While we have not yet engaged in research with same-sex couples we find the question intriguing.
As the reader knows, our 32+ years of research has focused on successful “traditional” marriages. We write extensively about our findings in our various books, including our just-released How to Marry the Right Guy.
A few days ago we had a conversation with an individual who has written extensively about gay and lesbian relationships over the years. In fact, he is a gay man who has been in a gay relationship for nearly 30 years. His first partner died of AIDS. He has been in his current relationship for over a decade. His interest was likewise piqued by the aforementioned question.
As we discussed our research findings with him we noticed how often he nodded his head in agreement with most of our findings when applied to his own long-time gay relationship. Needless to say, we found the conversation stimulating and thought-provoking.
While we don’t pretend to be experts in gay and lesbian relationships, the Supreme Court decision in California and other states to allow Same-Sex Marriage, has made us begin to wonder if our findings about traditional marriage apply to same-sex marriages and gay relationships as well. Our gay friend thinks that they do. We are inclined to agree.
As we have thought about this over the past week or so we have concluded that in the end, all successful loving relationships begin and end with the quality of the relationship between two human beings who love each other. Do the simple things in your relationship day in and day out and it will be successful. To ignore the simple things could cause great peril for your relationship.
Truth is, love and relationships are not all that difficult to understand or make work. The best loving relationships we have studied over the years begin and end with people in love who do the simple things required to make their relationship work. The care and nurturing of a loving relationship makes all things possible.
Couples have reported to us that the strength of their relationship helps them overcome adversity – the loss of a job, the death of a friend or family member, or a major illness. A supportive and loving relationship helps get you through the bad times so you can celebrate the good times.
Again and again we are reminded that the strength of the relationship between two people who love each other trumps everything else. Day in and day out, those things that make us happy and cause us to do positive things and to live our lives in positive ways has, in the end, more to do with having the supportive love of another human being than anything else.
So, as we think back about the question that started this conversation, doesn’t it seem clear that there are common elements in all successful loving relationships – including those that are “traditional” as well as same-sex – that sustain them over time, that make them successful?
We think that sometimes as human beings we get way too hung up over things that really don’t matter. What we ought to be focusing on is that old axiom of Charley’s mother, “Life is too short. Enjoy everyday you have on this Earth.” Find someone to share your life with.
Be happy when two people are in love. Share the joy. Celebrate their time together. Focus on their happiness and not on things that really don’t matter. Read Building a Love that Lasts and see if you agree that the seven secrets of a traditional marriage also apply to “same-sex” relationships. You might be surprised at how similar all loving relationships really are.
We will start on our next research project about love and relationships soon.
By Dr. Charles and Dr. Elizabeth Schmitz
America's #1 Love and Marriage Experts
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