Relationship Advice: Voices of Experience on the Radio

A few years back I was on a radio talk show out of New Orleans called "The Andre' Show" discussing "What Makes a Marriage Successful".

The producers had seen my column in the New Orleans paper and decided to create a talk show topic from the column. So now I'll create a column from the talk show.

Are you with me so far? OK.

The format of the show was for the host and I to talk about what makes a successful marriage and to take calls from the listening audience. We received dozens of calls from listeners on what had made their marriage successful, and we were not able to get to them all.

I was on as the supposed "marriage expert", the real experts were the people calling in to offer what had made their marriage a success through the years.

Let's take a closer look at the themes and the advice of these experts on creating a successful marriage.

Commitment

The strongest theme throughout all the calls was the notion of commitment, both to the other person and to the marriage. This came from callers who had been married anywhere from ten to fifty years. And these were not people who had stayed together "for the kids" or because it was the "right thing to do." These were people who seemed to actually be enjoying marriage and their partner after so many years.

Many of these callers spoke about how rough it was in the beginning. They each spoke about how it was their commitment that held them together through the early rough spots. As one caller stated, "The beginning can be rough, but staying through the tough times to get to the good times has definitely been worth it. Besides, it's what we said we would do in our vows."

Shared problem-solving

One of the key factors that seemed to keep the commitment alive was the notion of shared problem-solving. One caller shared the traditional cliche "We just don't let the sun go down on our anger." My comment was that there might be many people who never got any sleep with that notion! But what the caller went on to say was this, "We don't have to think alike, we have just learned to think together".

Excellent advice.

Another caller made this interesting distinction about arguing and problem solving - " We always make sure to argue as 'friends' and not as 'husband and wife.'" This one had me really curious, so I aked the caller two questions:

1) could they elaborate, and

2) could I use this notion in my work.

They said yes, I could use it and went on to explain how when arguing, they focus on holding each other in the high esteem of a long time best friend, and not in the position of someone who is trying to beat them in an argument. The notion seems to work for them and also seems to be working in my office so far.

Humor and Laughter. Putting your spouse first

One gentleman said that he beleived that one of their secrets to success was that early on he decided that "whatever is good for my wife is good for me."

Now pop psychology would say that this man is codependent, that is, too dependent on his wife, etc., etc. While there is a useful place for the notion of co- or over-dependency on someone, it's a notion that has been taken to an unhealthy extreme.

Just think about it , you are "co-dependent" on the chair you are sitting in to read this articel, for goodness sake.

What I beleive this couple has discovered is the power of "interdependency", the ability to trust and depend on each other.

He sounded very happy, and I'm willing to bet his wife is pretty happy as well.

I received quite an education while in my supposed expert role, and these are just a few of the themes that came out on the program.. What I've come to believe is that the real experts are those folks out there who have created successful marriages.

So here's a couple of questions:

"What are the things that have made your marriage so successful?"

"What's the difference that makes the difference? Let us hear from you at the web site below.

After all, you're the real experts!

Visit SecretsofGreatRelationships.com for tips and tools for creating and growing a great relationship. You can also subscribe to our f*r*e*e 10 day e-program on how to enrich your relationship today, from relationship coach and expert Jeff Herring.

In The News:

How to Mend a Work Relationship  Harvard Business Review
Putting relationships first  www.miningmonthly.com
What Playfulness Can Do for Your Relationship  Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley

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