1
February
2010

This morning we had a delightful radio interview with a Pennsylvania radio station about our research on successful marriage. We have done a ton of these interviews since our book Golden Anniversaries: The Seven Secrets of a Successful Marriage came out earlier this year, and we enjoyed them immensely.

It is always a pleasure to share the “secrets” of successful marriage with our interviewer and his or her audience. Sometimes we answer questions from the listeners, sometimes just from the host of the show, and at times from both. In this business, you learn pretty quickly to talk on your feet as the questions often come rapid-fire, many of them are questions you’ve never heard before, and the time to answer them is usually quite short.

Fortunately, over time we have developed the “gift of gab.” And, because we know our subject quite well based on our 26 years of research on successful marriage, most of our answers are easily retrievable from wherever it is stored in our respective brains!

This morning we got a question we have gotten before in some form or another, but not as directly or succinctly as the host asked it. His question – “When am I ready to get married?”

Over the years we have written about “How will I know I am in love?” We have waxed on about “the core values of successful marriage.” And more often than we can remember, we have encouraged those in love to take our scientifically based marriage quiz to determine their “marriage compatibility.” But the truth is, we have never directly addressed this important question. So today, we will do our best to share with you what we believe to be the answer to the question, “When am I ready to get married?”

First of all, the foundation of any successful marriage is love. Oh, sure, there are marriages of convenience, marriages based on religious or cultural customs (i.e., others determine who is married to whom), and marriages based on whim (think Las Vegas!). But the simple truth is, most all successful marriages that stand the test of time, begin with love. So ingredient number one is, be in love. For more information about this notion, read our article entitled How Will I Know I Am In Love? The answer to the question is more obvious than you think!

The second ingredient is what we have come to call the “core values of successful marriage.” Successfully married couples must share the same core values of love. Agreement on the core values is essential to building a healthy, happy, and long-lasting relationship. All too often, however, folks get married before they have honestly and truthfully determined the compatibility of their core value systems. Then guess what, they discover that all of the dreams and aspirations they have about their marriage aren’t possible because the foundation of their relationship has cracks even before they start trying to build a life together. Core values matter and when they are incompatible, marriage should be reconsidered because later on, these differences will, more than likely, cause the marriage to crumble. Core values such as integrity, trustworthiness and unconditional love do matter.

Our advice is, two adults contemplating marriage should never delude themselves into thinking that their respective core value systems will change over time. They rarely do. Don’t overlook the differences. Don’t fool yourself into believing that you can “change him” or “change her.” From what we know about personality development, adults are pretty much what they are. Many marriages that fail do so because the core values are not compatible. To think otherwise is to set yourself up for heartbreak further down the road of life.

The third ingredient associated with knowing if you are ready to get married or not is very, very simple. As we have said over and over in our many writings and interviews, simple things matter! Successful marriage is an accumulation of doing the simple things.

When you are contemplating marriage you should start to pay very close attention to the one you think you love. Do they do the simple things day in and day out, or not?

Here’s a question to ask yourself, does he always get in line first at the fast-food restaurant to give his food order even though you, your parents, and others are in line with you? Does he open doors for you or does he go through the door first while he lets you fend for yourself? Does she want to tell you about her day but shows no interest in your day? You see, showing respect is a simple thing – and it is easily observable. There is nothing complicated about it. If the one you purport to love is rarely respectful towards you, trust us on this – it will not get better with time. Observe the actions and deeds of the one you are thinking about marrying. Actions and deeds trump words every time!

Simple things matter, and the simple truth is if you do not see the behaviors you want and expect from the one you are thinking of marrying, it will only get worse over time.

Deciding if you are ready to get married begins with love. Agreement on the “core values” of marriage will grow the love, and doing the simple things day in and day out will sustain the love. These simple truths should be self-evident. Learn and understand these simple truths today and you too can celebrate your Golden Anniversary.

Love well!

This morning we had a delightful radio interview with a Pennsylvania radio station about our research on successful marriage. We have done a ton of these interviews since our book Golden Anniversaries: The Seven Secrets of a Successful Marriage came out earlier this year, and we enjoyed them immensely.

It is always a pleasure to share the “secrets” of successful marriage with our interviewer and his or her audience. Sometimes we answer questions from the listeners, sometimes just from the host of the show, and at times from both. In this business, you learn pretty quickly to talk on your feet as the questions often come rapid-fire, many of them are questions you’ve never heard before, and the time to answer them is usually quite short.

Fortunately, over time we have developed the “gift of gab.” And, because we know our subject quite well based on our 26 years of research on successful marriage, most of our answers are easily retrievable from wherever it is stored in our respective brains!

This morning we got a question we have gotten before in some form or another, but not as directly or succinctly as the host asked it. His question – “When am I ready to get married?”

Over the years we have written about “How will I know I am in love?” We have waxed on about “the core values of successful marriage.” And more often than we can remember, we have encouraged those in love to take our scientifically based marriage quiz to determine their “marriage compatibility.” But the truth is, we have never directly addressed this important question. So today, we will do our best to share with you what we believe to be the answer to the question, “When am I ready to get married?”

First of all, the foundation of any successful marriage is love. Oh, sure, there are marriages of convenience, marriages based on religious or cultural customs (i.e., others determine who is married to whom), and marriages based on whim (think Las Vegas!). But the simple truth is, most all successful marriages that stand the test of time, begin with love. So ingredient number one is, be in love. For more information about this notion, read our article entitled How Will I Know I Am In Love? The answer to the question is more obvious than you think!

