Posts Tagged ‘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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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.

You Can’t Have Life Without Someone To Share It With

October 1, 2015
Marriage Advice - find someone to love.

Don’t live alone. Find someone to love.

The best marriage advice we can offer after all these years of research and writing is this, DON’T GROW OLD BY YOURSELF! Life is too short to spend it alone.

The simple truth is this—growing old alone is a death sentence. Such a state is worse than having a dreaded disease. Trust us when we say this, being alone at the end of days is a fate worse than death. Here’s why.

Okay, we are madly in love after all these years! We have been married for over 49 years and we cannot imagine life without each other. We are each other’s constant companions and wouldn’t want it any other way!

But we must admit, we often think about “all the lonely people” who are, in their advanced age, all alone. They have no one with whom to share his or her days and nights with. Worse yet, no one to share their advancing age with.

On a recent trip to our neighborhood Starbuck’s we were struck by the number of people there who were by themselves. These weren’t old people with a dead spouse, they were people in their 20’s, 30’s, and 40’s who were accompanied by no one!  They sat by themselves sipping their latte, reading the newspaper or a book, or checking their email.

In all the times we have gone to this bustling coffee shop we noticed the same thing, but never did anything about it until today. We decided to follow up our experience by sharing our thoughts about seeing so many lonely and alone people in one space.

Is this the new America? Is this the way it’s going to be in the 21st Century? The answers to these questions are worth pursuing we think.

We begin by asking this simple question – why are there so many people spending their days alone? Is it our imagination or are we truly on to some profound changes going on in our society?

It is clear; the rate of those getting married in our society is declining. According to the University of Virginia study entitled The State of Our Unions 2010 marriage has been on the decline since the 1960’s.

For example, marriage today among white males and white females has dropped some 20% overall since the 60’s.

The marriage decline is even more pronounced for Black males during this same time frame where marriage is down 40% overall.

Even more dramatic is the marriage decline for Black women where marriage is down over 50% since the 1960’s.

Part of the aforementioned declines is due to people getting married at an older age than in the 1960’s. People getting married at the ages of 15, 16, 17, and 18 are much less prevalent in our society today than they were in 1960, and that fact is probably a good thing.

The significant declines in marriage among African-Americans and among the American middle class are the two most troubling declines. While getting married later in life is a good thing that has lead to higher success rates in marriage, not getting married at all is not good for people and not good for America. In Middle America and among the African-American community, marriage is in trouble!

These are the five major conclusions one can draw from the University of Virginia study:

  1. Marriage is an emerging dividing line between America’s moderately educated middle and those with college degrees.
  1. Marital quality is declining for the moderately educated middle but not for their highly educated peers.
  1. Divorce rates are up for moderately educated Americans, relative to those who are highly educated.
  1. The moderately educated middle is dramatically more likely than highly educated Americans to have children outside of marriage.
  1. The children of highly educated parents are now more likely than in the recent past to be living with their mother and father, while children with moderately educated parents are far less likely to be living with their mother and father.

Their most stunning summary statement of the report reads as follows:

“So the United States is increasingly a separate and unequal nation when it comes to the institution of marriage. Marriage is in danger of becoming a luxury good attainable only to those with the material and cultural means to grab hold of it. The marginalization of marriage in Middle America is especially worrisome, because this institution has long served the American experiment in democracy as an engine of the American Dream, a seedbed of virtue for children, and one of the few sources of social solidarity in a nation that otherwise prizes individual liberty.”

Just imagine—the most fundamental and central component of American society—the glue of our socialization process for the total of American history (and for nearly 6000 years of recorded world history) has been marriage. There has been no more important “glue” for the social structure of America than marriage. Any threat to the sanctity or importance of marriage between two people puts our society at risk.

In the end, we believe the University of Virginia should have added a 6th conclusion: There is great danger for the Republic when people in love choose to stay “single” and not make the commitment of love so prevalent in our history as a nation.

Don’t be fooled into thinking that the great social traditions of America will continue without marriage. Don’t think that spending most of your life without someone is good for you or good for America. Everybody needs somebody. Of that you can be sure.

Marriage between two people who love each other has been an enduring element in the success of America from the beginning of our great country. There are many reasons to support marriage as an institution, but perhaps the most important reason is this – you will not grow old by yourself – the most compelling reason of a

ll in our estimation.

