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Marriage Advice

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  • Don’t Worry, Be Happy - The Empty Nest is not all that Bad!

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014

    Let's face it – the empty nest syndrome is most overrated!  The truth is, for many couples, the empty nest is a time of great "re-discovery" of the love for each other.

    Okay, the children have all left home.  You and your spouse are finally alone after two decades of marriage.  Now what?  This is a question faced by millions of married couples worldwide.  

    You get married, your children are born, they grow up, and they leave home.  No matter where you live on planet Earth, married couples with children will eventually have to deal with the empty nest.  

    Here is what we have learned over the past 32+ years from our thousands of interviews with successfully married couples around the world.

    1. Empty nesters need to take stock of their relationship now that the children are out of the house.   They need to set goals for their relationship and plot a direction they want their marriage to go.  Married couples often need to rediscover each other.  And if you are lucky, you will spend the rest of your natural born life with your spouse.  The quality of your relationship must be good if your marriage is to survive and thrive – post-children.

    2. If your marriage is typical, the chances are very high that both husband and wife work outside the home.  The great danger for empty nesters is that they often throw themselves even more into their work, often at the expense of their spouse.  Your careers are important to you, but plunging your heart and soul into your work as a way of compensating for the absence of children in your home will only cause stress in your relationship with your mate.

    3. Rekindle the romance and passion of your relationship that is often put on the backburner when you are raising children.  Get in the habit again of engaging in passion with each other.  You will be surprised at how easy it will be to fall in love all over again with your spouse.  Practice, practice, practice!

    4. The health of your spouse is of paramount importance to your marriage, especially in the empty nest.  The two of you should take action to improve and enhance your health.   Eat healthy foods, get plenty of exercise, and get annual physical exams.  You have more energy, be healthier, and live longer!

    5. The final piece of advice goes like this – the worst thing you can do to your spouse or yourself as an empty nester is to hover over each other all the time!   As we have said before, there is a fundamental predisposition in every human being to have time alone.  Empty nesters have more time to be together, but couples often forget that the need to be alone is just as strong and just as important when the children are gone.

    Living in an empty nest is not all that bad.   Couples have been doing it for centuries! Follow the simple rules espoused by those who have been there, done that, and been successful at it.  You won't regret it.

    Re-discover each other in the "empty nest."  If you are like most couples, you will like what you find.

    Creating a successful marriage is not always the easiest thing to do. Your visiting our 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, hundreds of tips from the thousands of happy couples we interviewed are in Building a Love that Lasts , a multiple award-winning book and still the standard handbook for marriage and relationships for five years running.

    **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
    Authors of the Award Winning New Book - How to Marry the Right Guy 


    2 Replies
  • Take It Slow With Your New Love

    Posted on Sunday, September 8, 2013

    Too often, when a person feels the early signs of a loving relationship they move too fast and scare away the one they are falling in love with.  Or worse yet, they so desperately want to be in love and be loved that they miss important clues to the real feelings of the one they think they love.

    A marvelous quote by Jonathan Carroll from Outside the Dog Museum  perfectly describes the importance of taking it slow when he says, "You have to walk carefully in the beginning of love; the running across fields into your lover's arms can only come later when you're sure they won't laugh if you trip."  

    One thing for certain—new love develops over time.  It requires patience.  It requires self-examination.  And it most certainly requires you to run slowly across fields until you find the proper footing, lest you fall down!

    Recently, someone sent us a copy of a beautiful essay entitled "Letters To My Son“by Kent Nerburn.  Our favorite passage is excerpted below:

    Here "is where many lovers go wrong. Having been so longwithout love, they understand love only as a need.  The first blush of new love is filled to overflowing, but astheir love cools, they revert to seeing their love as a need.  They forget that thesecret of love is that it is a gift, and that it can be made togrow only by giving it away."

    The message here should be clear—love is a gift you give to someone, and if you are lucky, they give it back in return.  You need to step back and make sure that you feel good about giving your love away.  That requires being honest with yourself about what you are feeling and what you are giving away to another human being.  Accepting true love takes courage.  And trust.  And time.

    To be truly in love is to dash across the field of lilies on a beautiful spring morning unafraid to fall down as you leap into the arms of the one you love and who loves you.  As love and marriage experts, we suggest you go, be in love if you are ready to give away your gift of love to another human being.

