By America’s #1 Love and Marriage Experts.

Our current European trip is part of our continuing search for great marriages around the world. This time our travels have brought us to the tiny principality of Andorra.

Following our interviews in Prague in the Czech Republic three days ago we flew on to Zurich. We then railed from Zurich to Paris and then took an overnight train to Barcelona. After spending a couple of days in Barcelona, Spain we rented a car and drove on to Andorra to conduct several interviews with successfully married couples.

This beautiful little Principality is nestled in between France and Spain in the magnificent and romantic Pyrenees Mountains. Since 1278 Andorra la Vella has been the capital and principal city in Andorra. Catalan is the official language with three-quarters of the people being of Catalan and Spanish origin. Andorra has been a democracy since 1993. With some 10 million visitors annually, its principal industry is tourism.

We were drawn to Andorra for a number of reasons, principally (pardon the pun) because of its unique history as a principality. Something so old, so small, and so remote, stuck away in the Pyrenees Mountains as it is, would surely provide some interesting people to interview for our worldwide marriage research.

When we arrived in Andorra, we were first struck by its pure beauty. The magnificent Pyrenees Mountains are awesome, the curved roads, the luscious green foliage, and the blue sky that provides an incredible backdrop to the beauty of the land, leaves you wondering – “Why don’t we live here!” It is one inviting place for sure!

So you have to ask yourself, who lives in Andorra? What kind of people inhabit such a romantic place? What are they like? What is marriage like for people who live in such a remote place? We set off on our journey to find the answers. Needless to say, we were intrigued by it all. And we were not disappointed by what we found.

Our interview of Bernat and Cinta took place in Andorra la Vella. This wonderful village is a shopping Mecca. The really good news for outsiders – there are no taxes! Travelers come here from all over Europe, North America, Asia, the Middle East, and beyond for the shear beauty of the place and for the tax free shopping.

It wouldn’t surprise you if we chose to interview a couple who owned one of the tiny stores that catered to tourists. Their store specializes in bottled olive oils from Spain, Greece, Portugal, and Italy, and a uniquely new low fat, high Omega 3 alternative to Olive Oil from Scotland created by Connie and John Sorrie. They call their product Ola Oil.“ We had the pleasure of meeting and sharing a dinner with Connie and John on the train from Paris to Barcelona. They have been married for 31 years and are delightfully nice people! Check out their website.

Bernat and Cinta have been married for 33 years. For 22 of those years they have lived in Andorra la Vella. Both were born in Andorra and grew up as childhood sweethearts. They both speak Catalan and, because of the many English-speaking visitors they have met over the years; they both speak very understandable English. The latter certainly made our interview easier!

It is clear from the moment you sit down to interview them that these two are soul mates. They finish each other’s sentences, they can’t keep their hands off of each other, they look starry-eyed when they talk, and they speak in glowing and loving terms when they describe each other. The little shop they run together is the “family business” and they immensely enjoy working with each other every day!

Five minutes into our interview protocol we knew we were in the presence of a couple breathtakingly in love and very happily married. They answered all of the questions on our time-tested marriage interview correctly! Wow, they are an amazing couple! We were impressed.

So what did we learn from Bernat and Cinta about successful love and marriage? Frankly, we learned a lot! More succinctly, what are the five steps to lasting love according to Bernat and Cinta?

Here they are in a nutshell:

1. Successful love and marriage is analogous to eating a fantastic meal – you are satisfied for the moment. but the real truth comes later in the day! We love this analogy very much as it suggested that it is easy to love in the here and now, but the measure of true love comes later in the day – when the indigestion of the day has passed!

2. For all their faults and weaknesses, the one you love is still your best friend, your confidant, and the one you trust more than life itself. For sure, our lover makes mistakes, sometimes disappoints us, and, from time to time, makes us mad. But in the scheme of things, they are, in the end, the one you want to spend your life with. Making little mistakes is human. People in love know that love and hope springs eternal with the one they love. They can overlook those frailties that make their spouse human.

3. Your spouse is your best friend. When you are asked, “Who is your best friend?” The answer is always the same – my spouse! There is no equivocation on this issue. In a great marriage your spouse IS your best friend!

4. “I love you” is the constant refrain for those who truly love each other! Tell your spouse that you love them – tell them often! There is no substitute for telling the one you love that you love them. Make no mistake; you cannot transmit this notion by mental energy alone. You must say it!

5. And finally, people in love never forget the moment! They never forget how important it is to enjoy each moment with the one they love. They understand how important the here and now are – whether it be a wonderful meal together, a great vacation, a beautiful sunset, a great bottle of wine, or an exciting evening of intimacy.

The simple truth is this – lasting love requires certain actions to be successful. Our friends in Andorra have shared great wisdom with us. In our humble opinion, their advice has risen to the occasion when it comes to the great truths about successful love and marriage.

You can learn a lot from successfully married couples. Practice what they preach!

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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