Wednesday, March 31, 2010

What Kind of Jealousy Do You See?

posted by: Michele Olson

Looking into Steven Stosny’s article on I learned something. There are two types of jealousy.

Simply jealousy and complex jealousy.

While one might argue that all jealousy is a little complex, each type of jealousy has a different outcome. Simply jealousy kept on a leash can be a good thing. Complex jealousy devalues and leads to control and punishment. Understanding that one is healthy and one is not makes looking at our types of jealousy worthy of a few moments of our time.

Here’s an overview of both, but I encourage you to read the article in its entirety and measure your jealousy level.

Simple Jealousy highlights from the article:
Starts as a feeling of discomfort at the prospect of losing reward or affection to someone else.
Motivates reward/affection seeking behavior, you try harder to act right.
Functions as a kind of distance-regulator. The feelings can motivate more connecting behavior.
Raises the value of the loved one, you want more time.

Complex Jealousy highlights from the article:
You become smaller and less valuable because someone is manipulating or betraying you.
Motives attack either overtly or in your head. You devalue and try to control others.
Becomes problematic because of a poorly-integrated sense of self.
Devalues the loved one, you want to control, punish or avoid.

Complex jealousy has an obsessional quality to it according to Steven. You can wreck your reality if you keep going down this road.

What about you? Which type of jealousy do you deal with? In tomorrow’s blog we’ll look at the article on how to regulate complex jealousy before if ruins you and your relationship.

Let us hear your feedback on jealousy in relationships.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Go Mad...No Don't!

Posted by Michele Olson
Positively delightful article from the folks at*
Jenny Runkel writes about how getting Mad is, well…Madness! Since March is all about madness; basketball, Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter…it’s the perfect time to focus on the word “Mad.”

Mad means not being in your right mind. Jenny points out that when we are mad, we are overcome with the worst parts of ourselves, we don’t filter our feelings and we can act inappropriately. Her point is, that’s exactly how we act when we get “mad” at our children.
When we are mad, we are in a mind disorder state. No can make us mad as in “my kids make me mad.” She provides a coping skill. If you find yourself in a situation where you feel like your child is making you mad, tell yourself; “I am about to allow a hormonal child to determine my mood. I will now go insane by choice.”
Basically you are saying what is going on as it’s happening. Simply changing your words and thoughts can change your life.
Jenny tells us that you and only you can get control of your emotions, so if you are getting mad at your kids, you are the one making yourself crazy.
Parenting is not easy. Any tricks of the trade are welcome. Give it a try.
Let us know what happened!
(ScreamFree Parenting offers a revolutionary new option by inviting parents to focus on themselves, grow themselves up, and calm themselves down. The ScreamFree Parenting principles will lead parents of all ages (with kids of all ages) to create and enjoy the family relationships they've always craved starting now.)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Sunday Is Black Marriage Day

Posted by Michele Olson

An article by Cindy George in the Houston Chronicle is a good benchmark of the type of articles trying to make everyone aware of what will be happening in many American communities this Sunday. March 28th, 2010 is designated as Black Marriage Day.

Why is a special day needed to highlight African American Marriages? Because that’s where marriage is falling the fastest.

The difference is most distinct for Americans in their early 30s. By that age, half of blacks have never married, compared with 31 percent or lower for other groups.
According to 2009 U.S. Census Bureau reports, black females ages 35 to 44 are the only American women in their child-bearing years with lower marriage rates than men of the same race or ethnicity. By their early 40s, 31 percent of black women have never been wives, whereas 9 percent of white women, 11 percent of Asian women and 12 percent of Hispanic women have never been married.

The article writer visited with Kenyatta Phelps, a Prairie View A&M University sociologist who studies dating among black adolescents. She said there's not enough research to fully explain declining marriage rates among black Americans. Potential reasons include: delayed marriage for all groups including black adults, more homosexual relationships and high rates of black male imprisonment. In her social psychology research, she has found that black children have different socialization experiences and receive different cultural messages.