    Creating a successful marriage is not always the easiest thing to do. Your visiting our blog suggests you are highly interested in making your marriage work! You might enjoy Building a Love that Lasts , with its hundreds of practical tips for having a happy and successful marriage.

    By Drs. Charles and Elizabeth Schmitz
    America's #1 Love and Marriage Experts 

    **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.


    0 Replies
  • 5 Tips To Stop The Negativity In Your Marriage

    Posted on Monday, August 19, 2013

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    Negativity can literally overwhelm your marriage.  With our fast paced society and the extreme demands hitting us from every side, more and more couples find negativity taking over their marriage.  Once the negativity starts, you need an immediate injection of positivity into your relationship before it is too late.  

    Even couples with successful marriages experience periods of negativity.  Our interviews with thousands of happily married couples in 48 countries,  revealed the 5 tips these longtime successfully married couples use to keep their relationships positive.  Here are 5 tips you can use to stop the negativity in your marriage:  

    1. Take an honest look at what YOU could do differently to improve your marriage relationship .  Could you stop gripping about your job, or spend more time with your spouse, or take more interest in his hobbies, or stop pointing out his weaknesses or talk more openly about what is bothering you?  

    2. Avoid saying these five statements when dealing with a marital crisis:  

         • It's your fault! Sometimes, a financial decision goes bad or your child gets in trouble at school.  Blame doesn't work!

         • I told you so! These four words are rarely ever used in successful marriages.

         • Saying "I am upset with you about this or that . . ." in a public setting.  

         • Why do you always . . . Focusing on your spouse's weakness rather than building on their strengths will only increase their weakness and diminish their strength.  

         • Ask for your spouse's opinion and then do the opposite.  

    3. Repair your balance and your spirit.  Take the steps to get healthy mentally and physically.  You can't turn off the negativity when you are in an unhealthy state.  You need to heal yourself first.

    4. Each and everyday successful couples build positive interactions with each other.   Begin your interactions with positive comments.  Comment on something your spouse has done that was good, helpful or kind.  Notice the small things and make a nice comment about him.  If your spouse begins a conversation with a negative comment or is upset, don't jump down his throat with a negative response.  Bite your tongue and wait to comment until you can turn your thoughts into a positive comment.  It is amazing how often an entire conversation can be changed with a positive comment.

    5. Appreciate what you have!   If you have good health, a place to live, or a job, you already have more than most people in the world.  Focus on the positives.  Talk openly about them.  Your happiness will begin putting the spark back in the relationship.

    Remember, getting out of a negative spiral begins with one positive action, then another, until a habit of positive actions is built in your relationship.

    Simple things matter in love and marriage. Love well!

    Creating a successful marriage is not always the easiest thing to do. Your visiting our blog suggests you are highly interested in making your relationship 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, as love and marriage experts we took hundreds of tips from the thousands of happy couples we interviewed throughout the world and put them into our award-winning and bestselling book, Building a Love that Lasts 

    By Drs. Charles and Elizabeth Schmitz
    America's #1 Love and Marriage Experts 

    **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.


    1 Replies
  • How To Talk About Serious Issues In Marriage

    Posted on Friday, July 5, 2013

    As love and marriage experts, we can report that successful couples know how to talk about serious issues with their spouse.  These couples report a high level of satisfaction with the way they communicate with each other, and they 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 from those couples that communicate really well—that communicate effectively on just about every level.  As we poured over our interview notes from thousands of couples, five important actions began to emerge.

    1. 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. 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.

    3. 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.

    4. Brainstorming ideas is always the first step in a fruitful conversation about important matters.   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 successfully married couples we have interviewed as love and marriage experts, 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 have taught us—and have now taught you!  

    Simple things matter in love and marriage. Love well!

    Creating a successful marriage is not always the easiest thing to do. Your visiting our blog suggests you are highly interested in making your relationship 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, as love and marriage experts we took hundreds of tips from the thousands of happy couples we interviewed throughout the world and put them into our award-winning and bestselling book, Building a Love that Lasts 

    By Drs. Charles and Elizabeth Schmitz
    America's #1 Love and Marriage Experts 

    **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.


    0 Replies
  • Six Warning Signs Your Marriage Is In Trouble

    Posted on Friday, April 26, 2013

    During our many radio and television interviews we are often asked this simple question - “How will I know my marriage is in trouble?’  Our research has identified the answer to this very important question.  

