The Defy Aging Newsletter

Anti-aging psychology, holistic health, and wellness

a biweekly e-mail newsletter for helping you think, feel, look, and be more youthful and live with purpose.

June 5, 2008 Number 189

This issue:

The Real Experts on Marriage


Follow the advice of those who speak from experience. Couples married 50+ years say the biggest key to making a marriage work is determination.


There are lots of "how-to" books and experts on what makes a marriage work. Often the authors of these books have had failed marriages. If Americans are listening to the marriage experts, it is not working. American divorce rates hover around 50%. Maybe we are asking the wrong experts. I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Sheryl Kurland, who had a unique take on the what makes marriages work. She interviewed 75 couples who have been married at least fifty years. She interviewed them as couples and interviewed them individually. In her book, Everlasting Matrimony, she reports on what these 75 real life experts say.

They said the biggest factor in making their marriages work was the "D" word. The "D" isn't divorce—but determination. These couples were determined to make their marriages work and did whatever it took to make them work. While commitment might keep Archie and Edith Bunker together out of a sense of obligation and duty, determination resulted in couples who were deeply in love 50+ years later.

In business, sports, and many other pursuits, when you are really determined to make something work and do whatever it takes to make it work, the chances of success greatly beat the odds. The same is true of marriage–determination to make it work appears to be the biggest key to long-term success.

Among marriage researchers, John Gottman has the mostimpressive data. He hooked couples up to blood pressure monitors and videotaped thousands of hours of interactions. His data fit well with what Sheryl Kurland found. While Gottman and Kurland found a lot of variation in styles, values, and backgrounds; successful couples knew each other very well, had far more positive than negative interactions (Gottman says at least at 5:1 ratio), and handled conflicts effectively. Want to make a marriage or relationship work? It's the D word. Ask yourself, what would you would be doing differently if you were more determined to make your marriage or relationship work? Your mind loves to answer questions and posing the question gets your mind working on solutions.


That married couples can live together day after day is a miracle that the Vatican has overlooked.

~Bill Cosby


Research shows that married people live longer than single people. With all the serial marriages in Hollywood, movies stars should live very long lives.

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