A lot of African-American females are taught independence — and independence from men — until they have achieved success. African-American males are told success goes hand in hand with dating — at least those are the messages they are hearing. Data shows that white females are told success and family go hand in hand and success may take a backseat to family,” said Phelps, a single black woman in her mid-30s. “I personally think it's a coping mechanism. African-American women are delving into opportunities for success to deal with not having a partner.”

Organizers are hoping that this year, the loving union of President Barack Obama and the First Lady will inspire other African American couples to put marriage before the baby carriage. Info on the national event is available at

Here in Wisconsin, is participating in a Black Marriage Day event at Milwaukee Metropolitan Baptist Church this Sunday from 5:00 - 9 pm. If you would like to attend or want more information contact Angela Robbins;;

If you are attending a Black Marriage Day event, tell us about your celebration. We'd love to hear your story!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Undateable People? We’re Looking At the Wrong Thing

posted by Michele Olson
Ellen Rakieten and Anne Coyle have written a book called Undateable. It’s about the things guys do that will lessen their chances of getting a date. The sad thing is; the reasons not to date these types of guys are all quite superficial. The book concentrates on things like guys wearing Speedos, dirty baseball caps, pointy shoes or having ill-advised facial hair.

What’s missing is the importance of understanding people’s character and upbringing before you make any kind of commitment. Every guy and gal hoping to marry and in the process of dating should be concentrating less on what people eat or how they spell and more on who they are inside.

The best thing you can do as a dater is to attend a How to Avoid Falling in Love with a
Jerk(ette) workshop. In this workshop you’ll learn the importance of building a safe relationship while knowing what to look for in a dating partner. You should be thinking about the dynamics of trust, reliance, commitment and sexual touch before you enter into a relationship. It’s possible to be very smart about dating. It's also a good workshop if you are currently dating someone.

Don’t leave your dating choices to chance. The perfect person for you may actually start out with spinach in their teeth, but possess a heart of gold. Educate yourself and avoid a lot of future heartache.

There’s a no jerk’s workshop starting April 5th in Green Bay. Why not sign up?

Monday, March 22, 2010

What About Your Stuff?

posted by Michele Olson
Oh sure, there’s sex, finances, children…that’s what people think of when they think of things that can come between couples, but what about STUFF? You know, STUFF!

Great article in the Wichita Eagle by Lisa Gutierrez about couples stuff and what the other partner considers to be weird possessions. If you’ve been watching The Marriage Ref on NBC, you know people do have disagreements over some weird things. (Did you see the episodes about the stuffed dog and the prosthetic leg?)

The article is the result of one simple question:
What stuff of your partner’s would you toss right out of the house if it were up to you?

How about two huge stuffed tom turkeys? That’s what one story revolves around. (Taxidermists must have some great stories to tell at dinner parties)

A big clown picture.

A vintage Bud Light beer can phone.

A BETA tape player.

Most of the feedback about stuff they would throw out of the house was women talking about men’s stuff. My husband has had to live with a collector of stuff for over 30 years; although I think I’m rubbing off on him…he now has a few collections too. (Come on! I Love Lucy and Wizard of Oz are magical things, I can’t even bear to think of them as just stuff!)

Overland Park psychologist Paul Anderson quoted in the article gets to the bottom of the issue of compromising when it comes to our stuff; the ability to talk about it.

From the article:

Generally speaking, when couples start arguing over stuff, it becomes a point of contention and tension, and the reason is what it represents to the couple,” Anderson says. “And they may not be able to talk about what that represents.”

Basically, our stuff is the smokescreen for what’s really happening; working through control, power and respect.

Once again it comes back to being able to talk about it in a healthy way and that comes back to communication and conflict resolution skills. (Those are things you can learn in marriage and healthy relationship education opportunities, such as those we offer at

You may remember this line from the Humphrey Bogart movie Maltese Falcon:
What about your relationship?
What would you get rid of in your home?
How have you resolved “stuff” issues?
Tell us some stuff about your marriage and stuff!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

More Than The Luck of the Irish

posted by Michele Olson

As we are about to celebrate the Luck of the Irish and all thing green, it’s a good time to take a look at an article that appeared in the Irish Examiner. This article looks at what is adding to marital problems in Ireland.