    Here are the Six Warning Signs Your Marriage Is In Trouble:  

    1. One or both of you show increasing disrespect for each other.  In failing marriages, there are growing signs of disrespect. Resentment and contempt have replaced patience and love.  You go out of your way to avoid being together.

    And sadly, when you are away from your spouse you are happier than when you are with them.  Having fun with your mate seems to be a thing of the past.When mutual respect and understanding fail, your marriage is well on the way to its end.  Make no mistake about that.

    2. You fight and argue much more often than before and do so unfairly.  Fact is, you have nothing nice to say to or about each other anymore.  You love to nitpick at each other.  Your teasing isn't fun - it is now painful and hurtful.  You use each other as a personal pincushion!

    Sadly, your arguments are repeatedly about the same subjects.  You are increasingly critical of each other, you fight constantly, and you no longer fight fair.As we have said many times before – it is okay to argue – all successfully married couples do – but the truth is this, successfully married couples have learned how to fight fair.  Their arguments do not become personal and attack oriented.

    3. You and your spouse are no longer capable of communicating with each other in meaningful and productive ways.  Communication between a husband and a wife is of paramount importance to the health of a successful marital relationship.  Failing marriages communicate less and less.  There are fewer and fewer meaningful exchanges between the two people who occupy the marriage bond.

    Worse yet, they don’t talk with each other about their mutual problems anymore.  Frankly, failing marriages lose the ability and the willingness to resolve their marital problems.  They just don’t care anymore.When communication between a husband and wife shuts down, there is little hope for the marriage.  Always remember this - no problem was ever resolved, no divide ever bridged, and no disagreement ever broached when people refused to communicate.  When communication falters, a marriage is in trouble.  

        

    4. Sexual intimacy in your marriage is low and increasingly non-existent. In a failing marriage, sexual intimacy is low.  Sexual intimacy becomes more and more infrequent.  Marriage partners turn into roommates - they live together in the same home, but do not share the intimacies of a marriage.  Unfortunately, intimacy becomes a thing of the past.

    It is clear from our three decades of research that sexual intimacy is over-rated when it comes to the best marriages.  There are many other elements that are equally or more important to a successful marriage than sex.  But make no mistake about it; INTIMACY is more than good sex.  Intimacy is holding hands on a walk, snuggling in the morning, hugging a lot, touching each other, and in general, feeling emotion for each other.

    5. Financial disagreements dominate your discussions and conversations.  It is clear, when you argue increasingly and incessantly about financial issues, your marriage is in trouble.  We have written extensively about this subject over the past two years, and if the truth were known, most arguments in a marriage center on financial issues.

    Worse yet, you discover your spouse is lying about money and other financial related issues.  They lie about the bills, the balances, the payoffs, and the commitments.  A very bad sign, indeed.

    It is clear; we live in trying times when it comes to economic uncertainty.  Unemployment is historically high, the Stock Market has wild swings, we worry about our retirement income and our savings, and our home values are in the tank.  There is a lot of economic uncertainty.

    But here is the truth - the best marriages survive and thrive during trying economic times.  The best marriages find a way to deal with the economic uncertainties.  Failing marriages have not learned to cope with economic uncertainty because they have not learned how to communicate with each other.  If all you talk about is your financial plight, you marriage is in trouble.  

    6. You do not trust your spouse anymore.  Trust is the centerpiece of a great marriage!  In fact, there is nothing more central to a successful marriage than the ability to trust.  If you can't trust your spouse, whom can you trust?

    When you or your spouse starts to have thoughts of being unfaithful and think more and more about divorce, your marriage is in trouble.  Let’s face it, when the trust level between you and your spouse nears zero, there is little hope for your marriage.

    Summary:  It is important to know the warning signs that your marriage is in trouble.  Pay close attention.  When you witness the signs, take action.  Save your relationship if you can.  Having a healthy and happy marriage is one of the great success stories of life.  Hopefully, you see these warning signs before it is too late to save your marriage.

    By Drs. Charles and Elizabeth Schmitz
    America's #1 Love and Marriage Experts 

    Creating a successful marriage is not always the easiest thing to do. Your visiting our 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 throughout the world 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.

    In love and marriage the simple things matter .


    1 Replies
  • 7 Ways To Fight Fair

    Posted on Sunday, March 17, 2013

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    Is fighting in a marriage okay?  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 on all seven continents of 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.  

    Creating a successful relationship or marriage is not always the easiest thing to do. Your visiting our 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 


    0 Replies