Are there any happy couples out there? According to Linda and Charlie Bloom, the answer is a unanimous “Yes.” Psychotherapists, marriage counselors, and seminar leaders for over thirty-five years, the Blooms relate the keys to successful marriages by sharing the stories of over 50 “exemplary” couples in their newly published book, Secrets of Great Marriages; Real Truths from Real Couples about Lasting Love. The Blooms will appear at Santa Barbara’s Yoga Soup for a free talk and book signing on Monday, February 8th at 7pm.
Provoked and saddened by jaded perspectives on love and partnership, the Blooms wanted to let the public know that great marriages can last. After interviewing nearly 100 happy couples, they narrowed it down to 54 to include in the book. The fact that they had so many relevant interviews to choose from proved, Linda said, “that happy marriages really do exist.”
In their book, the Blooms aimed to represent a diverse range of couples. Secrets of Great Marriages includes interviews with Black, Hispanic, heterosexual, and homosexual partners. The Blooms were able to relay major trends found among all couples, regardless of their sexual preference or ethnicity. The authors stated that these happy partners were quick to acknowledge each other, slow to criticize, and set on making each other a major priority. Many of these partners had what the Blooms call, “believing eyes.” These couples could see the beauty in their partner and were able to draw it forth, not only because they loved each other, but they actually liked their company and consider their partner their best friend.
“These couples sound as happy as newlyweds, but their relationship is even better than that,” said Linda. “They have trust that they have been building together over the years.” She explained that all the couples interviewed had hit rough spots in their relationships and even experienced periods when they didn’t know if their marriage would survive. Working through the difficulty called for forgiveness, understanding, and tolerance. “We are hopeful our book will give heart to readers who may be in a rough spot,” Linda said.
The book was published only recently so its effect on readers has yet to be established, but it has already had a significant influence on the authors themselves. “Writing this book made a huge impact in our relationship,” said Charlie. “It inspired me to not only appreciate our relationship, but to see how much better it can be.” Charlie explained that for many couples, there is an unconscious set of expectations for how the relationship should be. For some it may be merely “getting along” or “having great sex.” Yet both Blooms expressed how inspiring it was to see how the happy couples they interviewed reached even greater ideals for fulfilling relationships with creativity, authenticity, spontaneity, and a secure reinforcement and gratitude for each other. “These couples gave me a new standard to hold ours up to,” said Charlie Bloom, “to not be satisfied with what is good, but to hold it to what is possible.”
Both Charlie and Linda expressed their joy in having the opportunity to inform the public, while also legitimizing the stories of these couples. “We are supporting them to make a bigger contribution in the world,” said Linda.
The presentation and signing for Secrets of Great Marriages will be held Monday, February 8 at Yoga Soup, 28 Parker Way, from 7-9 pm. Copies of the book will be available. Call 965-8811 for more information.