In the end, it is of utmost importance to all of us to have someone who loves us, has our best interests at heart, commits to being our life’s companion, is our advocate, stays with us through thick and thin, and is there for us during the ending stages of our life.

We are reminded again of the lyrics from Neil Diamond’s 1972 song, Morningside, “The old man died. And no one cried. They simply turned away” (Prophet Music, Inc. (ASCAP)).

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

For more tips to enhance your relationship visit SimpleThingsMatter.com and get the best-selling and multiple award-winning book, Building a Love that Lasts.  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.

No one wants to grow old alone. We would dare say that most everyone wants someone to be their companion when they grow old. To cry for them when they die.

Don’t grow old by yourself. Find someone to love. Life is too short to spend it alone.

Is Marriage The Answer To A Long And Happy Life?

August 29, 2015

Marriage Experts talk about Marriage and Long Life

A lengthy review of the current marriage research, including our own over 34 years of research, demonstrates that finding the right lifelong partner can be one of the smartest moves a person can make.

The top 5 reasons you might want to find a life mate:

  1. You will live longer if you get married. It is just that simple. One highly regarded study concluded that a man who is married lives an average of 10 years longer while a woman lives an average of 4 years longer than an unmarried person. What an incentive to find a mate for life!
  2. You will be happier and feel better about yourself if you are married. A multitude of studies demonstrate that married people report being happier and more balanced than unmarried people. People in stable relationship have higher levels of psychological health, including lower rates of mental illness, depression and schizophrenia than unmarried people. Research indicates that individuals in a marriage feel supported, saying that they always have someone they trust to confide in and to lean on in times of need.
  3. You will be healthier if you get married. The links between marriage and good physical health are overwhelming in a great number of research studies throughout the world since 1987. Married individuals have lower rates of serious illness and are less likely to die in hospitals than unmarried individuals. Numerous studies indicate that people who are married are less likely than unmarried persons to engage in risky behaviors including the use of drugs or alcohol because of their feelings of responsibility.
  4. You will have a greater income. Numerous studies found that a married person’s earnings are significantly greater than unmarried person’s earnings. Even taking all of the various possible factors into consideration including spousal earnings, the results of the vast majority of studies still demonstrate greater earnings for married individuals than for unmarried ones.
  5. You will have sex more often and enjoy it more. Married couples report a greater satisfaction with sex then their unmarried counterparts. Married couples also have sexual intimacy more often than unmarried couples.

A number of marriage researchers across the globe, including us, have suggested that divorce decrees should carry the warning label, “Not being married can be hazardous to your health.”

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

For more tips to enhance your relationship visit SimpleThingsMatter.com and get the best-selling and multiple award-winning book, Building a Love that Lasts.  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.

Surprise! The Secret to a Happy Marriage – Alone Time

July 8, 2015

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Your partner needs space to grow as an individual.

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

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

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

For more tips to enhance your relationship visit SimpleThingsMatter.com and get the best-selling and multiple-award winning book Building a Love that Lasts. Available wherever books are sold.

Discover what happily married women know about what makes a man marriage material and learn other revealing truths in How to Marry the Right Guy – the latest multiple award winning book by the Doctors.

The Simple Test For Knowing If He Truly Loves You

February 3, 2015

Couple by river with flowerThe honest truth is this – there is a simple way you can know in your heart of hearts if your man truly loves you. Finding out if he loves you is not complicated and it is not an intellectual exercise. It can be answered by asking yourself seven simple questions.

And let’s face it, every woman wants to know if her man’s love is the real thing. Knowing the answer to that important question is critical to making future decisions about the relationship.

Here is the test of true love. Does your relationship measure up?