The second ingredient is what we have come to call the “core values of successful marriage.” Successfully married couples must share the same core values of love. Agreement on the core values is essential to building a healthy, happy, and long-lasting relationship. All too often, however, folks get married before they have honestly and truthfully determined the compatibility of their core value systems. Then guess what, they discover that all of the dreams and aspirations they have about their marriage aren’t possible because the foundation of their relationship has cracks even before they start trying to build a life together. Core values matter and when they are incompatible, marriage should be reconsidered because later on, these differences will, more than likely, cause the marriage to crumble. Core values such as integrity, trustworthiness and unconditional love do matter.

Our advice is, two adults contemplating marriage should never delude themselves into thinking that their respective core value systems will change over time. They rarely do. Don’t overlook the differences. Don’t fool yourself into believing that you can “change him” or “change her.” From what we know about personality development, adults are pretty much what they are. Many marriages that fail do so because the core values are not compatible. To think otherwise is to set yourself up for heartbreak further down the road of life.

The third ingredient associated with knowing if you are ready to get married or not is very, very simple. As we have said over and over in our many writings and interviews, simple things matter! Successful marriage is an accumulation of doing the simple things.

When you are contemplating marriage you should start to pay very close attention to the one you think you love. Do they do the simple things day in and day out, or not?

Here’s a question to ask yourself, does he always get in line first at the fast-food restaurant to give his food order even though you, your parents, and others are in line with you? Does he open doors for you or does he go through the door first while he lets you fend for yourself? Does she want to tell you about her day but shows no interest in your day? You see, showing respect is a simple thing – and it is easily observable. There is nothing complicated about it. If the one you purport to love is rarely respectful towards you, trust us on this – it will not get better with time. Observe the actions and deeds of the one you are thinking about marrying. Actions and deeds trump words every time!

Simple things matter, and the simple truth is if you do not see the behaviors you want and expect from the one you are thinking of marrying, it will only get worse over time.

Deciding if you are ready to get married begins with love. Agreement on the “core values” of marriage will grow the love, and doing the simple things day in and day out will sustain the love. These simple truths should be self-evident. Learn and understand these simple truths today and you too can celebrate your Golden Anniversary.

Love well!


1
January
2010

Oh my goodness, what next?

We heard today that the Reverend Ed Young of the Fellowship Church in Grapevine, Texas plans to tell his congregation this coming Sunday that he wants married couples to have sex all week long. He says that God may have rested on the seventh day, but he wants married couples to have sex every day for a week!

He goes on to say, “I won’t be dressed in pajamas” while delivering his sermon while sitting on a bed. In these days of financial crisis, debates over same-sex marriage, and the like, it’s time, he says, to turn the “whining” into “whoopee.”

The question is, where do you start with debunking such a ridiculous notion. Let us count the ways!

For starters, we all know that good sex can be fun, romantic, exciting, and something that makes most consenting adults feel warm and fuzzy all over. Over the years we have interviewed thousands of successfully married couples and most report a reasonable degree of satisfaction with their sex life. But here is our most important research finding concerning this issue – no marriage was ever saved or made successful because the couple had a great sex life!

And more importantly, when we ask successfully marriage couples how important sex is to the success of their marriage – to rank on a scale of 1-10 with 10 high – the average rank was 6. This finding has held true over the 26 years of our research. That’s hardly a resounding endorsement for the importance of sex in a marriage.

You see, marriage is a multi-faceted relationship, and in the best marriages no one aspect stands out as the make or break part of it. The truth is, and as we report in our new book Golden Anniversaries: The Seven Secrets of Successful Marriage (©2008), there are seven pervasive characteristics present in all successful marriages. And guess what, sex is not one of them! Sex is only a part of one of the seven characteristics and that is reported in “The Loving Touch” chapter of our book.

As we say so often in our many interviews and writings, all of the married couples representing the best marriages we have interviewed have shared with us the importance of touching in their relationship. One gentleman we interviewed told us that if he passed his wife in the house a hundred times a day, he touched her. To touch someone you love is to acknowledge their presence and to communicate your love for them. That’s why the most successfully married couples amongst us do it so often.

In our humble opinion, Reverend Young’s charge to his congregation to have sex seven days next week not only cheapens the importance of healthy and positive sex with someone you love, but it also reinforces the silliness that great sex will save your marriage – that sex is the centerpiece of all good marriages.

As you know from our many writings, we believe that the overemphasis on sex in books about love and marriage cause people to believe that if they don’t have stupendous sex everyday there is something wrong with their marriage. Trust us on this – marriages that fail do so for a variety of reasons and not for a single reason.

We are sure the good Reverend is well intentioned with his challenge to his congregation, but we believe his advice is misguided as it once again overemphasizes the importance of sex in marriage. To single out sex is to blow its importance entirely out of proportion to its relevance to a great marriage. We wish people would stop doing that!

In our chapter about “The Loving Touch,” we report many first hand accounts from successfully married couples who report how important the human touch is to a loving marriage. They hug each other often, the kiss, they touch each other while talking, they sit cheek to cheek on the couch while having a conversation, they curl around each other when they sleep or just gaze at the stars, and yes, they have sex from time to time – when it’s right for them and not forced by some arbitrary “have sex everyday rule!”

You see, people touch each other in many, many different ways and no single form of touching wins the day. It’s what we like to call “the accumulation of touching” that matters. Touch the one you love often and in whatever way your heart desires. It’s that human connection that wins the day – and wins the marriage! The simple truth is, the best marriages engage in a lot of touching, sex is only one of them.

Touch well! Love well!