Two subjects: the economy and the Internet.

It’s a “leg bone connected to the ankle bone” situation.
Economic hardships= higher stress levels.
More free time and more work required from home = more time on the Internet.
More time on the Internet = relationship distractions like pornography, cyber sex, gambling and yes, less real life communication at home.

The need for counseling for one firm went up 11% since 2007, the number of clients with financial problems increased by 71%, while issues around the use of the Internet increased by 87.5%. Rates of depression and stress in clients were up 14% and 12% respectively.

But the article still states, communication, stress and sexual intimacy were the most common problems in a relationship.

Here’s a beautiful Irish statistic: “Of the 30,000 couples who chose to get married in a Catholic Church in Ireland in the last two years, about 70% attended marriage preparation services with Accord. “ That’s just one provider who charges based on income, so the marriage prep statistic is probably even higher than 70%!

Oh, how I wish we could have the same statistic in the USA! Wouldn’t it be marvelous to say 70% of Americans took a pre-marital course? An online engaged couples inventory is available for anyone on our website;

It’s interesting that the couples in Ireland are experiencing many of the same issues being faced by Americans.
Being prepared for marriage and working on it continually with marriage education….now that is better than the luck of the Irish!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Did You and Your Spouse Laugh Today…Together?

posted by Michele Olson

Think back to dating your now husband or wife. Was there any laughter and fun in your relationship? Pretty much anyone reading this would have to say, YES! Think of your relationship now. Is there laughter and fun? Are you racking your brain or does the answer come easily?

Laughter is so important to a relationship. And it doesn’t matter if anyone else gets your merriment; it only matters if you two “get it.” In fact, if there are jokes that most people roll their eyes at, and you two are laughing your heads off, it’s a sign of a solid marriage.

Appalachian State University psychologists asked 52 couples to reminisce about fun times they had alone or together. The couples who recalled the shared laughs were also the couples who were most satisfied with their relationships. “When people laugh at the same thing, they validate each other’s opinions,” says lead author Doris Bazzini PhD. “And inside jokes or pet names-things others just don’t get- strengthen ties between couples.”

Going back to these moments can be a soothing balm in some of the rough patches.

So when you’re working on ways to strengthen your relationship, remember back to the types of things that made you laugh and enjoy each other’s sense of humor. Make a point of renting a funny DVD and watching it together, remember a joke or funny co-worker story to tell each other at the end of the day. Read something aloud from a magazine or book you are reading that will bring a smile to your loved one’s face. Take some time to laugh together today. Skipping the opportunity to bond through laughter is just not funny.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Well, How Did You Do on the Good Enough Marriage Test?

posted by Michele Olson
Ginger Tobias from "O, The Oprah Magazine" wrote an article that was picked up by MSN Lifestyle blog. After conveying some stories of marital discord, she wonders about the good old “grass is greener” feeling that many people secretly think about in their marriage. Or, are we foolishly holding out for a perfect marriage, one that really is never going to exist. She points to a study that Paul Amato, Ph.D., professor of sociology, demography, and family studies at Penn State, conducted. This 20-year study on 2,000 subjects says that 55 to 60 percent of divorcing couples are ending something that has real potential. Why? It’s the old “I love you, but I can’t be with you.” Boredom sets in or they feel their mate has not lived up to their expectations.

Say what? Breakfast in bed, gazing longingly into one another’s eyes and perfect breath isn’t happening at your house every minute of every day?

"It's important to recognize that many of these marriages would improve over time," Amato says, "and most of them could be strengthened through marital counseling and enrichment programs." (hint hint, is a great resource for those “enrichment programs.”)

Thus begins the test to see if your marriage is one of those “good enoughs” that will probably get better if you keep going. Here are the 10 from the article. Where do you fit in?

1. Are you exaggerating the negatives? For the next two months mark the good and bad days on your calendar to get a reality check.

2. Have you already left the marriage by emotionally withdrawing? Or by giving up all attempts to make the relationship better? If so, can you find a way to reengage?

3. Do you get so angry that you hit each other or throw things at least once a month? If the answer is yes, are you hanging on to a terrible relationship because you're afraid of being alone? Or because you're convinced it's the best you can do?

