Posts Tagged ‘great marriages’

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.

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.

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.

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

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

Positive Communication Can Strengthen Your Marriage

July 14, 2012

Communication in a Marriage, Marriage, Marriage Advice, Love and Marriage Experts, Marital Communications

The “heart of the matter” is this – successfully married couples report a high level of satisfaction with the way they communicate.  They talk about everything and anything with each other—there are “No Sacred Cows.”  Great couples attribute their marital success first and foremost to the fact that they have honed their communication skills over time.

So, what are the lessons we have learned over the past 30+ years of research from those couples that communicate effectively on just about every level?  As we poured over our interview notes from thousands of couples around the world, five important actions emerged.

1. Effective marital communication always begins with proper engagement and in a proper context. Talking about serious matters cannot occur effectively when dealing with chaos, such as a blaring television, crying baby, etc.

2. There is proper etiquette to follow in effective communication. Lower your voices, speak in a calm manner, make eye contact, listen intently and seek clarification if you don’t understand.  Refrain from blaming, accusing, calling names, making nasty remarks or getting defensive.

3. Discussions about serious issues must always begin with agreement about what the issues really are.  Work to identify the issue, establish the parameters of the discussion, and agree to solve the problem together.

4. A fruitful conversation about important matters always begins with the brainstorming of ideas.  It is important to get your respective ideas out on the table.  Talk about the relative strengths and weaknesses of each.  Agree on ideas worth exploring.

5. Never, we repeat, never be judgmental when debating issues with your mate.  Instantly passing judgment on an idea is usually the death of open and honest debate between two people.

The thousands of successfully married couples we have interviewed report to us that they never felt invalidated by their spouse, that they always felt their arguments were heard, and that their opinions always mattered.  Learn the simple lessons of communication that these wonderful couples practice everyday of their lives together.

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 

Secrets of Great Marriages from the Exotic Marigold Hotel

June 11, 2012

Love and Marriage Experts

If you are like us, you are sick and tired of all the debate about what constitutes a successful marriage or relationship.  Does it really matter what others think about OUR love, who we marry, or what makes us happy in life? Shouldn’t the real question be, “What does it take to sustain a loving relationship for a lifetime?”

Our point was driven home to us today when we saw the wonderful movie entitled, “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.”  In so many ways it answered the question of what it takes to sustain a loving relationship.  To say we loved the movie is an understatement!   The script was awesome, the acting superb, the movie-making gorgeous, and the story-telling most compelling.

The movie so well captured what it is like growing old, losing a spouse due to death, living in a bad marriage, making it work in a good one, falling in love, and capturing self-worth near the end of life.  Sometimes people find their way late in life and the movie illustrated all that so well.

What we were so impressed with in the end was how much the scriptwriter, Ol Parker, did his homework!  He understood life.  He understood what it means to grow old.  He understood what we have learned in our interviews around the world — there are, indeed, ingredients to all successful marriages and relationships — and he articulated them so well through her characters.

What was exceptional about this movie was the way the scriptwriter understood life and wrote about it in ways that exploded on the big screen.  We would highly recommend it.  We were mesmerized.  We laughed and cried a lot.  The movie touched our hearts.

The movie, based in India, reminded both of us of our time in Tangier and Casablanca interviewing successfully married couples two years ago.  A kaleidoscope of life was formed by the noise, the hustle-bustle, the incredible array of colors, and the smiles and passion for life that the people exhibited.  We were inspired then and again today when we watched the movie.

This movie reinforced what we have researched for 30+ years, written about in our books, and exposed in our many blogs – there are “seven core values of great marriages and loving relationships” present in all successful loving relationships around the world, and here they are in a nutshell:

1.  The couple in love is committed to always putting each other first in their relationship with each other.

The first thing you notice in all highly successful loving relationships is that those who purport to be in love recognize that their relationship is not about you and me, it is about US.  Discovering that YOU are not the center of the universe is the hallmark of a great relationship.  Actually putting another human being number one is a powerful indication that you are truly in love.

2.  The couple in love is committed to democracy in their relationship.

Always remember, successful loving relationships are egalitarian.  Namely, the best relationships understand that theirs is a shared relationship.  If one person has all the power and makes all the decisions, it is NOT love!  True love is a very democratic thing!

