Thank you Frank Pittman

Frank Pittman may be a name that you are not familiar with.  But for marriage and family therapists he was a giant in our field.  He was a champion for marriages. 

He was always direct and pithy in his comments, a man who didn’t mind telling you exactly how he felt.

Sadly, he has died.  But his work and legacy will last for a long time to come.  Below I’ve  copied some of his famous quotes.

Marriage isn’t supposed to make you happy – it’s supposed to make you married.
Marriage, like a submarine, is only safe if you get all the way inside.
Bad marriages don’t cause infidelity; infidelity causes bad marriages.
. . . in the end, there is nothing a man can do that a woman can’t, except be a father.
For most people, a life lived alone, with passing strangers or passing lovers, is incoherent and ultimately unbearable. Someone must be there to know what we have done for those we love.
Here is a clip from a Psychology Today interview:
‘There is this great belief that if you are not getting everything your heart desires, you will be miserable. This is a dangerous belief.  The failure to be blessed with a life that is a constant state of ecstatic wonder becomes a psychiatric emergency. All the mental health people jump in and say, “Oh, my God. They are not happy. Call the fire department. Maybe these people should not have gotten married.  Sorry about the six kids and all.  Maybe they should not have gotten married. Maybe we will have to get them divorced so maybe they can be happy with the 2nd, the 3rd, the 4th, the 5th, or the 6th husband or wife.” I look at these people who are miserable in their marriages and their lives, and I think, I have the responsibility to them, to make them aware that they have the capacity to bring about their adult selves  and that they have a responsibility to their children that is going to affect the second half of their life enormously if they don not fulfill it. Maybe I have got a responsibility to the two other people that these folks should marry next if they don not learn how to be married the first time around.’  For the full interview:

And here’s another clip, his Marriage Tips from another interview:

Divorces run in families. If you didn’t know marriages when you were growing up, find people who are married and find out how they do it. 

Common courtesy plays a big role in happy marriages. People who are permanently married are polite to one another. They don’t want to hurt one another’s feelings, and they don’t try to make the other one feel humiliated. People who are married for life are extremely kind to one another.

Arguments are a natural part of any relationship, but cruelty is not. Above all, happily married partners see each other as allies, not as adversaries. 

You can’t be right and married at the same time. If you’re trying to be right and prove your partner wrong, you’ve stepped outside the marriage.

To go without sex is to endanger the relationship. It’s very easy to build up an incest taboo in a marriage. If you go without sex, your instincts recognize this person as part of the family but cease to recognize the
person as a sex partner. The response can kick in surprisingly quickly – in as little as six weeks. People make a terrible mistake in being angry with their marriage partner and cutting them off sexually as a way of arousing great passion. It used to work in the ninth grade. But it doesn’t work in the ninth decade.

Caressing and contact is always a good thing. The great thing about sex at this age is it ceases to be great, and it becomes funny. It feels good, but you never know what’s going to work and what’s not. Which brings up another trait that long-lasting marriage partners often share: a sense of humor.

Humor is vital, but it is vital to be happy, too. A happy marriage is a marriage between two happy people.

You’re not going to be in love all the time, but if you want to recapture that magic from when you were in love, be loving. Being loving to your partner makes you feel so good about yourself, it doesn’t matter if you’re in love or not. The marriage is making you feel good if you are loving in it.

There’s no point battling age in yourself or in your partner. No one has ever won.

Always keep your pants zipped in public.

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