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The Science of Lasting Love

How to grow a healthy marriage
By Dr. Brenda Wade


When Stephanie and Matt came to me for premarital coaching, they sat down on the love seat in my office, holding hands and glowing with love. I asked what they wanted to get out of their counseling and Stephanie replied, “I read in one of your books that there are two-thirds fewer divorces among couples who get premarital counseling. We love each other and we want to stay together, so here we are.”

“And both of us come from divorced parents,” Matt chimed in. “I remember all the traveling back and forth, feeling awkward, sad, and angry all the time. I use to get in fights almost every day at school. It was all I could do because I didn’t understand why I felt so bad.”

“We don’t want that.” Stephanie said firmly. “We’ve already read several books. What else do we need to do?”

“Thank God you’re here,” I replied. “It’s much cheaper to do some work up front rather than try to fix your relationship later when negative patterns are more ingrained. I have to tell you, I was a trained scientist before I became a clinician so brace yourself, you’re about to learn the science of love.”

Yes, that’s right. Scientists like John Gottman of the University of Washington and Alan Leavitt of the University of California, Berkeley have shown that there are specific factors that lead to lasting love. But the flip side is also true; there are behaviors that will destroy your relationship. Good and bad, these factors will determine if your marriage has a fat love bank account or if you’ll end up emotionally bankrupt. Following is a summary of what I shared with Stephanie and Matt over the next eight weeks of their premarital counseling that you can start putting to use right away.

The major factors that contribute to marital bliss versus martial bomb is whether you use the four A’s or the four C’s as the basis of your relationship. ‘The four what?’ you’re probably thinking. Let me break it down for you.


The C’s: criticism, coldness, contempt, combativeness

  • Criticism means looking for what’s wrong or focusing on the negative. We all know what it’s like to be criticized and it’s not fun. Why do this to your loved one?
  • Coldness equals withdrawing affection, love, positive attention, and/or sex. Did someone turn down the temperature?
  • Contempt is behaving as if your partner disgusts you, including eye-rolling, sarcasm, speaking in a contemptuous tone or using contemptuous words such as “that’s a stupid idea,” or “you need help.”
  • Combativeness is using either attacking or defending as a way of communicating. Attacking is “You are the problem, you never call, you should change.” Defending is “I’m not the one causing problems, I do all the work,” etc.

I cringe even writing about the four C’s, just imagine how it feels to live with them! Research shows that couples who use the four C’s as their primary means of communication, have an 81 percent–let me repeat that–81 percent chance of being divorced within five years. The four C’s are what we would technically call emotional or verbal abuse and they are withdraws from your love bank account. But wait, help is on the way!


The A’s: affection, admiration, appreciation, acceptance

  • Affection equals words, gestures, tones or touches that convey love and caring.
  • Admiration are words such as, “Wow, you look as attractive now as the first time I saw you,” or “you are always ready with great ideas to make our life better.”
  • Appreciation equals giving thanks for your partner and the contributions they make to you and your life. Remember when you didn’t have a partner and longed for one? Now show that they are here, show them some appreciation!
  • Everyone longs to be accepted for their true selves. To express acceptance means to love the core of who your partner is, what they stand for in the world, and even their quirks and little annoying habits. This doesn’t mean you don’t strive to grow and evolve and become better people, but it does mean no nagging about habits or your pet peeves unless it crosses the line and become a C or a real hazard to you, your partner or your relationship.

Making the A’s a daily practice automatically eliminates the C’s, thereby depriving them of any opportunity to rear their C-shaped little heads. Research shows that we develop new patterns in our brains the more we repeat something. So go forth and build those love patterns and your love bank account will never go bankrupt, it will always be full.

Not surprisingly, after implementing the A behaviors above into daily practice and working to eliminate those nasty C’s, Stephanie and Matt are now celebrating their second wedding anniversary and expecting their first child. In a note they sent me recently, they say they practice the A’s like a new religion. Adopt these behaviors and you too will grow a healthy, steadfast marriage.

Dr. Brenda is a regular on NBC’s Today Show and CNN as a psychology expert.  She has been featured on shows such as Oprah and Good Morning America, and as the host of the nationally syndicated Can This Marriage Be Saved and the national PBS Pledge Special Power Choices. Dr. Brenda is also founder of the Love and Money Summit. For more information on Dr. Brenda’s books Power Choices, Love Lessons, and What Mama Couldn’t Tell Us About Love or on her upcoming workshops, check out 


How To Get More Of What You Want

by Wayne Lee

In what area of your life would you like to be experiencing more fulfillment? Maybe you would like to have more money, more passion in your relationships, or weigh your ideal weight. Whatever you want, there is a way to have it all. In this article, I provide a description of what I call Magicnicity and offer three steps for you to create better results in your life.

Magicnicity is a term I created that defines the process of intentionally creating meaningful coincidences and attracting what you want. It is a combination of the words “magic” and “synchronicity.” I recently produced the 30-day Magicnicity manifesting system. This audio program is where hypnosis meets the Law of Attraction.

Remember a time when everything felt just right—you were in the zone—and out of the blue, you attracted what you wanted. This is an example of being fully connected to your source energy or inner MAGIC. As if by magic, the people, places, things, events, and opportunities showed up to help you get what you wanted.

How do you create more of these magical moments? It is through the “magical wand” you possess—your power to focus. When you focus upon what you desire with faith, you feel good and attract more goodness into your life. You get what you focus upon through the Law of Attraction. The essence of the Law of Attraction is that everything in the universe is energy. Energy is continually moving and vibrating. Your thoughts and feelings are energetic and they vibrate at certain frequencies. The frequency at which they vibrate will attract like frequencies, whether positive or negative. That is why it is so important to identify what you want, continually focus upon it, and believe that you will get it.

The challenge for most people is that they are focusing upon what they do not want and attracting exactly that into their lives. For example, if someone wants more money but consistently focuses upon the debt they have, they tend to attract more debt. The way you can tell how you have been focusing is by looking at the results you have in your life. Whether they are good or bad results, you have attracted it all by the magic of your focus.

Here are three easy steps that you can follow to create better results.

First, accept full responsibility for your life and empower yourself to be who you truly are. You must eliminate all excuses and blame, and consciously commit to creating your ideal life. Declare to yourself that you are the creator of your circumstance. On paper, write out a wish list or a dream sheet of all of the things you would like to have in your life. While doing this, view your life as a magical journey, where you are limitless and everything is possible.

Next, write out all of the benefits you will get from getting what you want. This will outline how you will feel and build your motivation to achieve your wish list. For example, if you want more money, write out all of the things you will be able to do when you receive the money. This step is important because you are identifying the “why” behind what you want. You can start this process by completing this sentence:

“I want ____________ because _____________.”

The final step is to imagine that you have already achieved what you desire, and to act and feel as though you are successful. Through your imagination, you have the power to see all of your outcomes before they have occurred. Find a quiet place, close your eyes, and engage all of your senses. Now, imagine having already achieved your ideal life. Once you do this, you will feel good and take inspired action that will move you in the direction that is powerful, positive, and productive. Feeling good attracts more good and puts you into a resourceful emotional state where you can handle anything. Take 20 minutes and repeat this process everyday. You will start to notice how great you feel and notice all of the people, places, things, events, and opportunities that come into your life to help you get more of what you want.

Wayne Lee is the creator of the Magicnicity Manifesting System, “where hypnosis meets the Law of Attraction.”  He is a speaker, author, and hypnotist who is committed to entertain, educate, and enlighten people through his dynamic empowerment presentations and outrageous hypnosis shows.  For more information on how to live with more laughter and ignite your inner MAGIC, visit: