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Over the past several days, we have been in sunny southern California conducting interviews with selected celebrities including a former priest and his wife and couples with very famous last names.  It has been a fun trip so far.

As our readers know, we have been interviewing successfully married couples on six of the world's seven continents for nearly 30 years.  It has been our labor of love.  We have learned much about successful marriage during our interviews.  Much of what we have learned we have shared through our many blog postings, through radio and television interviews, and our several books, including Building a Love that Lasts.  

There are many recurring themes in the best marriages.  These pervasive themes only begin with the "Seven Secrets."  

Over the past year – and including these interviews in California – we think we might have gleaned another "secret" about great marriages.  Here's what we are hearing.

When you pose this question to the best marriages around the world you hear very consistent answers – "If you had the choice of spending most of your time with another human being, whatever the circumstances, who would it be?"  The answer is almost always the same!  "My husband/wife!"  

The most happily married couples we have interviewed tell us that they would rather spend time with their spouse than with any other living human being.  And when given the choice of spending an evening with their spouse INCLUDING others, the happiest couples will tell you that hands down, they would rather spend it JUST with their spouse!  

As a couple that has been married over 44 years, we almost always put what we learn from others in the context of our own marriage.  And truthfully, our secret is out of the bag on this one!  Given the choice of being just with each other or being with others, we always choose just each other.  

Oh, sure, we have family, friends, and work associates we like to be with.  Most happily married couples do.  But the simple truth is this – given the choice, successfully married couples would rather be with just each other.

So what does this all mean?  Does it mean there is an "8th Secret" for a successful marriage?  Do we, the good doctors, need to rethink our message about great marriages around the world?  Maybe so.  Maybe so.

Couples who love each other deeply, who want to spend their lives with each other, and who cannot imagine life without their husband or wife, will almost always tell you this – the one they want to be with more than anyone else is their spouse.  There is no substitute for togetherness when it comes to a happily married couple, make no mistake about that.

Being married to your soul mate is one of the greatest joys of life!  Spending as much time with them as you can is icing on the cake.  And with deference to your family, friends, and associates, the time you spend with each other is amongst the most precious highlights of your life.

Spend the time wisely.

By Dr. Charles D. and Dr. Elizabeth A. Schmitz

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