Posts Tagged ‘Relationship Advice’

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

 

Can You Change Him?

August 22, 2012

Marriage Advice from Love and Marriage Experts

Over the past three decades our favorite question for women whose marriage has failed is, “WHY?”  What went wrong?  Why do you think your marriage failed?

The answer we often get from our female respondents is this, “I thought I could fix him.”  We wish she had asked us about this issue before she decided she could change him into Mr. Right.

There is one truism you can take to the bank – YOU CANNOT CHANGE HIM!  Either accept him the way he is—warts and all—or move on.

Always remember, the personality of a human being is WELL established by their early to late teen years!  If you think you can change him, you are potentially setting yourself up for an unsatisfying and failed relationship . . . and often times, with dangerous consequences.

In our 30 years of interviews we have learned that there are seven telltale signs of relationships that will not work.  These are not habits such as burping after dinner, leaving messes around the house, or turning the music up too loud.  These are pervasive personality characteristics you cannot CHANGE or FIX.  These are character flaws.  Don’t be fooled and don’t be deluded into thinking you can make these attitudes and behaviors go away.  You can’t!

Here are the seven fatal personality characteristics to watch for:

1.  Controlling Behavior:  We often hear women say to us “He always wanted to be in charge.”  He wanted to “Have the last word.” “If I wanted to go to movie X, he would buy tickets for movie Y.”  He wants to control who you talk to, what you do and where you go. True loving relationships are characterized by adherence to “democracy” – a relationship where responsibility is shared.  Having someone “in charge” does not make for a healthy relationship.

2.  Condescending Attitude:  Here’s the deal – your guy is NOT your master, ladies!  You are not his slave. He is not more important than you and his attitudes and opinions do not trump yours. If he exhibits a condescending attitude towards you more than once a week, you might want to reconsider your relationship with him. If he acts like he is superior, it is time for you to move on!

3.  Narcissistic Behavior:  According to the Mayo Clinic, “Narcissistic personality disorder is a mental disorder in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance and a deep need for admiration. Those with narcissistic personality disorder believe that they’re superior to others and have little regard for other people’s feelings.”

Many women we have interviewed tell us that their so-called “partner” believes everything should be about him and that he has an insatiable need for admiration and self-aggrandizement.  If he thinks he is superior to you, you should demonstrate otherwise by walking away from your relationship with him.

4.  Bullying Tactics:  Let’s be honest here – nobody likes a bully. A bully wants to push you around. A bully wants to make you cower in his presence.  A bully is a termite.  He is always trying to get inside of you and weaken you.  He wants to eat away at your interior so he can control you.  So, we ask this simple question, “Does your mate bully you?”  If he does, it is time to walk away from your relationship.

5.  Manipulative Actions:  Here is a simple question for you to contemplate – does the one you love try to manipulate you?  Does he try to “pull your strings” as if you were a puppet?  Does he continuously find different ways to manipulate you – your actions, your feelings, your behaviors, and your aspirations?  Some men always want to steer you towards a conclusion they would have drawn, not one you would have drawn.  Beware of manipulation!

6.  Lack of Follow Through:  Okay, he promised you a rose garden, but never delivered!   He told you he would take you to dinner, but made excuses for why he do it.  He told you he would cut the grass, but didn’t.  The truth is, he told you he would do a lot of things.  In the end, he rarely ever follows through on his promises.  Heed the warnings – not following through is a warning sign that you should pay close and careful attention to.

7.  Cannot be Trusted:  We have found over the years that the best marriages have at their core – TRUST!  If you have caught the man you think you love in lies—even little lies—be very cautious.  Brushing it off as no big deal can have major consequences.  If he talks about how he doesn’t have to be truthful with his friends or family members in certain circumstances, be very cautious.  If he can lie to a friend or family member, he will lie to you. If you can’t trust him, move on.  If you stay, you do so at your peril.

Here is the most important lesson of all – if he is flawed, if his actions and behaviors correspond to the aforementioned, you have to understand that you can’t fix him!  If he demonstrates any of these pervasive personality characteristics, he is impossible to change.  If you want to flail away at windmills, go ahead and believe that you can change him.  But in the end, you will be terribly disappointed.

His actions do, in fact, trump his words.  Always remember the age old adage, “Actions speak louder than words.”

