Sunday, February 22, 2009

Announcing "Relationship Radio"

Dear Friends:

Instead of my usual "Quote & Comment" article, I'd like to announce that "Relationship Radio with Jim Duzak" is about to debut on a computer near you.

The show will be broadcast live each Friday at 2:00PM Pacific time (5:00PM Eastern time), beginning March 6, 2009, on the Voice America Internet network ( Each show will be repeated twelve hours later, and will then be archived on the Voice America site within twenty-four hours, so you can listen to it at your convenience.

On each one-hour show, I'll be interviewing a guest with something interesting and important to say about marriage, divorce, midlife dating, widowhood, or men-women relationships in general. My first five guests, for example, are:
  • Frankie Picasso, the "Unstoppable Coach", who works with post-divorce singles and hosts the popular "Midlife Mojo" radio show.
  • Joanie Winberg, the founder and director of the National Association of Divorce for Women and Children, and also a long-time radio host.
  • Carole Brody Fleet, author of "Widows Wear Stilettos: a Practical and Emotional Guide for the Young Widow", and a frequent guest on national TV.
  • Lauren Bloom, lawyer and author of the groundbreaking book, "The Art of the Apology".
  • Kelly McDaniel, therapist, workshop leader, and author of "Ready to Heal: Women Facing Love, Sex, and Relationship Addiction".

My goal for each show is to have a conversation that's relaxed but stimulating, a conversation that will draw the listener in and provide pleasure as well as information. I'm hoping that the show will soon be "must" listening for anyone who cares about forming or enhancing committed relationships, or dealing with the challenges of widowhood, divorce recovery, or midlife dating.

If you're not already on my mailing list and would like to get a weekly reminder of upcoming shows, please write to me at

As always, thanks for your friendship and support, and please spread the word about "Relationship Radio".

Monday, February 9, 2009

Doing Ordinary Things Extraordinarily Well

"Small-but-frequent rewards are more effective than large one-time rewards."
(Joel Kotkin, M.D., author of "How to Change Your Spouse and Save Your Marriage")

Dr. Kotkin's observation about small-but-frequent rewards is something that has been demonstrated over and over in psychological experiments. In essence, people are happier when a lot of little things go well on a daily basis, than when one really good thing happens once in a great while, with nothing good in between.

This is true even when the big reward is greater, in totality, than the sum of all the small rewards. In playing a $1.00 lottery game, for example, most people would be happier winning $2.00 every day of the year, than winning nothing for 364 days and then $1,000 on a single day. In fact, if you win nothing too many times in a row, you'll probably stop playing entirely---a fact well known to the casino industry, which wants people to stay glued to their chairs at the slot machines hour after hour.

OK, but what does this have to do with relationships? Quite a bit, actually. To keep any relationship stimulating after the initial rush of emotions has subsided, we need to do a lot of little things on a regular basis. We need to pay more attention to the other person. We need to give little compliments; offer words of encouragement, sympathy, and appreciation; and promptly reward efforts or achievements---no matter how small those efforts or achievements may be. We need to smile more and complain less. We need to touch each other often, and let it be known that we're enjoying our life together, even when life is hard.

To be sure, we need to celebrate the once-a-year events: the birthdays, the anniversaries, the religious holidays, Valentine's Day. But we should try to extend these celebrations in little ways. We can, for example, give small gifts that say, "This made me think of you." Or we can take out picture albums that remind us of happy events we've shared, or look through travel brochures that stimulate our fantasies and help to reinforce the idea that we have a future---an enjoyable future---together. We don't have to go broke doing these things, nor do we have to disrupt our schedules to find the time to do them. We can work them into our life every day, seamlessly.

When you come right down to it, life consists of a lot of little things, a lot of ordinary things, along with a sprinkling of big things. If you concentrate on doing those ordinary things extraordinarily well, the big things will probably take care of themselves. And you'll always have a reason to celebrate, even when the calendar doesn't say it's a holiday.