love.

Yet, doing the simple things is difficult for many couples to put into practice in their everyday relationship. Here are 7 tips to build a lasting love:

1. Share life’s burdens. Carry the burdens of your relationship on four shoulders, not just two. Learn to sense when your partner needs help, even when he does not ask for it. Helpfulness should become such a matter of habit that you will feel and act like a winning team.

2. Be the number one cheerleader for your spouse. Be the number one cheerleader for the one you love. Support your lover in every way you can. Let your partner know just how important he or she is to you and to the rest of the world.

3. Compromise on a regular basis. Compromise is a part of daily living in a relationship. No one can have it all his or her way. Discuss how the two of you make decisions. Establish a plan to work through important issues until you both can find a mutually agreeable solution.

4. Talk opening about everything. Couples must talk about anything and everything. In successful marriage there are no sacred cows—no secrets. The same is true of your relationship right now. Build those communication skill between the two of you right early in your relationship.

5. Leave anger outside the bedroom. Never go to bed mad—talk it over first and settle things before sleeping. You may have one very long night before going to bed, but you will get the problem resolved. While this is the number one piece of advice from the thousands of happily married couples we have interviewed throughout the world, it is also true for your relationship right now. Don’t part ways angry. Solve the problem before you leave each other.

6. Use touching as your Morse code to make an exclamation mark of your love. Touch your loved one as you compliment what you really like about the way your lover looks. This little habit forces you to pay careful attention to the best qualities of the one you love.

7. Your marriage should be exciting, never be boring and be full of unpredictable things. Don’t always do that which is predictable. Upend expectancies. Variety is the spice of life. Bring that excitement into your relationship everyday.

Your marriage will be stronger if you both develop a habit of using these 7 actions. Great marriages require much work on a daily basis to build habits of positive interactions and mutual support, but the benefits you will gain from a lifetime of successful marriage are tremendous.

None of the successful couples we have interviewed throughout the world over the past 33 years have said that their relationship was easy and everything was always fine. They understood that the hard work they put into building their lasting love was totally worth it.

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

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.

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

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

 

Great Marriage Advice from Madonna

August 3, 2012
Madonna, Marriage Advice

Photo by David Shankbone

According to WENN News Madonna gave one piece of advice to the couple who got engaged during her recent Amsterdam concert.  Madonna’s advice was, “ Never go to bed angry.”  She just gave the couple the best advice possible. This is the same advice we have heard from thousands of successfully married couples who have lived on all seven continents of the world.

As many of our readers know, we have been researching successful marriages for more than 30 years.  We have interviewed thousands of successfully married couples in 47 countries of the world, learning a lot about what makes good marriages work.

Towards the end of our interview protocol we ask these wonderful couples if they could offer three pieces of advice that we could share with newlyweds.  And guess what, the number one piece of advice they have given, and it is has been consistent over three decades of research, is “Never go to bed mad at each other!”

Remember, this advice comes from thousands of happily married couples around the world.  The advice these couples give isn’t designed to shock the media with something unusual or out of the ordinary.  These are the words of couples with a proven track record.  Madonna had it exactly correct!

The good news about the notion of “Never go to bed made at each other” – it is based on research from those who would know best – those who have been happily, blissfully, and successfully married for 30-60 years!  It was delightful to hear Madonna giving a newly engaged couple exactly the right advice when many so called “experts” routinely miss the boat!

Married couples do, from time to time, have disagreements.  They argue over big things and little things.  They argue over stuff that doesn’t matter and stuff that does.  But here is what we have learned from 30 years of research – happily married couples rarely ever go to bed without resolving their differences on an issue, be it big or small.  Many report to us that they have stayed up all night trying to bring closure to an issue that has divided them.  They know that gaining resolution is far more important than getting a good night’s sleep.  And remember this, issues that are not attended to more often than not fester through the night and only appear worse in the morning.

It is good to know that Madonna, who has struggled with her marriages, has now learned the most important lesson of all – never go to be mad at each other!

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