Friday, March 19, 2010

What Makes a Marriage Successful?

This week’s show on “Relationships 101” on was an animated and fascinating discussion with Doctors Charles and Elizabeth Schmitz on ingredients of a successful marriage.

Here’s what made the conversation so interesting.
1. For starters, this power couple has been married to each other for 43 years and counting. And they plan to make it to their Golden Anniversary.
2. They have interviewed over 1000 couples on 6 continents in over 70 cities, and they’re not done yet.
3. The first criterion the couples they interviewed for their qualitative research project had to meet was being married for at least 30 years.
4. Once they met that criterion, the Schmitzes had a standard interview protocol that allowed them to determine if these marriages were successful, or merely long.
5. If they were deemed successful, then the interview proceeded.

The results of their work are summarized in their recent book, Building a Love That Lasts: The Seven Surprising Secrets of Successful Marriage.

On the show, I challenged them on areas where I thought our work and perspectives differed. For example, in none of their examples did I read their views on the importance of effectively resolving conflict to a successful marriage. While they acknowledged that they, too, occasionally fight, their relationship and those of the couples they interviewed were peaceful the majority of the time. And so is my marriage. However, I absolutely know that couples who refuse to fight never enjoy the depth of intimacy that is possible when couples can fight fairly and successfully work through their inevitable differences.

Tune in to this week’s show on “Relationships 101” on Here’s the link.

Enjoy the show. And don’t worry if you can’t listen live. Shows remain in the archives for 3 months.