Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Never Ignore a Theme

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Have you ever been going along your merry way and out of the blue, a theme begins to emerge?

That’s what happened to me.

I was thinking about this blog, and was about to go a very different direction when several things from the pile on my desk began to thread together and look like something. Hmmmmm. What is that about, I wondered?

It all started when I came across the New York Times listing of the 10 Most Viewed Articles of 2006. I’ll show you the top three on the list…

1) What Shamu Taught Me About a Happy Marriage
2) The 10 Best Books of 2006
3) Questions Couples Should Ask (Or Wish they Had) Before Marrying

Interesting. Of all the articles that people chose to view in the New York Times, two out of the top three involved marriage. Wow, now you have my attention!
My next stop was to read the number one article.

What Shamu Taught Me About a Happy Marriage by Amy Sutherland

Delightful. Well written. Fun. And you can find it here. (But read the rest of this blog and comment first!)

Turns out while researching a book she was writing about a school for exotic animal trainers, Amy started to make comparisons between what trainers could accomplish with wild animals like hyenas and baboons and what she might accomplish with some of the incompatible behaviors she was experiencing in her marriage. Her key insight came from watching a dolphin trainer who taught her about L.R.S – Least Reinforcing Syndrome.

But wait, before you head for that article…one more tidbit.

Around the thinkmarriage offices, there is a well-loved movie from the 60’s called “If a Man Answers.” This movie, starring Sandra Dee and Bobby Darin, follows what happens when a mother gives her daughter advice on how to train her husband using a dog training book. Come on…can you ever lose when you watch a Sandra Dee and Bobby Darin movie?

The bottom line is: we can learn a lot from our friends in the animal kingdom when it comes to healthy relationships and marriage. I’d write more, but I have the irresistible urge to go to the zoo.

Enjoy the Shamu article and don’t forget to leave a comment on this blog!

(If you are coming here from the newsletter and looking for the 50 year, coffee table hint…see the blog prior to this one! AND don’t forget to sign up for our monthly newsletter, just send an email to and put; send me the newsletter in the subject line!