Status of Marriage and Family in Canada

September 6, 2014

Love and Marriage Experts Canada Marriage

Currently, we are in British Columbia interviewing happily and successfully married couples for our next book. Canada is a great place to fall in love! Canada is a great place to be in love! Canada is a great place to be married and have a family. Make no mistake about it, Canada is a great place for lovers.

This is our seventh trip to Canada to interview successfully married couples. To date, we have interviewed couples in nine of Canada’s ten Provinces, all 50 states in the USA, in 49 countries, and on all seven of the world’s continents. After spending several days in British Columbia around Vancouver and Victoria, we are struck with the beauty of Canada and the warmth of its people. We are also struck with the strength and quality of Canadian marriages and families!

First – the beauty of Vancouver. We sat in a wonderful restaurant for dinner today in Vancouver with a terrific view of Coal Harbor. The view of the water and mountains are undeniably beautiful! Seeing the mountains and the beautiful water, watching the sleek sailing boats, witnessing the many single engine planes taking off to give tours of the harbor, and all the while contemplating the awesomeness of it all, is humbling, to say the least. The mist on the mountains is, in many ways, more surreal than real. It has a mystical and magical look to it and almost felt dreamlike today as we admired it over a glass of a delightful Canadian Chardonnay from the Okanagan Valley.

The Seagulls were graceful and splendiferous as they squawked their way from outcropping to outcropping, from tree to tree, from boat to boat, and from dock to dock. These beautiful birds are wonderful creatures. Can you imagine an ocean without seagulls?   We can’t! Their squawking accentuates the beauty of the water. Ocean water and Seagulls – they go together like a hand and a glove. The Ocean and the Seagulls seem to particularly complement each other in Vancouver.

Secondly, the warmth and friendliness of the people of Vancouver is simply awesome. Everywhere we have gone so far – our hotel, the local restaurant we visited today, the airport, the rental car kiosk, a local wine store, the gas station – we are greeted by people who are polite, relaxed, good natured, humorous, and in love with life. We have been smitten by the Canadians of Vancouver! They are delightful and wonderful! 

Today we interviewed several delightful couples in Vancouver. Tomorrow we head to Victoria. Thursday, back to Vancouver, West Vancouver and Whistler. We finish our interviews on Friday near Squamish Valley, north of Vancouver. Here is what we have discovered so far – marriage is alive and well in Canada!

Recently, we reviewed a report written by the Department of Justice of the Government of Canada entitled Portraits of Families and Living Arrangements in Canada. We were particularly interested in the section of that report labeled “Family Demographics.”

The Canadian couples with successful marriages we have interviewed so far on this trip mirror the results of our interviews in the USA and around the world that we have conducted over the past 32+ years. Canadians still are engaging in traditional marriage in overwhelming numbers.

Here are pertinent “family” facts – in 2001 a little over 70% of Canadian “families” were headed by married couples. In 2006, that figure still hovered near 69%. In 2011 the number was 67%. While there has been a slight downward trend in families headed by married couples over the past decade, it is clear that married couples remain the dominant family structure in Canada. 

In addition, “common law couples” represented 14% of “families” in 2001 and a little over 15% in 2006. In 2011 – the most recent date for which trustworthy data are available – 67% of Canadian “families” were headed by married couples and “common law couples” who represented 16.7% of all census families.

Overall, nearly 85% of Canadian families are headed by couples – married (opposite and same sex) and common law. It is important to note that some 10-15% of Canadian children are living in single parent families.

Canadians should celebrate the fact that a couple-marriage is still something that some 85% of “family structures” in their country mirror. To suggest otherwise is to mislead the public into believing something that is not true. Marriage is alive and well in Canada and no “playing around with the data” is going to change that.

And, oh, yeah, romance is definitely in the air in Vancouver and the surrounding areas!

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.

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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

Eat Your Way To A Happy Marriage

April 26, 2014

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The couples we have interviewed around the world who have great marriages know the importance of being healthy in BOTH a physical AND mental sense. Research says you can eat, drink and exercise your way to a great marriage.

Unless you have been living in a hole for the past 50 years, you know that proper nutrition is essential for good PHYSICAL health. No one disputes this simple notion. Make no mistake about it – what we eat, drink, and otherwise ingest into our bodies has a significant effect on both our physical and mental health.

Why do so many believe that proper nutrition only applies to good physical health and not to good mental health? What could nutrition possibly have to do with good mental health and a great marriage? Plato said it best, “If the head and the body are to be well, you must begin by curing the soul.”

To learn what research says about how you can eat, drink and exercise your way to a great marriage

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.

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