4. If you're frustrated because your husband won't change (you'd like him to be more forceful or manly, for example), is it really necessary that he does? Is there anything in your family history that may be driving your need to transform him? (For example, perhaps your father never stood up for you when you needed him to do so.)

5. Have you been teaching your husband the wrong lessons by not challenging his hurtful behavior? (You don't say anything when he criticizes you in public. He never washes the dishes, so you just do them, resentfully.)

6. Do you have fun together? Even when things are tough, do you make jokes about it? (A good sign.) If not, can you make time in your marriage for more play?

7. Are there conflicts that you've avoided in the relationship? What do you fear would happen if you confronted them?

8. Do you simply need more time alone? A weekend on your own every so often to make the heart grow fonder?

9. Has something occurred — a death, a big birthday, a job loss — that's throwing off your relationship and needs to be addressed?

10. Have you done everything you possibly can to make this marriage work? Are you certain he has heard your complaints? Have you tried a marriage-education class or couples therapy? If he won't go to counseling, have you gone yourself to see how you might save the relationship?

At we would like to shout loud and clear…have you tried a marriage education workshop? If not, why not? Thoughts on this article?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Maintaining Love While Raising Kids

posted by Michele Olson
First comes love, then comes marriage…then comes _____ in the baby carriage. The kid’s rhyme is a good starting point to think about marriage, and then marriage with kids.

Melissa Gibson Behunin writing in the talks about a theory that may help you keep on track if you are in the midst of figuring out how to do marriage and kids well.

She writes about psychologist Robert Sternberg’s triangular theory of love. He thinks that all relationships can be defined by the absence or presence of three main components.

Presence of these three =you are on the right road.

Absence = it’s time to see red flags and do something about it.

The temperatures of these three components….how they grow stronger and weaker are a good way to take the temperature of your relationship. The three components are:


First comes love:
Oh yes! Bluebirds and unicorns abound! Intimacy, passion and commitment are at an all time high. You are King and Queen of the world and nothing can stop you. You wonder why everyone doesn’t walk around in love just the way you do! Poor people! You’ve found one of the best things in life and why do they all look so lost?

Then comes marriage:
Not wedding, marriage. What? You think what? Your underwear are where? You said that in front of who? Ah, the tarnish starts to set in. We start to understand a little more why other people are walking around bumping into a few walls.

And then comes little Minnie Me in the baby carriage.

Ok. Any energy you had for intimacy, passion and commitment can be replaced by burp rags, building volcanoes for school assignments and eye rolling at your every word.

This article can help you take a new look at those three components and keep an eye on not letting things get away from you as a couple.

Intimacy: Be a friend. Write a love letter or note and don’t stop having intimate conversations about you, not just the kids. Be the initiator. Is that always fair? No. But it works, and if both of you take that attitude, it can really help.

Passion: According to the article, research suggests that happy couples set aside time for each other and reconnect through passion. Many articles in women’s magazines lately also suggest that if you wait for feeling like being passionate, you won’t ever arrive. Much like the field of dreams, “If you build it…” becomes true for many couples. Don’t just rely on your feelings.

Commitment: Mignon McLaughlin is quoted in the article: “A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.” Your children should be a great motivating factor for you staying together with these three prongs in place.

If you will keep your senses attuned to these three areas, you can be light years ahead of the game when the time comes that your kids officially make you empty nesters. You won’t be staring at each other wondering who that is in the other chair watching TV with you. Then you can start to appreciate that keeping an eye on these three areas really will pay long term rewards.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Married. Are You Part of an Endangered Species?

posted by Michele Olson

The Hamilton Spectator is a Canadian paper with an article by Kyle Macdonald that got me thinking. He asks if marriage is becoming an endangered species.

He states U.S. statistics in the article: “According to the U.S. Census Bureau, out of every 1,000 adult Americans about 9.8 per cent got married during 2009.

But in that same year, 4.95 per cent of every 1,000 people got divorced. This means that a little over 50 per cent of couples will divorce each year.

If things continue like this, getting married would be the equivalent of flipping a coin.”

