By Rachelyn Gordon
Boaz and Claire Nazar are both lawyers and marriage educators. Married for 21 years, the couple seeks to strengthen marriages through their research based marriage enhancement programmes – Prevention and Relationship Education (PREP).
I Love Children invited the charming couple to enlighten more than 100 young couples on the (deceivingly) intricate question of…how to keep the magic in a marriage alive, at I Love Children’s Hot Date With Your Valentine on Saturday, 11 February 2017 at Carlton Hotel
And watching a magic performance was right where they started the afternoon event…
“The science behind the art of magic truly illustrates how successful marriages work.”
~ Boaz Nazar
While there needs to be the necessary qualities that are often invisible to the naked eye such as chemistry, the science that makes a marriage work are straightforward and simple.
“When you put the science that is behind all successful marriages to work, that is when you start to develop and maintain a long-lasting marriage.”
~ Claire Nazar
So, what is the formula? It’s all in the ABCs…or rather in the M.A.G.I.C.
M represents the magic ratio in relationships – the most important takeaway.
The magic ratio refers to the number of positive interactions compared to the negative ones. Research by psychologist John Gottman has shown that the ratio in successful marriages to be five positive interactions to counter every negative interaction.
However, this ratio is not meant to be taken as absolute. Dr Howard Markman, co-founder of PREP did further research with John Gottman and found that the magic ratio for each couple could range between five to 20 positive interactions for every negative interaction. This depends on the gravity of the hurt or offence as well as factors contributing to how well we cope with hurt, such as our respective character differences, family of origin, values, background, experiences and more.
By understanding the magic ratio, couples can begin to work on those positive interactions so that they can become experts in knowing what their unique magic ratio is and be experts at keeping their spouses happy!
“The only expert you need to be…is in your own marriage!”
~ Claire Nazar
Then comes the next question – -how do you create more positive interactions to get a secure and enduring M(agic) ratio that will counter the inevitable negative interactions? That’s part of the magic in A.G.I.C.
The first member of the support system is A for…Active Ageing.
As in the words of the English poet Robert Browning, “Grow old along with me! The best is yet to be…!”. When we think of a successful marriage, the picture is one where the love grows stronger with age – emotionally, mentally and physically, too.
We need to pay attention to one another’s needs and realise that making healthy sacrifices for each other add to the positive interactions, which are synonymous with having fun with your spouse. To fully enjoy different and thrilling experiences with your spouse, you need to be in the pink of health – now.
“When you engage in a healthy lifestyle, you are showing your commitment to one another. And that helps to keep the marriage fun and alive.”
~ Boaz Nazar
Taking care of your physical health is imperative, especially so for young couples. For as you grow older, you will sow the benefits of having kept yourself healthy and fit in your younger days.
The second member of the support system is G for…Gender. And the most telling sign that proves this saying lies in the communication styles of both sexes.
“You will discover that communication issues in the first years of marriage are very much due to your gender differences rather than personality clashes.”
~ Claire Nazar
I am in love, In harmony and In-laws
The third member of the support system is I for…I am in love, In harmony and In-laws. Continue staying in love, in harmony with one other and managing the in-laws by engaging in an open discussion about sensitive topics. (Add and/or take away topics as you see fit for your marriage.)
- How do you feel about your spouse’s parents?
- How do you define and what do you identify as wife versus husband duties?
- What are your financial beliefs and practices?
- How much time do you think a couple should spend together?
- When do you want to have children and how many?
Remember that you and your spouse married each other so both should create boundaries from day one (or as soon as possible) and then respectfully explain these boundaries to both sets of parents.
“You did not marry his parents and he did not marry yours. Understand that decisions made for your marriage need to be done with your spouse.”
~ Boaz Nazar
The fourth and last member of the support system is C for…Choice. Choices in marriage are harder because they inevitably lead to many sacrifices so having a ‘we’ mentality is key to a successful marriage. Research has found marriages that do not work consist of couples who do not make choices as a team.
So, the next time you need to make a choice that might alter or change your situations for yourself and your spouse, choose the choice that is beneficial to your marriage.
And there you have it – the M.A.G.I.C behind a long-lasting marriage.
Have a question that was not answered at the event? Stay-tuned for the answers!
Click here to view photos taken at the event.