By America’s #1 Love and Marriage Experts.

Here we go again – interviewing successfully married couples around the world!

This time we have made a return visit to Europe and are pleased to say that we have added two countries we have not been in before – Andorra and the Czech Republic! In our quest to discover the world’s greatest marriages, our list of countries visited has reached 45 and have occurred on 6 of the 7 continents of the world—Antarctica next year for us! It’s a tough job, but somebody has to do it!

As avid train travelers, we decided to make the six-hour jaunt from Munich to Prague by rail. As you probably know, the Europeans rely on rail service far more than we do in the USA. And frankly, their rail service is terrific, with few exceptions. And did we mention, romantic!!

Our first experiences with the romance of European rail travel began nearly 30 years ago and still today; we can’t get enough of it! European rail travel is efficient, on-time, comfortable, and relatively inexpensive. You can cover a lot of ground with little wear and tear on the body. And let’s be clear – there is nothing quite as romantic as having dinner on a train with the one you love enjoying a good bottle of wine! The sleepover we will have on a train from Paris to Barcelona in a couple days will be icing on the cake!

We chose the Czech Republic this time for a number of reasons. First of all, the Czech Republic, formerly part of a country called Czechoslovakia, was part of the communist Soviet Union for 40 years. When the Berlin wall came down in 1989, the Czechoslovakia gained its freedom. Through its “Velvet Revolution” the Czech people regained the freedom they had lost through the tyranny of Adolf Hitler and later the enslavement by the Soviet Empire. The Czech Republic was born in 1993.

Let’s remember, this country – the country of the great composer Antonin Dvorak and the New World Symphony (the 8th) – has been a land of romance, creativity, great music, and wonderful people for centuries. The Nazi’s and the Soviet’s darn near beat it out of them but, thankfully, they did not succeed.

Now, as you ride by train from the German border into Prague, you realize that the past 21 years of freedom have allowed much of the former spirit and ingenuity of the Czech people to rise to the occasion once again. Without a doubt, the Czech’s have had a struggle converting from everything state-run to individual freedom, entrepreneurship, and boundless creativity – and they are succeeding by leaps and bounds. Let’s face it, a free and creative people like the Czech’s did not thrive under communism but, thankfully, their spirit survived.

Here we are tonight in an amazingly beautiful city – Prague, Czech Republic. Thank goodness the Allies did not bomb this magnificent architectural wonder into oblivion during the Second World War, even though Adolph Hitler and his Nazi minions ran the place.

Prague survives as a testament to the spirit of its people and to their love of freedom. Successful marriage in the Czech Republic reflects that spirit, and today we interviewed a couple that is pure Czech when it comes to successful love and marriage.

Katarina and Aleksander are a very interesting couple. He actually holds dual citizenship in Canada and the Czech Republic while Katarina is a native born and bred Czech. They have been married for 40 years!

For a time, Aleksander lived in Toronto, Canada. He met Katarina while traveling to our hometown, St. Louis, Missouri, to see a transplanted fellow countryman. What’s the probability of our interviewing a couple in the Czech Republic that had actually met and fallen in love in our hometown? Talk about fate!

Katarina was visiting a friend in St. Louis who had fled her native land, Czechoslovakia. Like Aleksander, she did so to flee Soviet domination and communism. Aleksander was living in Canada for the same reason. He and Katarina had a long-distance love affair for two years before they got married.

Following the destruction of the Berlin Wall and the “Velvet Revolution” in Czechoslovakia in 1989, they both returned to their native land, now called the Czech Republic.

Today, they own a small boat and give tours on the Vltava River in Prague. As more and more tourists from America, Europe, and Asia discover this beautiful city, Aleksander and Katarina’s boat touring business will thrive even more!

We thoroughly enjoyed our interview with Aleksander and Katarina on their boat today. They are very much in love, down to earth, thankful for what they now have in a free and democratic country, and delighted to share the “secrets” of their successful marriage with others.

Here are the “secrets of love” from Prague according to these two lovebirds:

1. Never let distance get in the way of your love for each other. Even though you may be separated by long distances from the one you love, you should never let the flame of love die. Daily contact is essential. And let us assure you, they have always practiced what they have preached even when separated by the Atlantic Ocean and most of Europe.

2. Tell the one you love that you love them, everyday – multiple times per day. Never assume that they know you love them. Tell them!

3. Always remember, when you get married, “you” and “me” becomes much less important that “us” and “we.” Aleksander and Katarina have learned this lesson best – when you get married, two becomes one without losing the individual identities of either. They talk about how important it is for them to work as a team with their boat touring business, always relying on one another’s unique expertise.

4. True love is never easy! Challenges confront a marriage every day. Love and life are not always blissful and perfect. Aleksander and Katarina say that even now their obstacles are still great, such as the 20% hike in electric rates they are facing. Some days a marital relationship is downright contentious. Sometimes you wonder why you ever stayed married in the first place. But the truth is, true love conquers all adversity. Their advice – hang in there! Weather the storm because the storm usually goes away.

5. Their final piece of advice to us was simple – never, ever say hurtful things to your spouse. Never, ever criticize each other in public. And never, ever devalue the importance of your spouse to you, your life, and to your place in the world. Life can be lonely sometimes. You better not hurt the one you love. Always be respectful, always be supportive, and always be your spouse’s most loyal and trustworthy friend.

We learned a lot from our new Czech friends, Aleksander and Katarina. Their life has been full of more challenges than most of us. Yet, their marriage has survived and thrived the tough issues facing many in the Czech Republic. Czech culture highly values the traditional family as an irreplaceable structure of the highest value and significance. Many Czechs are currently putting off marriage until a later age. The country is experiencing a decrease in the marriage rate with a plummeting birth rate. This can be attributed to the difficult economic issues causing unemployment, apartment shortages, weak purchasing power of the Czech currency and significant stresses in relationships.

There is much to learn from great marriages that can survive societal pressures and stresses like the marriage of Aleksander and Katarina.

Simple Things Matter in love and marriage. Love well!

By Dr. Charles D. Schmitz and Dr. Elizabeth A. Schmitz

**For more tips to enhance your relationship get the Doctor’s best-selling and multiple-award winning book Building a Love that Lasts: The Seven Surprising Secrets of Successful Marriage (Jossey-Bass/Wiley 2010) Available wherever books are sold.
Winner of the INDIE Book Awards GOLD Medal for Best Relationship Book
Winner of the Mom’s Choice Awards GOLD Medal for Most Outstanding Relationships and Marriage Book
Nautilus Book Awards Winner for Relationships

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 28 years of research on love and successful marriage across six continents of the world and their own 44-year marriage, the Doctors know what makes relationships work.

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