He also talks about how on July 7, 2007, many couples went to Vegas to get married because of the lucky date: 7/7/07. They were thinking luck would bring them a good marriage.

Just like the people sitting around hoping the Publisher’s Clearing House guy knocks on their door, these people are misguided. You do not have to rely on luck or statistics to increase your chances of having a good, healthy marriage.

There are tangible things you can do.

1) If you are single or seriously dating, take part in some kind of relationship education. Don’t use the Disney fairy tales as your benchmark for knowing if you should go forward in a relationship. How to Avoid Falling in Love With a Jerk or Jerkette is a great beginning. Read the book or attend a workshop in your area.

2) If you are serious and about to get married, or engaged…then make sure you are taking the time to plan not only the wedding, but the marriage. An engaged couple’s check-up is available on our website and it’s a great beginning. We also offer you the opportunity to take it a step further be using those findings in an online class.

3) Once you are married, keep taking part in marriage education, either by reading, in workshops or online. offers a Couples Check up…perfect to see how you are doing.

Back to Mr. Macdonald’s question. Is marriage becoming an endangered species?

We do know that endangered species don’t become that way overnight. I found this on talking about what causes an endangered species.

Endangerment is a broad issue, one that involves the habitats and environments where species live and interact with one another. Although some measures are being taken to help specific cases of endangerment, the universal problem cannot be solved until humans protect the natural environments where endangered species dwell.

Think about that definition it terms of protecting your marriage…the place where your “species dwell.”

What kind of environment are you providing and protecting when it comes to your marriage?

Just like the animals, some things are being done, but imagine if everyone would commit to premarital and marital education for their relationships? Wouldn’t that be a great first step in making sure marriage doesn’t become an endangered species?

Monday, March 08, 2010

Now That's Beautiful Music

posted by Michele Olson

Alan and Marilyn Bergman (pictured a little younger and with Marvin Hamlisch) have been making beautiful music together as husband and wife for 53 years. Why do those names sound familiar? Because you probably know their music…literally. CBS Sunday morning did a wonderful profile of them yesterday as part of telling stories on the Oscars, but today, I cannot find the story on the site with all the other Oscar buzz! It’s frustrating because it was such a great interview about their marriage, as well as their Academy Award winning work. I did find a 2007 interview on NPR that you may enjoy.

Sinatra, Streisand, Rosemary Clooney ,Tony Bennett – they’ve all recorded this famous teams songs. Marilyn and Alan Bergman have been writing irresistible tunes together for over 50 years.

In describing their song writing style they talk about how it’s much like marriage. At one point, one partner is taking the lead and the other serving as editor. In a heartbeat, the roles can change, but always for the end result; beautiful music.

Alan wooed Marilyn by writing a song for her, and as songwriters, they’ve been working together ever since. “The Way We Were”: they wrote it.
Movies like “Tootsie” and “Thomas Crown Affair” all have their music.

“Maude” and “Good Times” TV theme songs were also written by this amazing team.

Sting, Barbra Streisand, Maureen McGovern, Johnny Mathis….they’ve all had hits from their music.

They are a great example of keeping the love alive, even when you are together most of the time. If anyone can zero in on the March 7th CBS Sunday Morning interview with them, please forward it to me at

This couple writing love songs for over 50 years while “walking the talk” is truly inspiring!

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Wisdom From Couples Married Over 50 Years

posted by Michele Olson

Staying married for fifty years. That’s an accomplishment. Staying together for fifty plus years and still really loving each other. That’s impressive.

