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Love and Marriage Article

Is Advice About Love and Marriage Fact or Fiction?

by Dr. Charles D. Schmitz and Dr. Elizabeth A. Schmitz

As we prepared for the work of the day this morning it dawned on us while watching a television show – there is a lot of bad advice about marriage and relationships in the popular media today.  We watched these so-called “experts” wax on about what they believed to be “truisms” about love and marriage and the more we listened the more appalled we became about what we were hearing.

Understand, we are very tolerant people.  We are accepting of the opinions of most everyone.  But what really riles us is when people espouse what is only an opinion and sell it as if it were fact – as if their opinion was based on credible research.  You see a lot of this in the popular media today we are sorry to say.

So, you are probably asking yourself, what did they say that got you so riled up?  Honestly, the craziness of what they spoke is not the purpose of this article.  But there is much to learn from what they said.

For starters, the five “experts” the hosts interviewed were all in their early to mid-20’s.  Now don’t get us wrong, twenty-something’s have a lot of important things to say, but unmarried twenty-something’s do not have much credibility when it comes to love and marriage!  They haven’t lived long enough to qualify as experts.  You can’t base your advice on an “N of 1” and extrapolate it to the larger population at any age!  Opinions are nice but when you are giving advice to the folks out there you had better have some evidence to support your perspective.

The truth is, we have done a lot of research over the years about love and marriage, as have many others.  There is, without a doubt, a scientific basis to much of what we know about relationships, love, and marriage.  The people reading our writings have the right to know the truth of what we say based on our credible research evidence than spans nearly three decades.

Frankly, and we are reluctant to say it, many people out there read stuff on-line or watch it on daytime television, and assume that it is the whole truth and nothing but the truth.  But you, and we, know better.

The Internet and television are very valuable resources for many of your unanswered questions about life, love, relationships, and marriage.  There is much to learn that is available on the Internet and TV.  But all that is out there is not the truth, it is not accurate, and it can be misleading.  And it can be hurtful!

So, here is what we ask you to do – ask yourself these questions when you find advice on the Internet and on television about life, love, relationships, and marriage:

  1. Do those who have written or spoken the advice have the proper academic credentials?  In other words, do they have a masters or doctoral degree in the area they purport to be expert in?  As a corollary, do they have their advanced degree(s) from a credible university?  Is their academic training in an area appropriate to the advice they are giving?  Have they gone to credible research universities?
  2. Do the advice givers have personal and credible evidence to support the notion that they are “experts” in their field of “advice?” For example, a person divorced for one or more times may not necessarily be the best person to rely on for advice about successful marriage.   A so-called “expert” who has no experience or supportive research related to their advice giving is hardly trustworthy.
  3. When you carefully read and listen to the advice being given, ask yourself this question – is the advice overly hyped?  Is there reason to believe that the writer is selling snake oil?  Do you have reason to believe that the advice giver has a stake in making a “believer” out of you?  Credible advice givers are only interested in giving you the truth based on the best available evidence.  Accept nothing less than the real truth!  Go beyond the hype!
  4. Ask yourself this question – is their advice “beyond belief?”  In other words, is their advice beyond the pale – is it out of the realm of possibility for people who think and act rationally on an everyday basis?  If the advice doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t true or credible.  Your intuition is probably your best judge about the truth and value of what you are reading.
  5. Is the advice you are reading on the Internet from a source you can trust?  Is the website an established website?  Is the website read by many?  Here’s the deal – people read websites they can trust!  If a website has few readers, there is probably a reason.  When websites like get a million hits a month, there is probably truth in the notion that you cannot fool all the people all the time!  Readers learn to trust websites where they get reliable advice.  Trust your fellow readers.  They know.

Over the years, we have come to believe that the best advice we get comes from those properly trained, who have relevant experiences, and who have no particular position to advocate.  The best and most reliable advice always comes from those who do not have “an ax to grind.”  The best advice comes from those who only want to expound on the truth.  Accept nothing less.

Be careful of what you read on the Internet and listen to on television.  Apply our aforementioned rules and you will be okay.  Trust the truth, as the truth will always set you free.

Simple things matter in love and marriage.  Love well!

Additional Resources:
Marriage Advice
Marriage Help with audios, videos and articles
Marriage Quiz
Marriage Book
Love Advice
Love Experts
Marriage Experts
Love and Marriage Experts