3.  The couple in love is committed to ensuring their mutual happiness.

Remember, true love is not just about ensuring your happiness.  More importantly, and often for the first time in your life, you actually enjoy and are motivated by ensuring the happiness of someone other than yourself.  It is a good feeling!

4.  The couple in love values absolute trustworthiness and integrity in their relationship with each other.

If you cannot trust the one you love, then it is not true love!  Trust us on that.  The most successful loving relationships report that they trust their mate unequivocally and without hesitation.  To violate that trust is to undermine and, ultimately destroy, the relationship with the one you say you love.

5.  The couple in love is committed to caring and unconditional love for each other.

When you truly love someone you do so without conditions.  It is not about loving you IF . . .    True love is unconditional.

6.  The couple in love is committed to being mutually respectful towards each other.

There is a Golden Rule in true love and it is like the one you learned early in your life – “Do unto others as you would have then do unto you.”  Do not expect to be treated with respect when you are disrespectful to the one you love.  Respectfulness is at the heart of all great loving relationships.

7.  The couple in love values their mutual sense of responsibility for each other.

People in love care for each other in ways that they have never cared for another.  They feel a sense of responsibility for another person that they have never felt before.  It feels so good to put another’s needs above your own.  To do so is to love deeply.

The Core Values of all successful loving relationships are at the heart of the matter.  If you and your mate master these values, your love will, in all probability, last a lifetime.  You will be eligible to stay at the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel!

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 

What Makes a Great Marriage in Paris?

April 25, 2012

ImageParis, France—the most romantic capitol of the world!  We are delighted to be here on another leg of our endless search for great marriages around the world.

As we all know, Paris is a very romantic city.  Honestly, how could the “City of Lights” not be romantic?  Walking the streets of Paris, riding a boat down the River Seine, and admiring at night the beauty of the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame, tells you all you need to know about love and romance! This place exudes romance!  And love!

Paris is unique among the great cities of the world.  It is breathtakingly beautiful; excitingly vibrant; amazingly romantic; stocked full of exciting world-class monuments and museums; historically significant; a culinary masterpiece; and wonderfully and tinglingly sensational in all its splendor.  Paris is, without a doubt, the “love capitol of the world.

So, what brings us here?  Simple, really.  We are here interviewing more successfully married couples for our fourth book about love and marriage around the world.

What we have found in our Paris interviews is this – marriage is alive and well in Paris, France!  You see it everywhere!  Couples of all ages holding hands as they walk down the street, kissing on street corners, romantically embraced waiting for a bus or the Metro, and gazing into each other’s eyes at a brasserie or a café.  The French people are a very loving and affectionate people.  They publicly and privately express their undying love for each other.  They do so unabashedly!

While romance is everywhere in France, it is important to understand the facts about love and marriage.  In 2012, the French average age for marriage of woman is about 28 and for men it is about 30.  The average birth of children to French woman occurs a little under the age of 30.

Current estimates are that co-habitation for up to two years prior to marriage occurs among French couples somewhere between 40% and 50% of the time.  The number of unmarried couples in France has increased four-fold in the last 20 or so years.  Only in Sweden is marriage less popular among Europeans, which might explain why over 40% of French children are born out of wedlock.

In terms of divorce, current estimates are that the divorce rate in France has increased by about 40% in the past decade, where more that one-third of marriages now end in divorce.

Contrary to the pronouncements of some of the popular media, people do, in fact, find someone to love and continue to get married in France.  Those who suggest otherwise are being disingenuous and ignorant of the facts.  Marriage is making a comeback according to those we interviewed on this trip!

Our favorite couple we interviewed on this trip lives near the Musee du Louvre, that great Paris art museum enjoyed by patrons from around the world.  What a splendid and magnificent place it is!  Its location on the famous and romantic Seine River makes it even more appealing.