MSN Lifestyle recently highlighted three couples who fall into that category. Read their stories.
A lifetime of working it out for Betty and Louis, Ayako and Pete and Stella and Ben. Their stories will encourage you in your own marriage. What kind of wisdom can we glean from these couples?
According to the article, here are some reasons they think their marriage has lasted so long:

We don't read newspapers at breakfast. We talk to each other." —Betty

"Our clocks click exactly the same. Whenever Betty wants to do something, I want to do it, too." —Louis

"My mother and daddy got along like peaches and cream. You see that sort of example and try to do what they did." —Betty

"We married young, but we were grounded. To make it work, you need to have a good head on your shoulders — which even some 35-year-olds don't have." —Louis

My father always told me, 'Marry a smart man.' Because if I married a smart man, I would never starve." —Ayako

"Let her go shopping. More than once, I've left a garage sale and gone to get my truck to carry all her antiques home. But true to Japanese tradition, we tolerate and accept every part of each other's personalities." —Pete

"When we just started out, Pete used to lose his temper a lot. The stress of his police job got to him. I always stayed calm, and soon he wanted to handle things like I do." —Ayako

"Ben doesn't say, 'I love you,' and I don't force him to. Instead, I appreciate it when he brings me a sandwich in bed. Especially since he hates crumbs in the sheets." —Stella

"Don't get angry over more than one thing at a time. People jump around from one issue to another." —Ben

"We still kiss. We're affectionate. But it comes naturally. It doesn't happen for show. Sometimes we just lay down in bed and hold hands." —Stella

No matter how long you’ve been married, what words of wisdom would you add?

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Co-Habitating! Once Again, The Headlines Can “Dupe” You

posted by Michele Olson
All kinds of news is coming out on co-habitating, or in real people speak; living together. The headlines in mainstream publications like USA Today say: Report: Cohabiting has little effect on marriage success.
That’s not entirely true.

When you read past the headline and get further into the article, you'll find the most important part. It backs up what we at have always encouraged you to do before you move in together. Take a moment to ask yourself some questions. We wonder: are you engaged or have firm plans to marry before you decide to move in?
If you’ve talked about it and neither of you expects marriage to come out of your decision, you probably don’t care about statistics regarding marital success from former co-habitors. But, if you do care, and you do want your relationship to lead to marriage at some point, you need to look at the statistics and ask some important questions. When you get past the headline and the first few paragraphs in the USA Today article ,you’ll find it’s the nature of your commitment that matters. Here's the tragedy; many couples never ask the questions or talk about it before moving in!

Couples making “living together” choices based on faith tenants have a clear benchmark with which to make their decisions. Those not making choices based on faith tenants still need to be diligent about asking themselves some questions before they commit to a partner by living together. Too many couples just move in together without asking anything about the future, often with one party assuming more than the other partner has committed to, even verbally. The headlines never tell the story of the heartbreak and heartache that happens when the couples split.
Coined in a phrase as “sliding vs. deciding”, many couples don’t stop and think about what moving in together may mean for their future. They make assumptions that it will lead to marriage, often their desire, when the other party has no intention of it leading to marriage. They react on feelings. While that seems really wonderful in the movies, it doesn’t work in real life.

So here's the question again: are me and my partner on the same page about this relationship leading to in marriage in an agreed upon time frame?

If you and your partner have not talked about this, and you don’t have a clear idea of how you are going into the future, it’s time to put everything on pause until you do have the answers that matter to you. Perhaps the USA Today headline should read:
The Nature of Your Commitment Level When You Co-habitate Will Affect Your Future Success in Marriage

At least then it would cause all the confused people reading the stories to ask each other some important questions about the nature of their own commitment. Then the article would be helping people with their future rather than just promoting an “our statistics are better than your statistics” agenda.

At the end of the day, people will make their own choices. As relationship educators, we don’t make decisions for people - we just want them to have the facts and knowledge to make good decisions for themselves. So, here’s another question: what’s the “nature” of the article you are reading when you make your life decisions? Is your well-being the main concern of the writers?

Excerpt from USA Today article:
The report takes a closer look at those who live together before marriage, including race and ethnicity, education level, upbringing and whether couples were engaged when they moved in.

"There's a real difference in the types of cohabitations out there," Mosher says. "We can show that now with these national data."

The data show that those who live together after making plans to marry or getting engaged have about the same chances of divorcing as couples who never cohabited before marriage. But those who move in together before making any clear decision to marry appear to have an increased risk of divorce.

Men who were engaged when they moved in with their future spouse had about the same odds that their marriage would last at least 10 years as those who didn't live together before the wedding: 71% for engaged men and 69% for non-cohabiting men. Among engaged women, the probability the marriage would survive for 10 years was similar (65%) to the probability for women who didn't cohabit (66%).

