Posts Tagged ‘Successful Marriage’

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

How to Fight Fair in a Marriage – 5 Tips from Love and Marriage Experts

May 21, 2013

Fight Fair by the Love and Marriage Experts

As love and marriage experts who have interviewed couples in 48 countries of the world, we know that fighting and arguing are just as much a part of marriage as sex.  It is a natural part of relating to another human being.  Learning how to fight fair and to make appropriate compromises will go a long way towards keeping a marriage 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.

When a husband and wife argue, 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 argue effectively and fairly?”

**Learn more tips from America’s Love and Marriage Experts

Our interviews with thousands of successfully married couples throughout the world have revealed 5 tips about how to fight fair in your marriage:

  1. Hold back the anger and hostility.  That means don’t shout or throw things or rant about the situation. Think about what you are going to say before the words actually come cascading out of your mouth.
  2. Fight without 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 thinking about how together you can solve this problem as adults.
  4. Keep the argument centered 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 or hold grudges. It doesn’t matter whose fault it is or who is right or wrong.  You share the problems together and you have to share the solutions together. 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.

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.

Creating a successful marriage is not always the easiest thing to do.  Your visiting our love and marriage blog suggests you are highly interested in making your marriage work!  And truthfully, we have learned over more than 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

Do Great Marriages Live A Perfect Life?

March 2, 2013


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


Marriage: The Greatest Weapon Against Poverty

September 18, 2012

Marriage, Marriage Economics, Marriage Advantages, Marriage Advice, Love and Marriage Experts We have found in our 30+ years of research on successful marriage around the world that being married has huge economic advantages.  Doubters have challenged us to “prove it!”  The latest proof is in the just released special report by the Heritage Foundation entitled, Marriage: America’s Greatest Weapon Against Child Poverty.

Being married has tons of advantages – love, companionship, children, shared responsibility, financial stability, and the like.  But in the end, financial stability in the modern era may, in fact, drive almost everything else.  We know this – among the principle advantages of marriage, is shared financial stability – now and in the future.

Here are the facts.  The number one economic advantage of marriage is income!  According to recent data reported by the U.S. Census Bureau and by the Heritage Foundation, the 2009 poverty rate for single parents with children in the USA was “37.1 percent.”  The poverty “rate for married couples with children was “6.8 percent.”  The Heritage Report goes on to say that being “raised in a married family reduces a child’s probability of living in poverty by nearly 82%.”  Need we say more about being married and its positive impact on our children?

The sad reality is this – in 1964, more than 9 out of 10 children born in the USA were born to married parents.  In 2010 that number had dropped to 6 in 10 – a one-third drop.  If you wanted to know the single greatest cause of childhood poverty, look no further.

The terrible truth of the matter is this – the number of children born out of wedlock has increased to just over 40% in 2010.   And make no mistake about it, most of the births of our “out of wedlock” children have come to women who have a high school degree or less – those women who have the most difficult time going it alone in the world – those who are most likely to raise their children in poverty.

Here’s the bottom line:  the huge increases in child poverty are twofold – out of wedlock childbearing and increases in single parenthood.  According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, some 71% of poor families with children are not married.  So we ask this simple question – why would we continue to have children out of wedlock?   What favors are we doing for our children?  Why do we want to have children born in poverty?  Why would we not want our children to be born out of poverty and with a reasonable chance of success?

Here is one undeniable fact – children born of married women who have some level of education beyond high school are much more likely to be born out of poverty.  When it comes to child welfare, when it comes to combating poverty, get married!!

Now, on to another important fact in the battle for marriage.  Income, income, income!

According to recent statistics, more than HALF of single mother families have an annual income of less than $25,000 per year.  The median income for single mother families is also about $25,000.  But imagine this – the median family income for married couple families is nearly $78,000 – more than THREE TIMES the income of single mother families!

Unbelievably, 41% of single-mother families live in poverty compared to only 9% for married-couple families – FOUR times as many!  Moreover, 40% of single mothers are poor and nearly two-thirds of single mothers receive Food Stamps.