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 Marriage Advice from Madonna

August 3, 2012
Madonna, Marriage Advice

Photo by David Shankbone

According to WENN News Madonna gave one piece of advice to the couple who got engaged during her recent Amsterdam concert.  Madonna’s advice was, “ Never go to bed angry.”  She just gave the couple the best advice possible. This is the same advice we have heard from thousands of successfully married couples who have lived on all seven continents of the world.

As many of our readers know, we have been researching successful marriages for more than 30 years.  We have interviewed thousands of successfully married couples in 47 countries of the world, learning a lot about what makes good marriages work.

Towards the end of our interview protocol we ask these wonderful couples if they could offer three pieces of advice that we could share with newlyweds.  And guess what, the number one piece of advice they have given, and it is has been consistent over three decades of research, is “Never go to bed mad at each other!”

Remember, this advice comes from thousands of happily married couples around the world.  The advice these couples give isn’t designed to shock the media with something unusual or out of the ordinary.  These are the words of couples with a proven track record.  Madonna had it exactly correct!

The good news about the notion of “Never go to bed made at each other” – it is based on research from those who would know best – those who have been happily, blissfully, and successfully married for 30-60 years!  It was delightful to hear Madonna giving a newly engaged couple exactly the right advice when many so called “experts” routinely miss the boat!

Married couples do, from time to time, have disagreements.  They argue over big things and little things.  They argue over stuff that doesn’t matter and stuff that does.  But here is what we have learned from 30 years of research – happily married couples rarely ever go to bed without resolving their differences on an issue, be it big or small.  Many report to us that they have stayed up all night trying to bring closure to an issue that has divided them.  They know that gaining resolution is far more important than getting a good night’s sleep.  And remember this, issues that are not attended to more often than not fester through the night and only appear worse in the morning.

It is good to know that Madonna, who has struggled with her marriages, has now learned the most important lesson of all – never go to be mad at each other!

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

Marriage Advice TV – Positive Communication is the Elixir of Love

July 8, 2012

Marital Communications

Enjoy our latest short Marriage Advice TV episode called Positive Communication is the Elixir of Love.  We have heard advice from thousands of happily married couples around the world regarding the important things you should say to your spouse everyday. Here are the five most important things to say to your spouse everyday.

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 

Marriage Advice TV – Exotic Marigold Hotel Secrets of Marriage and Relationships

June 11, 2012

Enjoy our latest Marriage Advice TV episode called Exotic Marigold Hotel Secrets of Marriage and Relationships.  The Exotic Marigold Hotel 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.

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

Myths and Truths About Marriage

September 16, 2011

Myths and Truths About Marriage
Improving your chances for success can be as easy as understanding the difference between myths and truths about marriage. For example, it is a fact that if you get married before the age of 24 in the USA, you have a MUCH higher chance of getting divorced than those who get married at 25 and beyond. In fact, the divorce rate for those getting married after the age of 25 is only about 30% — less than half the 65% divorce rate for those getting married before the age of 24!

The facts about marriage reveal that people who get married older, who have higher education levels, who do not have children when they get married, and who marry someone of their general social class, have a much higher chance of marital success than those who do not meet these thresholds. In the end, what really matters are the ”truths” about marriage, not the mythologies about marriage.

Here are our Top Ten Myths about Marriage in America based on our nearly three decades of marriage research in 46 countries and on six of the world’s seven continents.

MYTH 1 – Married couples have sex lives that are less satisfying than those who are not married. REALITY – Not true! In fact, the research evidence supports the opposite conclusion– those who are married have far better sex lives and enjoy it more than those who are not married. There is no debate in reputable circles about this fact!

MYTH 2 – Cohabitation works as well as marriage. REALITY – Those who cohabitate are not as committed to their relationship as those who are married. In fact, those who cohabitate before marriage have a significantly higher divorce rate when married than those who have not cohabitated!

MYTH 3 – Married women have a higher risk of domestic violence in their marriage than unmarried women. REALITY – Simply not true!! In fact, women who are married have a far LESS chance of being abused than those who cohabitate without being married.

MYTH 4 – Marriage can survive infidelity. REALITY – While some marriages do in fact survive infidelity, the overwhelming majority do not. Think long and hard about what you will lose before you engage in infidelity.

MYTH 5 – The more educated a women is the less likely she is to get married. REALITY – There is no basis in fact for this mythology. In fact, college educated women are more likely to get married than their less educated counterparts.

