What We Can Learn from Actor Michael Caine’s Marriage Advice

Here’s some thought provoking marriage advice from famous Oscar winning actor, Michael Caine. Now an octogenarian, Mr. Caine shared his cheeky and insightful views about the secrets to having a long-term and happy marriage during an interview with Esquire Magazine. He had several interesting perspectives. Let’s take a look.

Celebrity: Actor Michael Caine
Length of Marriage: Married to his second wife Shakira of 42 years


During the interview, Mr. Caine was asked about the important elements to maintaining his successful marriage. Well, his first answer was to always have two bathrooms! We told you he was cheeky! So, the gist of this suggestion was to avoid sharing a bathroom with your wife or you will probably have trouble getting in there for your own shaving, teeth brushing, and other needs. Interestingly, we have first-hand knowledge of another couple who were very happy after they married, not just because of the usual love and marriage reasons, but also because their new house came with two bathrooms so they wouldn’t have to share one bathroom and toilet anymore. So, perhaps there is really something to this idea, even though we haven’t come across this while reviewing marriage research studies yet!

Next, the actor reported that he and his wife are both equal partners and indicated that this was “terribly important.” Mr. Caine indicated that they both work hard each day in their own way. In their case, he stated that she is not “the little woman” but that “she runs the whole business” while he works on screen. This highlights the importance of valuing the work and efforts that each partner of the couple does for the good of the family, the unity of the couple, and the success of the marriage.

This is in stark contrast to having inequality in a relationship. Inequality in a marriage often contributes to lack of respect towards one spouse initially and then to mutual lack of respect. This all prompts instability and distress in a relationship. What might “inequality” look like? It’s when one person starts to feel and act as if they are “more (important) than” their spouse. They also use words and actions to convey this and may become more controlling and possibly even aggressive in time. So with his second idea, Michael Caine shares an insightful ingredient to marriage success- become partners that are both working hard, both equally valued by each other, and working towards a shared vision as a couple.

His final tip for having a successful marriage is: “You must not lead parallel lives.” Mr. Caine explains that parallel lines do not meet and suggests that in a marriage that would be the equivalent of leading more and more separate lives. This would be where perhaps your spouse doesn’t go with you often and then doesn’t know some of your friends. Also, you start spending less and less time together and leading separate lives (parallel lives). He reports that in his marriage, they are usually spending time together and know each other’s friends. He states that “you’ve got to introduce your wife to everything.” To summarize: Avoid parallel lives and introduce your husband or wife to everything so that you generally are participating in life together as a couple, rather than leading separate lives.

And although it is important to have some personal time and interests as well, both for balance and respect in a successful marriage, certain things will create parallel lives that can work against you if you are trying to have a happy marriage. Destructive parallel life behaviors can include keeping certain relationships secret, not inviting your spouse along (they can say yay or nay, but at least ask), and spending more and more time away from your spouse and with others instead.

So it turns out that Mr. Caine shared some good marriage advice from his experience in a 40+ year marriage. Hopefully another one of his legacies can include touching the lives of some couples with his suggestions as couples endeavor to likewise have their own successful, multi-decade marriages.

Elizabeth Hekimian-Williams with Envision Love, LLC offers a fun and interactive online premarital preparation course that provides couples with more ideas and opportunities to bolster their relationship. Visit http://www.FLPremaritalCourse.com to get started on the path towards enjoying a long-lasting and happy marriage.

What Not To Say to Your Significant Other


We’ve all been told at some point in our lives to “think before we speak”. In relationships, it is very important to give proper thought before discussing certain topics. Especially if you hope to mutually agree on some type of change. Here are some serious topics that couples occasionally need to discuss, and how you can approach the topics with the degree of care that your significant other deserves.

1. More Time Together

Your Mission: To express your interest in spending more time with your partner. You used to spend tons of time together, but life has gotten in the way!

Don’t Say: “I’m very unhappy with the amount of time we spend together.”
Saying it in this way can easily be taken as offensive, and could make your partner immediately unhappy with the direction of the conversation. It is also very vague and could make your partner imagine the worst.

Do Say: “Remember when we were able to go on dates every week? I was thinking we could try to spend some more time together. I really miss that.”
This strengthens your bond as you recall your past history together and it gets your intention across clearly. Even if you are both busy and can’t squeeze much time in for fun together, your partner will likely have mutual feelings and be open to making attempts to make it happen.

2. More Time Apart

Your Mission: To tell your partner that, while you love them, you want some private time to spend out with the girls/boys.

Don’t Say: “I need some space.”
Not only can this be very rude (depending on the tone and inflection that is used), but this phrase is often said when a relationship is in critical danger. Your partner could take this to mean that you’re not happy within the relationship. It could make them feel like they aren’t providing for your emotional or physical needs. Don’t make your partner fear the worst simply because you’d like to spend more time with your family or friends, or do something that you enjoy that they don’t.