In the final analysis, married couples in the USA are no longer a majority according to the U.S. Census Bureau.  In our estimation, that is a sad situation.  This drop in marriage explains more than any other phenomenon, the substantial increases in child poverty and in the significant income disparity of married versus unmarried individuals.

In the end, the choice is yours.  Do you want your children to live in poverty?   Do you want to live in poverty yourself?  Do you like the income difference between being married or not?

Here’s the deal – we do not advocate marriage for the sake of marriage, for eliminating poverty, or to address income disparity.  We DO advocate marriage for the stability it provides our children, for the income stability it provides our families, and for the many positive opportunities marriage provides, in general, for all of us.

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

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

Positive Communication Can Strengthen Your Marriage

July 14, 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Simple things matter in love and marriage.

By America’s #1 Love and Marriage Experts
Dr. Charles D. Schmitz and Dr. Elizabeth A. Schmitz
For more marriage advice visit their website Simple Things Matter 

The Economics of a Good Marriage – Dealing with Finances

June 25, 2012

The best marriages can survive everything—including tough economic times.  In fact, the best marriages don’t blame, castigate, or chastise each other in tough economic times.  They work together to make ends meet and to prepare for tomorrow.

Balancing the family budget requires teamwork.  It requires common goals.  It most certainly requires family support.  People in love support each other through thick and thin – through tough financial times and uncertainty.

People in love don’t blame, castigate, or chastise each other in tough economic times.  They work together to make ends meet and to prepare for tomorrow.

There is a natural tendency in tough times to blame the one you love for your collective misfortune.  There is, sadly, the desire to find a scapegoat when times get tough.  There is, unfortunately, the need to find someone to blame when your economic fortunes go south.  But it doesn’t have to be that way because the truth is, there usually is no one to blame for your misfortune.

People in love don’t wallow in self-pity.  They grab “the bull by the horns” and work for solutions – recognizing that running a household is not easy.  Making a family work is, clearly, difficult even in the best of times.  But the unequivocal truth is this – if you don’t view your relationship as one requiring teamwork, all is lost.  If you don’t work together to address head-on the economic challenges of your relationship with each other, there is little hope of success.

Whether you lost your job due to downsizing or whether you had to take a pay cut to keep the job you have, always remember this, what sustains your relationship is being in love with someone you trust – someone you would trust with you love, your sacred honor, and with your life.

In summary, here are the seven most important actions you can take to deal with your financial issues together:

  1. Approach all financial problems as a team, setting goals for resolving your financial setbacks.  These are after all our problems not my problems and your problems. Agreeing on a course of action together provides the clarity of purpose necessary for finding a solution.
  2. Communicate openly about all financial issues in your relationship.  You are in this together.  Never make a major purchase without talking it over with your spouse and sleeping on it.  You would be surprised at the number of purchases you don’t make if you sleep on it!  Financial communication and sharing is the best insurance that you both agree on the purchase.  It prevents a serious fault finding session later, if the decision was a bad one from a financial point of view. 

3. Don’t run up a “butt load” of debt.  This is the number one cause of stress in marital relationships. Too much month at the end of each paycheck makes it tough to relax and enjoy life together.  Work out a budget together and stick to it.  Put off purchasing anything that you can until you save enough money to pay for it.

4.  Don’t blame each other if things go wrong.  The blame game doesn’t work in love and marriage.

5.  Don’t wallow in self-pity; it is a wasted emotion.  No financial problem has ever been solved by feeling sorry for yourself or your situation.  Climbing out of financial difficulties takes focus and a positive team approach.

6.  Take ACTION today to begin addressing your financial issues together.  When you are in love being the Lone Ranger doesn’t earn you bonus points.

7.  Celebrate each time you have a financial success such as paying off a credit card or finding a way to cut expenses.  Fiscal responsibility is a virtue.  Taking time to celebrate together creates the feeling that the next goal is even more achievable.

Times do occasionally get tough, but here’s the bottom line – if you have a loving and trusting relationship with someone, believe in that.  If you love someone completely, then understand that your true love will sustain you through the best of times, and the worst of times.

The financial difficulties you are experiencing will improve if you work together to find solutions and build a team approach to handling money matters in your 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

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