  1. Does he ALWAYS treat you with respect?If his respect for you is inconsistent or only occurs sparingly, your relationship cannot flourish. In love, you cannot pick and choose the time and place to be kind, considerate, and respectful. Being considerate and respectful one day and rude and inconsiderate the next is not an option. Your partner either is all of these things or he is not. It’s really that simple.
  2. Do his actions match his words?We all know the axiom “actions speak louder than words”. To know if he really loves you, you only need to observe his behavior. Does he talk to you with affection, care, and respect, but then bumps you out of the way when you order lunch or dinner? Does he tell you how much he loves you, but ignores you completely when you tell him what you would like to do that day?The truth is, actions really do speak louder than words! Never fool yourself into thinking that his actions don’t matter. Put simply—he IS what he does! Ignore this notion at your peril, because it is actually the best test of whether he is capable of really loving you.
  3. Are you an equal partner?When someone really loves you, they treat you as an equal partner—as a person with an equal voice (and equal value) in your relationship. If he makes all of the significant decisions in your relationship and expects you to follow his directives as a second-class citizen, then he does NOT really love you. In a successful marriage both partners share equally in the relationship.
  4. Can you trust him with your life and sacred honor?Can you honestly say, “I trust him more that life itself?” Is your trust in him unequivocal and honestly without hesitation? Bottom line—one of the underlying qualities of a great marriage is complete trust in each other. If you don’t trust your man without question, then you really need to reconsider any long-term relationship with him.
  5. Does he tell you he loves you?Does he do declare his love and adoration for you often and without prodding? Does his love for you come naturally and consistently? When you love someone, you tell them. And don’t fall for that old line that goes like this, “I don’t need to tell her I love her because she knows.” This notion is just plain wrong! You need to hear it (we all do). If he doesn’t tell you that he loves you, then your relationship has a problem.
  6. Can he imagine life without you?When you are in love, you cannot imagine life without the one you love! So try this question on him, “Honey, do you love me more than life itself? Can you imagine life without me?” If his answers make you wonder about the depth of his commitment to you, he doesn’t truly love you.After over 32 years of researching love and marriage throughout the world, one thing we know for sure is that someone in love cannot envision a life without their someone special. If your guy suggests otherwise, he is not the man you should commit your life to.
  7. Is he ALWAYS there for you?
    In the end, a man who really loves you will always be there for you through the good times and the bad, through thick and thin. Love has no conditions. A man deeply in love with a woman wants her when she is at her best or her worst. And being there for you is something he does in a way that makes you feel good (versus feeling guilty). He makes you excited about where your relationship is going. He raises you higher than you could ever be without him.You deserve true love. The measure of his love for you is always about consistency … in his words and behavior. If he really loves you, he will meet the Seven Tests of True Love. If he can’t pass this test, then you need to reconsider how true his love actually is. If he does pass the test, go hug that man (you’ve got a keeper!). Either way, know that a love you can trust and count on is the type of love you deserve.

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.

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.

7 Tips To Make Love Last Forever

August 14, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For more tips to enhance your relationship visit SimpleThingsMatter.com and get the best-selling and multiple-award winning book Building a Love that Lasts. Available wherever books are sold.

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

Loyalty – Do Women Test Their Man?

March 13, 2014

On a recent morning TV show a guest offered the following piece of “scientific fact” – “A woman will test the loyalty of her man each and every day!”  Oh, really?

As love and marriage experts for over three decades, we have NEVER had one single successfully married couple express this to us during our interviews.  Not one!  Where does this stuff come from?

In fact, we would offer that in successful love and marriage, the contrary perspective has much more credibility—those truly in love rarely, if ever, test their mates in this fashion.

The bookstore shelves are full of negative and inaccurate information about love and marriage, and what many counselors and psychologists learn about dysfunctional relationships in their private practice, often bears little relationship to the reality of successful relationships.

So what is the truth?  First of all, at the heart of a successful relationship is trust.  In Building a Love that Lasts, we have a chapter which reports our findings related to trust, honesty, and character in a successful marriage.  Over all the years we have been doing our research across cultures and continents (seven continents and 48 countries), we have never heard these couples talk about how they “test” each other “each and every day.”  In fact, the evidence we have collected would suggest just the opposite—they trust each other so much that they NEVER have to test their loyalty for each other!

Couple by river with flower

The sad truth is, many writers and so-called “love and marriage experts” are more interested in getting on television and radio with their crazy notions—so interested in making a name for themselves that they will say anything to support their perspective, irrespective of the truth.  It seems that being famous for some has become more important than reporting the truth.

Here is what we know—people who are truly in love and who are engaged in a successful and loving relationship, do not have to “test” each other.  They know that their love is total, honest, and complete.  They take their mutual love as a fait accompli. Their love for each other will stand the test of time.  Engaging in silly games about love is not their cup of tea.

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

Discover what happily married women know about what makes a man marriage material and learn other revealing truths in How to Marry the Right Guy.

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

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