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Combining prosperous work lives and balanced personal lives
July 2002

My goal is to bring you news, insights, and information about leading a balanced and prosperous life.

Getting the Most from Your Relationships.

Most of what I have learned about life I learned from my daughter. That is probably because she went to kindergarten and I didn't - they didn't have kindergarten when I was a child, although, as I have reassured my daughter many times, they did have electricity and I did not know George Washington.

When my daughter was three, she told me, probably in response to my suggesting she put on a sweater because I was cold, "Each person is Boss of them ownselves." Are you the Boss of all your selves or are there some areas, your personal relationships, for example, where the same assertiveness and confidence you exhibit in your work roles disappears? It may be because you have never thought about how to take control of the satisfaction in your relationships and push your own expectations.

July, 1995. Christine had just gotten engaged and we were doing some seasonal yard cleanup and talking about wedding plans. "Some of my college friends think I'm making a big mistake, planning to marry Jason, especially my friends from my women's studies classes."

"So, they think you are going to be selling out, giving up on your personal goals to marry."

"Exactly, they say that marriage does not benefit women and I am wondering if that is true."

Thus began a seven year mother-daughter project that began with researching the question of whether marriage helps or harms women and has lead to several professional presentations and a program for lay audiences that we present at least once a year.

What We Found
Marriage helps women. Married people, male and female, are healthier and wealthier than singles. They live longer, and live in better health than their single counterparts. They make more money and they keep more money, accumulating more wealth than singles.

There is a big BUT. The BUT is that women need to marry well. Women, more than men, suffer more long term health problems in an unhappy marriage. Now every woman feels a call to live her life in a marriage relationship. But if you do marry, marry well.

How to Marry Well
Even women who are very good at planning their career lives, often fail to plan their romantic lives Somehow taking charge in this area makes it all less romantic. However, a happy marriage is not a mysterious occurrence. Marriage researchers can predict marital success or failure with about 80% accuracy rate 15 years after observing couples during their engagement.

Here are some suggestions for singles:

  • Ask yourself the following questions:
    • Why do I want to marry?
    • What do I hope to get out of marriage?
    • What do I need to do to become proactive about finding an appropriate partner?

    The answers to the questions will guide you to a plan for marrying well.

  • Get a search strategy. Make a list of qualities that you want in a marriage partner. Now figure out where someone with those qualities spends their time. Spend time there yourself not just to meet potential partners but to fulfill your own recreational, intellectual, or spiritual needs. The place of meeting can automatically give you a match of interests. Example: If you want you to marry an alcoholic, go to singles bars. If you want to marry someone who shares your faith, date people you meet at your place of worship.

  • Screen people in and out using your list of preferred qualities. The best time to screen potential mates is during the first month or two, not after three years of dating.

  • Build a good history with potential mates. Do a wide variety of activities to get to know the many aspects of their personalities and to build a history of activities you can return to later when you are married. You won't necessarily know love at first sight so treat all your dates respectfully and expect respect to be reciprocal. Don't tolerate being treated badly.

How to Stay Well-Married

  • Take a win-win attitude about your lives - that you both can get most of what you want in life. No one should have to make a long-term sacrifice of dreams for the other.

  • Be a good finder. Recognize how great your partner really is. Remind yourself of all his good qualities. Make a list of your partner's good qualities so you can read it over on the bad days when you forget why you married him.

  • Have an attitude of gratitude. Be grateful when your partner does nice things for you - thank him often. Recognize the small sacrifices your partner makes for you. Expect to make healthy sacrifices and expect to be appreciated.

  • Don't whine and complain, ask for what you need. Asking shows you are serious about your needs. Complaining gives away your power.

  • Act as if your partner has your best interests at heart. Refuse to get caught up in the popular "Blame Game," played wherever women gather in which "all men are jerks" and all women are helpless victims.

  • Apologize often. People often hurt each other unintentionally. Stay away from overgeneralizing, "you always, and you never."

  • Build your marriage net-worth by maintaining a 5:1 ratio in the emotional bank account. Make frequent deposits in account by maintaining fun, friendship, and sensuality.

  • Become a communication expert. Master conflict management skills. Lower your marital stress; protect your health.

If you marry, marry well and stay well-married.

If you are in the Baltimore area, join us for our workshop to get even more suggestions for wise women who want to get the most out of their marriages. Bring your mom, your daughter, and your girlfriends single and married. There is a companion workshop for men a few days later, same place, same registration led by our own Dr. Phil.

References
Divorce Busters and A Women's Guide to Changing Her Man by Michele Weiner-Davis can show you how to have a better relation-ship even if your spouse won't go to marriage therapy or marriage workshops.

Waite, L & Gallagher, M. (2000). The case for marriage. N.Y.: Doubleday. Easy to read but data based presentation of why marriage benefits both partners.

Be Boss of all yourselves,
Susan Robison & Christine Robison Gray


BossWoman coaching topics include work-life balance, career transitions, building your business or practice, time management, and increasing productivity.
Up and Coming Workshops

From Susan Robison and Christine Robison Gray
Title: From Mother to Daughter: Wise Woman’s Guide to Extraordinary Marriages
When: July 15, 2002
Where: St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Community, Sykesville, MD
What: Marital cynicism is preventing many women from getting the full benefits of one of the smartest life choices possible: marriage. Married women live longer, live better, and keep more money that they make, and rate themselves and their marriages as happy --- when their marriages work for them. A recent survey of high school women shows that they don’t expect to make happy marriages and research on twenty-somethings indicate they intend to have a happy marriage eventually but are doing nothing to get closer to that goal. This lively workshop will show women how to marry well and get the most out of their marriages.
Who: Newlywed wives, wives of many years, single women who hope to marry or remarry, and moms who want to help their daughters get the most out of marriage. This workshop will tell you what your mother should have told you about making an extraordinary marriage.
Note: a companion workshop for men will be led by Dr. Phil Robison on Thursday, July 18. Same location.
Fee: None, but please preregister.
How: Preregister with Denise O’Connor at 410-552-5402.


Telelearning is attracting busy professions like yourself. Imagine just-in-time learning without having to transport yourself anywhere other than your home of office. I am currently a student in an advanced coaching skills class taught by Dr. Ben Dean of MentorCoach. It is a fabulous learning opportunity with fellow students all over the country. As part of a course assignment, a fellow student and I did a workshop for women balancing multiple roles. We intend to offer this workshop again and plan to offer another workshop late in the winter on how to survive completing a doctoral dissertation. More on this later.
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Copyright 2002 Susan Robison. All rights reserved. The above material is copyrighted but you may retransmit or distribute it to whomever you wish as long as not a single word is changed, added or deleted, including the contact information. However, you may not copy it to a web site without my permission.

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