Posts Tagged ‘love’

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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Do Great Marriages Live A Perfect Life?

March 2, 2013

Perfect_marriage

Too often, people assume that those who have the most successful marriages live in some kind of la-la land – a perfect world – a place where everything is fair, just, and beautiful – a Nirvana land!  Here’s the truth – nothing could be further from the truth

We have constantly and relentlessly pursued this question in our interviews in 47 countries on all seven continents of the world – “Do the great marriages live a perfect life?”  And the answer is – absolutely NO!

From the thousands of successfully married couples we have interviewed there is a “most important lesson”  – even couples with the happiest marriages have experienced severe challenges to their relationship.  These couples have reported to us unimaginable challenges to their marriage.  Couples have shared with us stories about the death of children, financial burdens that nearly destroyed their relationship, the horrors of losing a job, the burdens of serious health issues, the pressures of child rearing problems and the destruction caused by a transfer to another city for a work assignment that neither of them wanted, to name only a few.

These are couples that have been happily and blissfully married for a long time.  These are the couples that know the secrets of a great marriage and a great relationship.  The best marriages, the best relationships we have ever witnessed or interviewed – have all reported to us a litany of the great challenges to their marriage throughout their years together.

Ah, but the truth is this – the best marriages report that the challenges to their marriage ACTUALLY strengthened their marriage and their relationship.

The essence of their story is this – “These challenges to our relationship actually made our relationship better!”

So what is the message here?  Like all of the most important messages about love and relationships we have learned, the important message is a simple one – challenges make you stronger.  And in the end, challenges – properly dealt with together as a team – will make your relationship stronger.

People who have gone through the wars of life together will always choose their mate in battle.  People who truly love each other will always say this to us – we are a team and we will always support each in our times of need.

The Good, the bad, and the ugly – dealing with challenges together is the heart of the best relationships.

Never, never assume that the best marriages live in some “Cinderella land.”  The best marriages have survived heart-wrenching challenges.  Never minimize what the best marriages and relationships have gone through.

The challenges they have experienced have made their relationship stronger.  Never underestimate the power of challenge to the establishment of a great relationship.

Creating a successful marriage is not always the easiest thing to do.  Your visiting our Simple Things Matter blog suggests you are highly interested in making your marriage work!  And truthfully, we have learned over 30 years of marriage research that there are proven effective ways to ensure a happy and healthy marriage.  In fact, we took hundreds of tips from the thousands of happy couples we interviewed and put their marriage advice into our award-winning and bestselling book, Building a Love that Lasts.

**Today, you can see how you stack up to the best marriages around the world. Take the Marriage Quiz to assess your chances of achieving a successful marriage of your own.

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

It Is NOT Enough To Just Be In Love

February 21, 2013
Love is not enough without friendship.

Best Friends

In our thousands of interviews with couples who have lived and worked on all of the world’s seven continents, we have heard the popular refrain over and over—”I love my partner.”  “I love my fiancée.”  “I love my spouse.”  I love, I love!    We admit it – people who say they are in love, probably are!   But is love enough to sustain the best relationships?

Is love enough to have a great marriage?  That is the most important question to ask yourself.

Here’s the rub – being IN love is easy.  It expresses an emotion common to those relationships that have transcended the millennia.  Being in love is central to the best marriages – to the best relationships between two people.  But being in love is NOT enough!

Here is what we know from our thousands of interviews with those who have had a successful and long-lasting relationship with another human being – no relationship has ever passed the test of time without friendship.

One of the questions of our interview protocol is this – “Who is your best friend?”  While we ask this question in every interview, there are two answers that stand out for us as to the importance of friendship in the best relationships.

We got our first most telling response in Rio de Janeiro.  After asking this question of the so-called “Best Couple in Rio” we got answers that drove home this point to us.   When we asked the most prominent physician in the magnificent city of Rio who his best friend was, he named TEN people and NONE was his wife of 37 years!

And it gets worse – when we asked his wife who her best friend was, she gave ten names and, like him, the list of names did not include her husband, the prominent physician she had been married to for the same 37 years!

Here’s another good example of our point.  When we interviewed a couple in Sydney, Australia a few years ago, as usual, we asked the same question – “Who is your best friend?”

To our surprise, both people in this so-called loving relationship, did not consider each other their best friend.  We probed and we probed, but alas, neither would admit that their spouse was their best friend.

The simple truth of the matter is this – these two couples professed to “love” each other, but they did not “like” each other.  They were clearly not best friends. In fact, when we asked clarifying questions, it became quite clear that neither couple had friendship within their respective relationships.

Make no mistake about it – loving someone is NOT enough.  If they are not your best friend, your relationship with them will not pass the test of time.  Your relationship with them can never be judged as a great success.

You see, the standard principle in the most successful relationships around the world is this – your partner IS your best friend!  There is no equivocation when it comes to this point.  Best friends provide each other total trust, loyalty, mutual respect, admiration, encouragement, support, caring, and much more.

If the one you love is not your best friend, your relationship is in serious trouble and, in all likelihood, will not become one of the lifelong love stories we have heard around the world on all seven continents.

