Posts Tagged ‘great marriage’

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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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.

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

February 23, 2011

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

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

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

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

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

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

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