Adelaide and Francois have been married for 15 years.  They have two beautiful children.  She is a school teacher and he is a financial analyst.  They recall so fondly the day they got married nearly 16 years ago.  It was a church wedding in what had already become a very secular country.  While neither is “religious” in the traditional sense of the word, both insisted that they have a traditional church wedding.  And yes, they did live together before they got married (a year)!  When asked if that strengthened their marriage, both replied that it didn’t necessarily.  They lived together only out of economic necessity as both were just out of college and they lived together to share expenses.

By their own words, Adelaide and Francois have had a wonderful marriage!  They have borne two beautiful children (a boy and a girl), achieved financial security because they both work outside the home, own their own home, and share the responsibilities of marriage equally.  They both reported that they “could not imagine life without each other” and look forward to a lifetime of marriage.

Clearly, Adelaide and Francois are happily married.  Our interview with them revealed that their marriage is nearly a perfect match to the “ideal couple” we have written about in our several books and our many blogs.

But here is the question-of-the-day – are Adelaide and Francois unique in France or are they typical?  Our answer – their marriage is typical of the great marriages we have discovered around the world.  And the truth is this – marriage in France is alive and well in 2012!

The most important lessons we have learned from our interviews in France are this – get married closer to 30 years old, don’t have children in the first year or two of marriage, have a job, have a post-high school education that leads to a trade or skill, and, beyond everything else, truly believe that your mate is the one for you before you decide to marry and settle down.  Get it right the first time!  The French example is the world example.  Success in marriage comes from those who wait until the time is right, and then act on it.

There was a time when young people in France thought it unnecessary to get married.  But the truth is this – those same young people have begun to realize that marriage to the one you love for a lifetime is a good thing.  We agree!

We always knew love was alive in France.  On this trip we discovered that marriage is as well.

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

Does a Successful Marriage Come with a Guarantee?

January 10, 2012

As our loyal readers know, we have been researching successful marriage around the world for nearly three decades. In our travels throughout 47 countries in search of the best marriages we are often asked, “Are there ways to ensure that a marriage will succeed?” The answer is of course, “no.” Life, love, and marriage do not come with absolute guarantees. Marriage does not come with a warranty.

Let us hasten to add, however, you can greatly increase the odds that your marriage will last for a lifetime if your profile closely resembles the 15 predictors of a successful marriage discovered as a result of our 30 years of research in 47 countries.

The “15 predictors of a successful marriage” are:

1. It stands to reason that you and the one you love must first pass the Marriage Quiz. If you can’t get out of the starting gate with a successful marriage, the rest doesn’t matter. Take the Quiz and if you both receive a score of 18 or higher on the Marriage Quiz, you have met the first pre-requisite of a successful marriage.

2. Wait until you are at least 25+ to get married. Couples who get married after the age of 25 are far more likely to stay married than those who get married sooner. Experience and wisdom come with age.

3. Have an income-producing job with stability before you get married. Here’s what we know, couples with annual incomes over $50,000 (vs. under $25,000) experience a drastically reduced risk of divorce.

4. Do not have children in the first year of your marriage. Nora Ephron once said, “Having children is like throwing a hand grenade into a marriage!” Children are wonderful, but they bring stress and challenges to a marital relationship, especially to a new marriage. Bring children into the world when your marriage is ready for them.

5. Being spiritual and/or religious is good for your marriage. Couples that consider themselves religious or spiritual (vs. not) are considerably less likely to get divorced. Faith and spirituality contribute to the sense of oneness felt by successfully married couples – a necessary prerequisite to a long and happy marriage.

6. Focus on getting an education that includes post-secondary training. College educated couples have a much less chance of divorce than those with only a high school diploma. Education almost always leads to enlightenment and understanding and more tolerance for the views of others – so critically important in successful marriages.

7. Make sure your spouse is your best friend. When someone asks you who your best friend is, the honest answer must be, “My spouse.” There is no other acceptable answer to this question. Being in love is never enough without friendship.

8. Always fight fair in your marriage. All married couples argue—the difference is how they argue. Arguing is healthy for a marriage. Just fight fair and never make your arguments personal and hurtful!

9. Never lose your individual identity or subjugate your individual strengths just because you got married. While in many ways “two becomes one” in the best marriages, losing the sense of “who you are” hurts your marriage.

