Henry Kellerman, Ph.D.

Henry Kellerman Ph.D.

Thinking Matters

The Most Important Ingredient in Marriage

The most important ingredient in marriage.

Posted Jan 13, 2010

It's not a secret. It's really obvious. The most important ingredient in a relationship generally, and in marriage in particular is ‘talking.' That's right; talking is ultimately far more important than initial physical attractions or generally love-at-first-sight experiences.

Of all marriages that start out with love at first sight, 50% divorce rate. Of all marriages that start out with a strong physical attraction, 50% divorce rate. Of all marriages that contain a strong tradition of talking things over, 15% divorce rate is high.

Now, what does it mean to talk things over? It means that each person must talk about dissatisfactions with the other as well declaring positive feelings. In addition, each person must try to reveal personal dissatisfactions with the self. This means that people need to learn and practice sharing personal insecurities and inadequacy feelings with the partner. It's more difficult for men than it is for women.

Why should it be more difficult for men? The answer concerns issues regarding pride, and a die-hard defense against appearing weak, as well as a humongous defense against any possibility of feeling humiliated. The cultural so-called positive stereotype of the strong silent type, is really a cover for the man who is radiated with pretense, the inability to talk, and because of it, really without courage. In such a case, ‘strong' means defensive and ‘silent' means the inability to talk.

So, the question is: How are we as humans different from lizards, or even amoeba? And the answer is that we can talk. Do you want to save your marriage? Do you want to start your marriage or initial relationship correctly? Then talk, talk, talk. If you do so, you will really be creating a tradition in the marriage that can enable you both to manage any kind of difficulty.

Good luck!


Be able to say no at least once in a while and then be available to discuss it.

The Dictionary Corner

Free-floating anxiety - Equivalent to generalized anxiety whereby no single event or person has yet been identified as the cause of the tension and disturbance.

Doppelganger - The rather idiosyncratic notion that somewhere every person has a double. In delusional states the person is convinced of the presence of such a person.

Misogyny - Hatred of women.

More Posts