That's a finding Scott Stanley, co-director of the Center for Marital and Family Studies at the University of Denver, sees in smaller samples. For Stanley, the "nature of commitment at the time of cohabitation is what's important."
- By Sharon Jayson, USA TODAY 3-2-2010

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Love it or Hate it: The Marriage Ref Gets Reaction

posted by Michele Olson
With the half hour premiere of The Marriage Ref, the reaction has been mixed. The news was pretty negative on Twitter, with most people against it and against the idea that the panelists are not model marriage mentors.

Jerry is probably not worried as he’s been through this before. Jerry’s very popular show called Seinfeld was originally turned down by the Fox Network and picked up by NBC. It didn’t get into the top 30 in the ratings until the third season. We have not seen the full hour version of the Marriage Ref yet, and most shows are not well loved out of the gate. They take time to build an audience and for the “actors” to get more comfortable with the project.

As an entity concerned with the well-being of marriage it’s been a good show for so far. It caused a local TV station to want an interview because of the show being in the headlines. It’s given anyone watching the show a platform to talk about other couple’s communication, which can lead to more conversation about communication in their own marriage. To the show’s credit, they have only chosen couples who seem to genuinely like each other outside of their spotlighted dilemma. The message is getting out: you can disagree and still be crazy about each other.

Couple’s watching it are spending time together and most likely laughing and recalling some instances in their own marriage that they could imagine putting on the show. The whole idea that marriage isn’t easy or perfect but still a great way to live can also come through as the show progresses.

Compared to many TV shows that glamorize affairs, we could do far worse than The Marriage Ref. We also get to see someone who was dedicated to bachelorhood for years actually talking about liking marriage in real life. (The real Jerry Seinfeld)

Stay tuned for more reaction, but once again, realize that real resources exist for marriage and healthy relationships at Let’s see some viral tweeting and blogging about that!

Monday, March 01, 2010

Single, Black and Dating Outside Your Race

posted by Michele Olson

Ever see a 1967 movie starring Spencer Tracy, Sidney Poitier and Katharine Hepburn called “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?” The story revolves around a couple whose attitudes are challenged when their daughter brings home a fiancĂ© who is black. Since this was big news way back in 1967, you would think interracial dating would hardly be an afterthought. But that doesn’t seem to be the case, especially when it comes to African American women dating outside their race.

Single Black Women Being Urged to Date Outside Race is the title of a recent Washington Post article by staff writer DeNeen L. Brown. She took a look at a new book out by Karyn Langhorne Folan. Folan is the author of "Don't Bring Home a White Boy: And Other Notions That Keep Black Women From Dating Out," published this month by Karen Hunter, an imprint of Pocket Books.
The “now” Mrs.Folan wrote the book because of the reaction to a blog article she wrote on the subject. She wrote it from the perspective of someone who was tired of waiting for a good black man who matched her education level to come along. She decided to date anyone that seemed of interest to her, whatever race they happened to be.
Here are the facts; single black women with college degrees outnumber single black men with college degrees almost 3 to 1 in major urban areas such as Washington, according to a 2008 population survey by the U.S. Census Bureau.
Translation: those are not good numbers when it comes for single black women hoping to marry a black man with a college degree. Karyn suggests looking elsewhere if you want a better chance of marrying. “Elsewhere” is outside your race.
DeNeen Brown writes in her article: “By promoting interracial love for some black women, Folan explains that she is not suggesting that there aren't any good, single black men out there, or that every educated single black woman will not find an educated black mate. She is not bashing all black men or implying that all black women are aiming for the altar. The writer, mom and Harvard-educated lawyer says that she is just offering a reasonable solution to the shortage of available black men. “

A blogger, Lisa Vazquez also writes about this subject at Other blogs on the subject include and

According to the 2008 population survey, interracial marriages have doubled in the past decade. About 73 percent of black/white marriages are between black men and white women, according to the survey.

The article cites many of the feelings about the subject from the African American community. It’s worth a read. If you are a single African American woman, what has been your experience?