MYTH 6 – Bringing children into a marriage strengthens the marriage. REALITY – 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. Be prepared for the ups and downs!
.
MYTH 7 – When you get married you lose your individual identity for the benefit of the oneness of your marriage. REALITY – Nothing could be further from the truth. In the best marriages neither spouse loses their individual identity or subjugates their individual strengths.

MYTH 8 – The one you are married to does not have to be your best friend. REALITY – Our three decades of research across cultures and continents reveals the opposite. In fact, the most successfully married couples report to us in our interviews with them that their best friend in life IS their spouse.

MYTH 9 – There are no particular advantages to being married. REALITY – In our own research and in the research of others, there are clear advantages and benefits to being married including living longer, being healthier, and accumulating more wealth. The health benefits accrue more to men and the financial benefits more to wives.

MYTH 10 – The most successfully married couples don’t argue. REALITY – Simply not true! In fact, all couples argue – those married successfully and those who are not. The difference is how they argue. The best marriages fight fair. If you decide to submerge your feelings, let the anger fester, and go to bed mad at each other – well, you are heading down a path that could ultimately lead to the destruction of your marriage. Arguing is healthy for a marriage. Just fight fair!

The truth of the matter is this – the best marriages survive and thrive – many for a lifetime. And those successful marriages know the differences between truth and mythology. They practice truth and ignore the myths.

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

How to Fight Fair in a Marriage

July 11, 2011

Couple Fighting“Is fighting in a marriage alright?” This is the question we are often asked. The simple answer is, “Yes!” When a husband and wife fight, they are engaging in a perfectly normal and expected part of what it means to be married. In fact, disagreement between two people in love is actually healthy for their relationship. To argue or not argue is NOT the question! The question should be, “How do we fight fairly and effectively?”

Learning how to fight fair and to make appropriate compromises will go a long way towards keeping a relationship strong. Compromise is rarely ever 50/50. Some days it is 90/10; some days it is 60/40; and some days it really is 50/50.

The truth is, compromise is part of what marriage is all about. Whether it is what to make for dinner, where to live or what color to paint the living room, the two of you have to make the decisions together that both of you can support after the decision is made. Sometimes arguments can actually – pardon the pun – get to the heart of the matter.

Fighting and arguing are just as much a part of marriage as sex. It is a natural part of relating to another human being.

Over the years, our thousands of interviews with successfully married couples around the world have revealed seven ways to fight fair and they are:

1. Fight in a calm manner. That means don’t shout or throw things or rant about the situation. Don’t take a position of anger or hostility. Think about what you are going to say before it actually comes flowing out of your mouth.

2. No name-calling or ugly verbiage about your spouse. Don’t let the argument degrade into a battle of personal insults. It doesn’t address the issues and can do lasting damage to your relationship even. You can’t take back your words!

3. You are an adult, act like it. Don’t have a temper tantrum! Don’t just sit there looking mad without saying anything. Engage in the conversation with the thought of how can we solve this problem together as adults.

4. Keep the argument logical and focused on the issues at hand. Don’t wander off topic. Determine what the problem is, what issues need to be dealt with and what are the possible solutions. If you focus on determining which solution would work best, it keeps you moving towards an end result.

5. Don’t cast blame. It doesn’t matter who is right or wrong. It doesn’t matter whose fault it is. You share the problems together and you have to share the solutions together. What you discover is that when you can arrive at a solution by working as a team, the two of you can tackle anything that comes your way.

6. Don’t hold grudges. As soon as the issue has been resolved, forget it and move on. The worst thing you can do is resurrect old battles and scars. That means no gloating if you were right and no reminding him or her constantly about how mad you still are. Couples with great marriages tell us that they have a short memory when it comes time to their past arguments. That is the way it should be.

7. As we have said many times before, NEVER go to bed mad at each other. Settle your fight before you go to bed, no matter how long it takes. You can defer the ultimate decision on an issue until further discussion the next day, but you can’t go to bed mad at each other! This is the number one piece of advice given to us by the thousands of happily married couples that we have interview over the past 30 years around the world.

Remember, it is perfectly okay to argue and debate with your spouse. Better solutions are often arrived at when you engage in wholesome debate. Learning how to argue effectively is critically important to a healthy marriage and to a healthy relationship.

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

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

February 23, 2011

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

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

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

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

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

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

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