By America’s #1 Love and Marriage Experts.

We are delighted this week to be in the romantic capitol of the world—Paris, France! We are here on another leg of our endless search for great marriages around the world.

First, a few facts about love and marriage in France that you might want to know.

In 2012, the French average age for marriage of woman is about 28 and for men it is about 30. The average birth of children to French woman occurs a little under the age of 30.

Current estimates are that co-habitation for up to two years prior to marriage occurs among French couples somewhere between 40% and 50% of the time. The number of unmarried couples in France has increased four-fold in the last 20 or so years. Only in Sweden is marriage less popular among Europeans, which might explain why over 40% of French children are born out of wedlock.

In terms of divorce, current estimates are that the divorce rate in France has increased by about 40% in the past decade, where more that one-third of marriages now end in divorce.

As we all know, Paris is a very romantic city. Honestly, how could the “City of Lights” not be romantic? Walking the streets of Paris, riding a boat down the River Seine, and admiring at night the beauty of the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame, tells you all you need to know about love and romance! Oh, my, just imagine being here on a wedding anniversary like we are?

We are gratified to be spending this 46th year of our marriage in this “City of Love.” How great is that!!! And honestly, we can think of no greater city to spend our anniversary in than this one. This place exudes romance! And love! We feel profoundly gratified that we can celebrate our lifetime of love in this beautiful and romantic city!

This adventure for us is a continuation of our search for great marriages around the world. So far, we have travelled to 47 countries on six of the world’s seven continents. This coming January we head to the 7th and final continent, Antarctica. More on that adventure later.

Paris is unique among the great cities of the world. It is breathtakingly beautiful; excitingly vibrant; amazingly romantic; stocked full of exciting world-class monuments and museums; historically significant; a culinary masterpiece; and wonderfully and tinglingly sensational in all its splendor. Paris is, without a doubt, the “love capitol of the world.”

So, what brings us here? Simple, really. We are here interviewing more successfully married couples for our fourth book about love and marriage around the world.

What we have found in our Paris interviews is this – marriage is alive and well in Paris, France! You see it everywhere! Couples of all ages holding hands as they walk down the street, kissing on street corners, romantically embraced waiting for a bus or the Metro, and gazing into each other’s eyes at a brasserie or a café. The French people are a very loving and affectionate people. They publicly and privately express their undying love for each other. They do so unabashedly!

Our favorite couple we interviewed on this trip lives near the Musee du Louvre, that great Paris art museum enjoyed by patrons from around the world. What a splendid and magnificent place it is! Its location on the famous and romantic Seine River makes it even more appealing.

Adelaide and Francois have been married for 15 years. They have two beautiful children. She is a school teacher and he is a financial analyst. They recall so fondly the day they got married nearly 16 years ago. It was a church wedding in what had already become a very secular country. While neither is “religious” in the traditional sense of the word, both insisted that they have a traditional church wedding. And yes, they did live together before they got married (a year)! When asked if that strengthened their marriage, both replied that it didn’t necessarily. They lived together only out of economic necessity as both were just out of college and they lived together to share expenses.

By their own words, Adelaide and Francois have had a wonderful marriage! They have borne two beautiful children (a boy and a girl), achieved financial security because they both work outside the home, own their own home, and share the responsibilities of marriage equally. They both reported that they “could not imagine life without each other” and look forward to a lifetime of marriage.

Clearly, Adelaide and Francois are happily married. Our interview with them revealed that their marriage is nearly a perfect match to the “ideal couple” we have written about in our several books and our many blogs.

But here is the question-of-the-day – are Adelaide and Francois unique in France or are they typical? Our answer – their marriage is typical of the great marriages we have discovered around the world. And the truth is this – marriage in France is alive and well in 2012!

The most important lessons we have learned from our interviews in France are this – get married closer to 30 years old, don’t have children in the first year or two of marriage, have a job, have a post-high school education that leads to a trade or skill, and, beyond everything else, truly believe that your mate is the one for you before you decide to marry and settle down. Get it right the first time! The French example is the world example. Success in marriage comes from those who wait until the time is right, and then act on it.

Contrary to the pronouncements of some of the popular media, people do, in fact, continue to get married in France, and in large numbers. Those who suggest otherwise are being disingenuous and ignorant of the facts. In fact, marriage is alive and well in France! And it is making a comeback according to those we interviewed on this trip!

There was a time when young people in France thought it unnecessary to get married. But the truth is this – those same young people have begun to realize that marriage to the one you love for a lifetime is a good thing. We agree!

We always knew love was alive in France. On this trip we discovered that marriage is as well.

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

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

For marriage advice and hundreds of practical tips, 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) 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

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 30 years of research on love and successful marriage across six continents of the world and their own 45-year marriage, the Doctors know what makes relationships work.

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