Some of the so-called “expert advice” we read on the Internet by charlatans who pretend to be “experts” is stunning! Lots of people purport to be “love and marriage experts.” The Internet is full of those who claim to be. We, like you, read their pontifications every day. But the truth is, most of those who say they are, ARE NOT!
Let’s be honest, when a twenty-something tells us about marriage, we simple must roll our eyes in disbelief regarding their audacity. What experience over time do they have? What do they know?
We have found in our more than 30 years of research about marriage around the world that those who understand successful marriage are those who, first and foremost, have actually experienced it. Make no mistake about that. You cannot possibly understand the dynamics of marriage if you have never engaged in it. Not possible!
When a divorced person (often time a person with multiple divorces) tells their readers about successful marriage, one can only wonder, where did they get their chutzpah? Where do they get off telling others about success in marriage when they have failed at it themselves. Think about it. How much do you learn about success from studying failure? Our years of research tell us – NOT MUCH!
One of our old mentors, Don Clifton, of the world-renowned Gallup Organization (may he rest in peace), once told us, “If you want to learn about success, study success. If you want to learn about failure, study failure. You don’t learn much about success by studying failure and vice versa.” Dr. Clifton had it right!
So, how do you define a love and marriage expert? Based on our years of experience and research, we believe you are a Love and Marriage Expert if you meet ALL of the following criteria:
1. Love and marriage experts know that studying SUCCESSFUL love and marriage is the prerequisite to understanding both! Those who have not done their homework in the appropriate way are not capable or authorized to pass judgment on the truth about love and marriage. Those who tell you about success when all they have done is study failure are not legitimate advocates for successful love and marriage. Their pronouncements cannot be taken seriously.
2. Love and marriage experts have training, education and experience commensurate with the advice they give to others about love and marriage. Let’s be candid and straightforward about this—being an expert has little to do with wanting to be one. People who are love and marriage experts have training and experience commensurate with the advice they give. In other words, if an advice giver has graduate training at a reputable university in the fields of counseling, psychology, or social work, they are likely qualified to be a love and marriage expert.
3. Love and marriage experts have a standing in the community of scholars and amongst professional practitioners. They do NOT hang out a shingle because they feel so inclined. They offer advice because they are qualified to do so. In our case, we have years of graduate level training in counseling through an accredited university program in counseling psychology and, in Charley’s case, years of experience as a faculty member in an accredited and well-respected graduate program. People who have no formal training in the field of love and marriage have no formal standing in the “community of scholars.” Those who claim to be a “life coach” without the requisite training are not qualified as love and marriage experts.
4. Love and marriage experts who are worth their salt do research so they understand what they report and so they have first-hand data to further their understanding as love and marriage experts. Love and marriage experts who are not active researchers and scholars/writers, are not qualified to offer advice as love and marriage experts. It’s as simple as that. You cannot pretend to be an expert; you have to prove it through your research and your scholarly writing.
5. A love and marriage expert actually has experience at being successful in love and marriage. That shouldn’t seem too surprising! Like us, if you have been successfully married for a long time (in our case nearly 47 years!), you are probably much more qualified as a love and marriage expert than someone who has been married for a short time, who has failed at marriage, or who has never been married at all. In love and marriage, personal experience matters, make no mistake about that!
The truth of the matter is this—if you go on-line to get advice about love and marriage, if you read books about these subjects, if you seek out a competent professional to help with your marriage or relationship with someone, you had better be darn sure that the advice you are listening to is coming from a competent professional who meets all of the aforementioned criteria. Don’t listen to their advice if they do not.
It really is that simple.
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 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