So, we will ask you what we have asked every couple we have interviewed across the continents – is the one you purport to love really your best friend?  If they are not, you are not really in love for a lifetime .

In the best marriages and loving relationships, being best friends trumps everything else.  There are no if’s, and’s, or but’s about it.

Love well!  More importantly, like well!

Creating a successful marriage is not always the easiest thing to do. Your visiting our Simple Things Matter blog suggests you are highly interested in making your marriage work! And truthfully, we have learned over 30 years of marriage research that there are proven effective ways to ensure a happy and healthy marriage. In fact, we took hundreds of tips from the thousands of happy couples we interviewed and put them into our award-winning and bestselling book, Building a Love that Lasts.

**Today, you can see how you stack up to the best marriages around the world. Take the Marriage Quiz to assess your chances of achieving a successful marriage of your own.

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

 

What to say to the one you love

March 8, 2010

Couple talking for The Five Things You Should Say to Your Spouse by Love and Marriage ExpertsOver the years we have heard advice from thousands of successfully married couples regarding the five things you should say to your spouse everyday and the five things you should never say to your spouse!

First, the positive. The five things you should say to your spouse everyday:

1. I love you. These are the three favorite words of every spouse. It is a simple, direct, powerful, and highly meaningful statement. And don’t fall into the trap of so many couples who say, “Oh, I don’t need to tell him/her I love him/her. He/she knows I do. You still must still tell them multiple times each and every day.
2. I am so lucky to be married to you! If you want to touch the heartstrings of the one you love, tell them this. Just imagine, being reminded every day that you are a blessing to the one you share your life with.
3. You look beautiful (handsome)! There is a major truth we have learned over the years – successfully married couples really do find each other attractive. And you know why – because they look for the most positive characteristics in each other in both a psychological as well as a physical sense. Telling each other this daily is a powerful statement of love.
4. I would like your opinion about this or that. Successfully married couples have great admiration and respect for each other. They value each other’s opinions. Their most trusted advisor in life is their spouse. Ask their opinion and acknowledge their wisdom. They will love you for it.
5. And finally, everyday of your life with the one you love, point out one of their strengths. Try this – “Sweetheart, did I ever tell you how much I admire the positive way you treat others?” Or, “Honey, you have such wonderful taste in clothes!” Make sure the strength you highlight is a true strength, but each and every day, highlight one or more of the strengths of your soul-mate.

In our next blog we will give you the five things you should never say. If you can’t wait, here is a link to the Five Things You Should Never Say to Your Spouse

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

The Valentine’s Day Gift of Time

February 10, 2010

Love and Hearts on Valentine's Day by America's Love and Marriage ExpertsIn these tough economic times we think it is important to again remind folks that the best things in life are free.  To love, to be loved, and to give the gift of time is the best gift you can give to someone.  This is an especially important message on Valentine’s Day 2010.

Here are some ideas for saving your hard-earned money on Valentine’s Day and giving the most precious gift of all – your time:

* Share ideas for what you would like to do together in 2010.
* Write your lover a note with three things you admire most about him or her.
* Forget the $60 bouquet of roses – instead paint or draw a bouquet or write a love note to your lover.
* Read a romantic bedtime story to your lover.
* Shut off all electronics for Valentine’s Day – no phones, no cell phones, no computers, no PDA, no television – just the two of you.

Read the entire article to learn lots more ideas for a Gift of Time
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

Love by bullying never works

February 6, 2010

Love by bullying never worksDon’t you just hate bullies! They try to get what they want by bullying you, by intimidating you, and by making you feel inferior to them. If you are like us, this NEVER works! Yet, so many good folks succumb to the bully. And we wonder why?

So what is a bully? In the simplest terms, a bully is someone who can’t get what he/she wants through normal means. What they want is power. When you deny them that power they resort to forceful means to get what they want.

Here is how it works in love and marriage. One of the folks in the relationship wants something – be it a new car, a new apartment, a new dishwasher, or a new toy of some variety. The other person involved in the relationship does not. As you might guess, all heck breaks loose!

The “bully” in the relationship must get what he/she wants. So instead of acting rationally (i.e., Do we have enough money to pay for this?), the bully resorts to name-calling (i.e., You are always keeping me from buying things!”), intimidation (“If you don’t let me buy this I am walking out the door.”), or they resort to making you feel inferior (i.e., How could someone like you be so stupid?”).

If you are like most people, you would rather “have peace.” So in the interest of maintaining harmony in your relationship, you fall prey to the bullying – you give them what they want.

But here is the deal – this strategy never works! You give them what they want and they then do it to you again! You always succumb to their wishes. You always lose. Letting them win is a bad idea.

Read the entire article about why Love by Bullying Never Works
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

Someone to love

January 24, 2010

Life is fragile.  Life is uncertain.  Life is not forever.  Love today.  Hug someone tonight.  In love and life, there is nothing more important than having someone to love, and someone who loves you.

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

Actions speak louder than words

January 12, 2010

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 person you think you are falling in love with.  And in the end, pay most of your attention to their actions, first and foremost!  The truth is a person’s actions speak so much louder than their words.  Never lose sight of this truism for to do so is put your heart, your health, and your happiness at peril.
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