Q: Why are there so many unhappy marriages?
Marie Sakosky-Kelly — Great marriages don't just happen. They're the result of conscious decision, effort and an ongoing commitment. We have the power to determine the quality of our marriage. Deciding to commit to a better marriage will enrich the lives of both partners. Remember also that we all bring childhood wounds to our marriages. As the saying goes, "The trauma of childhood becomes the drama of adulthood." Old hurts can make or break us. Marriage can make or break your happiness. Focus on balance, on juggling your work demands, your home life and your relationship. You have to keep them in check.
Q: What's the most important ingredient in a successful marriage?
John D. Kelly, IV — Maintaining a resilient marriage in the face of modern-day challenges takes true commitment. They say that success in marriage is not only about finding the right partner, it's about being the right partner. Make the decision to have high-integrity values. Your commitment in your marriage is a decision. You have to make that decision to honor your commitment every day.
Q: How do you maintain that commitment in the face of adversity?
John D. Kelly, IV — Live in the moment. Forget the past. Forgiveness liberates. And be the best we can now, and choose to love. Your mission is to make your significant other feel loved and lovable. Focus on the relationship, not the things. The world is promoting more and more that it's all about the Benjamins, the house, the car. But you need to focus on your relationship because that's what really going to sustain you.
Q: What else do you recommend to help maintain that strong bond?
Marie Sakosky-Kelly — Try the skin-to-skin challenge. Make the commitment to cuddle naked for 20 minutes to reconnect emotionally. Just hold each other and relish the closeness. Be present, with no expectations.
Q: Any other tips?
John D. Kelly, IV — Never go to bed angry. It is more important to be in relationship than to be "right." Married couples like to push each other's buttons. Instead of mentors, they can become tormentors. The ego causes some partners to want to always be right, to always be the controlling one. Don't let unresolved things get away from you.
Q: How can busy couples find the time needed for a strong marriage?
Marie Sakosky-Kelly — Figure out how many hours a day and week you spend on the job versus your relationship. You have to make up for it. It's not the quantity of time, it's the quality of time. You can't just work, work, work. But we get caught in the trap of work, work, work because that's where you get your satisfaction and your kudos. Instead of doing one more thing at the office, give that time to be in the relationship. Make decisions that are good for your marriage.
Q: What will we learn from your presentation?
John D. Kelly, IV — We'll touch on the keys to a rich marriage: your commitment, respect, investment, romance, taking time for fun, being open to growth and — a big one — forgiveness.