Do Say: “It’s been so long since I’ve gone out with/to [insert name/activity]. I love spending time with you, but I’d also like to dedicate some of my time to doing that. Maybe while I’m out, you can go [insert activity].”
Saying something like the above offers the opportunity to discuss the topic in a calm and approachable manner. It also indicates that you place value on the time that is spent with your partner and that you don’t simply want to escape from him. By giving him an idea of what he could do while you go off to do your own activities, there is a better chance of him understanding the reasons for your desire to spend time doing your own thing. For example, if he doesn’t spend time with his friends very often because you don’t particularly get along well with them, he could see them and enjoy himself while you do something you enjoy, elsewhere.

3. Finances

Your Mission: Get a low-stress discussion on finances started.

Don’t Say: “We need to talk about our finances.”
This phrase just sounds ominous! It can almost sound like you’re placing the financial blame on your partner right from the start. In this case, it could lead to defensive behavior and create a tense environment to talk about this topic. Remember, money is one of the most common reasons that people argue. By thinking carefully before approaching this topic, you will both be able to more effectively handle the tasks ahead.

Do Say: “Could you help me work on our finances?”
This simple question, when asked with respect, is a perfect lead-in for this discussion. Money can be a stressful topic, but by including yourself in the question directly, you aren’t placing blame. Instead, you are indicating that you would like the share the load. Not only that, by asking for your significant other to take part, you are demonstrating that their opinions are valuable and desired.

Take our premarital preparation course at http://FLPremaritalCourse.com to learn more about each other, gain marriage-enhancing skills, and get a great start towards your happily-ever-after.

National Courtesy Month: 4 Ideas for Couples


September is National Courtesy Month!

In celebration, we’re challenging each other at the office and our readers to come up with and use new ideas to increase courteous attitudes and behaviors towards loved ones. Let’s start with the basics.

What is courtesy? A quick online search pulls up definitions that include ways of thinking, feeling and acting, which express politeness, civility, and respect. Here are some ideas to get you started…

  1. Instead of demanding that your partner do you a favor (“Get me …”) or assuming that your partner will do your “usual” favor for you (such as making you coffee, or fetching you something you asked for)… politely ask for the favor including the word “please” and also be sure to include a heart-felt “thank you so much” after you have been the lucky recipient of the favor being done for you. Stop thinking of these usual favors as entitlements. Remember that the other person is actually choosing to do you a favor- so be polite in your requests and be purposefully appreciative.
  2. When you’ve asked for or received a spontaneous favor from your loved one, challenge yourself to come up with an idea to reciprocate by doing some nice favor for your loved one during the next few hours. That way you can help make them feel well cared for and appreciated by you too in the same day. If they haven’t asked you for any favor, ask them if they’d like this or that until something strikes their fancy and do that for them. These little things count and they add up over time.
  3. Think of things you are doing that are the opposites of being polite and change your ways to being the more polite version of you. Convince yourself that you can do this for a week, and before you know it, you’ve done it for a month. A year? Get courtesy to start snowballing in your household! Here are some examples to get your ideas flowing.
    • Contribute to the niceness of your living space by putting away things or cleaning up without being asked to.
    • Help your mate with a task so you are instead doing it together. That will make it more fun and get it done faster when done with your help and companionship.
    • Stop using offensive words when communicating with your partner. Avoid cursing, being rude, yelling at, or criticizing your partner. Instead, choose to contribute to the emotional well-being and self-esteem of your loved one. Encourage and praise your partner for all that you cherish about them.
  4. Give undivided attention to your loved one when they are talking to you. Put the cell phone down, mute or turn off the television, possibly even make a physical connection, such as with a touch to their shoulder or hand. Make eye contact and listen wholeheartedly to show respect and care.

All of these suggestions go a long way towards showing more love and respect towards your partner. However, they are just the beginning. We’re sure you can come up with some clever or new ways to make your loved one feel more respected. So make this National Courtesy Month be just the first of many months and years where you both benefit from courtesy as a vital part of your relationship.

Go to FLPremaritalCourse.com to learn more strategies for a long-lasting, happy relationship. Please share with your family and friends too!

Beating Boredom in Your Relationship

boredcoupleOver time, couples often find themselves in a steady state, where the relationship’s initial highs and lows smooth out into a more predictable pattern. During this time, friendship matters as much, or more than sexual passion. Although this relaxed state can be comfortable and fulfilling, sometimes relationships experience a sort of boredom that occurs when the steady state shifts from comfort to stagnation.

How can you combat boredom in your relationship?

Communicate your feelings with your partner. It’s possible that your partner is becoming discontent with the routine that your relationship has fallen into, as well. Since everyone is different, is it important to communicate these issues. After all, what is boring to you might be exciting or neutral to someone else. Once you determine where you both stand, you can figure out the best method to spice up your relationship.

Predictability is the most common reason for boredom in a relationship. The best way to resolve it is to find ways to change up your routine. You can do this by taking part in some of the things your partner enjoys, and vice versa. Additionally, you can go out of your way to do new things together or engage in some friendly competition. You could also consider working towards a healthier future together by getting active.

Check out FLPremaritalCourse.com to learn more strategies for a long-lasting, happy relationship. Please share with your family and friends too!