10. Never engage in acts of infidelity. While some marriages survive infidelity, the overwhelming majority do not. Think long and hard about what you will lose before you engage in infidelity – before you violate the most sacred of marital trusts.

11. Always allow time to be alone – for both you and your spouse. We have learned over the past three decades of research that every human being has a fundamental predisposition to be alone. Allow yourself time to be alone to your thoughts each day. Extending the same opportunity to your spouse will pay huge dividends for your marriage.

12. Talk about anything and everything! Marriages thrive on open communication and honest discussion. The most successfully married couples we have interviewed around the world tell us that they have learned to communicate frequently, fairly, openly, and honestly. Mum is not the word in marriages that work!

13. Always show mutual respect and admiration for each other. The best marriages repeatedly engage in acts of kindness towards each other with no expectation of something in return. They work hard to understand each other’s needs and wants. But remember – these behaviors take daily practice!

14. The greatest joy in life for both you and your spouse is spending time with each other. If you do not feel this way, you do NOT fit the profile of the most happily and successfully married couples we have interviewed around the world. There is no substitute for togetherness when it comes to a happily married couple.

15. Understand that all marriages go through seasons – much like the seasons of nature. Those marriages that last over time started with the simple planting of a seed. The seed was nourished over time. Love grown with tender and loving care matures into fully-grown love that can withstand the tests of time.

These predictors associated with the best marriages do not occur by accident or happenstance. Heed the advice and the odds are in your favor for a lifetime of marital happiness. Ignore the predictors and do so at your own peril. The choice is yours.

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

Great Marriages Use Common Words and Phrases

July 3, 2011

Common Words in Great MarriageWe have been engaged in marriage research for nearly three decades around the world and have never been asked this question until our recent research trip to the Miami area – “Are there words or phrases you listen for when you interview the best marriages around the world?” This is a great question and we are delighted to share the answer with our thousands of loyal readers around the world.

The most successfully married couples (longevity plus measured happiness according to our marriage interview protocol) use specific words and phases as they talk about their relationship with each other.

Here are the words and phrases commonly used by happily married couples categorized into the seven pervasive characteristics of successful marriage from the 28 year study of marriage in 45 countries of the world:

1. Togetherness: In successful marriages, two become one in so many positive and important ways without losing their individual identities. The most important words and phases used by successfully married couples are: We, us, our, together, team, we are like one, we cannot imagine life without each other.

2. Truthfulness: In successful marriages, couples talk about anything and everything. There are no sacred cows – no secrets. In the best marriages you hear these words and phases: Confidant, complete trust, we never worry about betrayal, we know nearly everything about each other, we are the keepers of each other’s deepest and darkest secrets.

3. Respect: Successful love and marriage is about mutual love and respect. In the best marriages you hear these words and phrases: Mutual respect, admiration, kindness, politeness, we do nice things for each other with no expectation of something in return, we put each other’s needs first. Successfully married couples do all these things automatically.

4. Fitness: In successful marriages, to live until “death do us part” requires a mutual concern about good health. Here are the words and phrases they use: Health, fitness, exercise, vitamins, nutrition, salads, taking annual physical exams, take your medicine, we exercise together, we shop for food together!

5. Joint finances: In successful marriage, it is not YOUR money and MY money. It is OUR money. Here are the words and phrases they use: Our financial goals, our house, our bills, joint decision making, joint finances (no separate checking accounts), live within our means, we talk before we buy big items.

6. Tactile communication: In successful marriages, touching each other multiple times per day is the norm. Their mantra is, “I love you so much I must touch you.” They use these words and phrases: Warmth, caring, friendship, love, understanding, we love to hug, we have great sex, touching acknowledges your presence, our hands communicate loving messages, touching is our private Morse Code.

7. Surprise: Successful marriages are exciting, never boring, and full of unpredictable things. Boredom is not an option! The best marriages use words and phrases like: Variety, upending expectancies, fun, adventure, romance, passion, always finding something to do together, we never get bored with each other, we are each other’s best friends.

You see, the words and phrases you use tell a lot about your marriage. If you don’t hear these words and phrases in your marriage and relationship, it is clear you have some work to do. Get started today forming the habits that communicate love.

In love and marriage, simple words and phrases mean a lot!

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

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