By America’s #1 Love and Marriage Experts.

Understanding Antarctica and the challenges faced by anyone attempting to live and work there explains the adventuresome nature of the couples we interviewed. Antarctica has the coldest, driest, windiest, and harshest climate on Earth. Living there, even for short periods of time, is not for the faint of heart.

When we planted our feet on the continent of Antarctica a few days ago, we became the FIRST marriage researchers in the world to interview successfully married couples on ALL SEVEN CONTINENTS of the Earth. And we want you to know that we are very proud of that accomplishment!

When we began our journey of investigation and research over three decades ago, we asked this simple question – "Do great marriages around the world share common and pervasive characteristics?"

And now, after more than 30 years of research in all 50 states of the USA, in 47 countries, and on all seven continents on Earth, our answer to the question is, YES! They do, even in the most isolated continent on the planet, Antarctica!

Considering that there can be six months of daylight and six months of darkness, depending on the season, living in Antarctica for even a short period of time can have its psychological and biorhythm challenges. The isolation and distance of Antarctica from the rest of the world can have deleterious effects on the marriages and relationships of people who work there or in the continent’s environs.

Very few people stay on the Continent for more than six months at a time. It is very rare for a person to “winter-over” and work for a full continuous year on The Ice.

In the Austral summer as many as 4000 people (mostly scientists and support staff) live there. Tourist ships bring about 30,000 people a year to the continent, but almost exclusively during the Antarctic summer season (November-February), and very few individuals actually are allowed to set foot on the continent.

There are many misconceptions about Antarctica. For example, is it a country? The answer is NO! There are NO cities or towns and NO permanent residents. Moreover, by treaty agreement, NO country in the world owns Antarctica! Antarctica is NOT a country; it is a Continent, and an isolated one at that.

One person asked us if they have nice hotels and places to eat? The answer is a resounding NO. There are NO hotels. There are No restaurants. In fact, there are No roads, bridges, cars or gas stations.

Another person who learned of our trip asked us if there is much poverty in Antarctica. Again, the answer is a big NO. A citizen of the USA can only get there if they are scientists funded by the National Science Foundation; members of the US Air Force who have been assigned there (most all who go to Antarctica volunteer to go); people who volunteer to work there in support roles (cooks, mechanics, etc.); tourists; and those arriving on an expedition ship that are conducting research. The latter category includes us. We are marriage researchers and this is the only way could get to Antarctica to complete our research on successful marriages around the world.

Antarctica is unique amongst the world’s seven continents. Understanding this is an important first step towards gaining a perspective of the adventuresome spirit of the people who work and travel there. Our YouTube video of Antarctica Penguins and More will give you a glimpse of this magnificent continent.

During our expedition to Antarctica, we interviewed a number of married couples (mostly scientists and expedition team members) to ascertain if the long periods of separation and isolation create unique and specific challenges to their marital relationship. The good news, of those people we interviewed on this expedition, the most important finding is this – their marriages survive and thrive for the most part because they recognize that communication is at the heart of their relationship. Keeping in frequent touch with their spouse during long periods of separation is critical to sustaining their marital relationship.

Interestingly, the couples traveling on the National Geographic Explorer (the ship we sailed to and from Antarctica) are explorers by nature. Every couple we talked to and/or interviewed has traveled the world extensively. They love being together and find that their many journeys can actually strengthen their marital relationship. Moreover, many volunteered to us that these travels kept their marriages vibrant, exciting, and alive.

We were also interested in determining if the "Seven Pervasive Characteristics of a Successful Marriage" that we have discovered in our worldwide search for great marriages around the world, apply to people who work in or travel to Antarctica. While we expected to find some differences from the norm, we did not find any. Quite the contrary, our interviews reinforced our previous findings that great marriages around the world are driven by common themes.

In summary, here is what we have discovered anew on this trip to Antarctica. Successful marriage, love, and relationships all require simple acts. Simple gestures. Simple conversations. Success in love and marriage depends upon an accumulation of the doing the simple things to form the foundation for building a love that lasts.

The seven key ingredients or themes that define a successful marriage are easy to understand, yet difficult for many couples to practice in their relationship. As we described in Building a Love that Lasts, common themes such as Togetherness, Truthfulness, and Respect are evident in the couples with successful marriages that work and live on The Ice.

As you would expect, one theme that is especially strong in these adventuresome couples is the seventh theme of Surprise. The notion of variety and excitement characterize their love. Successful marriage is engaging, never boring, and full of unpredictable things. They don’t always do that which is predictable. They upend expectancies. They truly believe variety is the spice of life!

It seems that successfully married couples around the world share much in common. After 30+ years of wandering the Earth in search of great marriages we are more convinced of the truth of this notion than ever.

Whether it’s the top of the world, the bottom of the world, or all around the world, it is reassuring to know that great marriages are possible.

If you read Building a Love that Lasts you can find out how to build all seven of these key characteristics into your marriage. You too can have a truly great marriage!

Creating a successful marriage is not always the easiest thing to do. Your visiting our blog suggests you are highly interested in making your marriage work! And truthfully, we have learned over 30 years of marriage research that there are proven effective ways to ensure a happy and healthy marriage. In fact, we took hundreds of tips from the thousands of happy couples we interviewed and put them into our award-winning and bestselling book, Building a Love that Lasts: The Seven Surprising Secrets of Successful Marriage

**Today, you can see how you stack up to the best marriages around the world. Take the Marriage Quiz to assess your chances of achieving a successful marriage of your own.

In love and marriage the simple things matter. Love well!

Author's Bio: 

As America’s #1 Love and Marriage Experts and award-winning authors, Drs. Charles and Elizabeth Schmitz help international audiences answer questions about love, marriage and relationships. With over 30 years of research on love and successful marriage across seven continents of the world and their own 46-year marriage, the Doctors know what makes relationships work.

Get started with America's #1 Love and Marriage Experts by taking their Marriage Quiz or sending your questions to Ask the Doctors for Marriage Advice.

Additional Resources covering Marriage can be found at:

Website Directory for Marriage
Articles on Marriage
Products for Marriage
Discussion Board
Drs. Charles and Elizabeth Schmitz, the Official Guides To Marriage