Bullet Proof Marriage

Bullet Proof Marriage

by Renato & Cristiane Cardoso


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780718025977
Publisher: Grupo Nelson
Publication date: 01/13/2015
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 687,453
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Renato and Cristiane Cardoso married in 1991 and soon after moved to the United States. Over the next twenty years they lived in three countries and lectured in over thirty, always working on couple counseling and marriage therapy. They returned to Brazil in 2011 where they give lectures on marital relationships, in addition to being the hosts of The Love School-A Escola do Amor program, a weekly broadcast on Rede Record.

Read an Excerpt

Bulletproof Marriage

Shielding Your Marriage Against Divorce

By Renato Cardoso, Cristiane Cardoso

Grupo Nelson

Copyright © 2014 Renato Cardoso and Cristiane Cardoso
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-7180-2597-7



Concerned about the rising rate of divorce, some Mexican lawmakers are proposing a new law: renewable marriage contracts. They believe they have found the perfect solution to prevent serious marriages crises, infidelity, and divorce. Every two years, married couples would have the option to reevaluate their relationship and choose whether to remain together and renew their contract or give up and go their separate ways. In addition to signing a temporary contract, the proposal suggests that the bride and groom protect themselves from a potential divorce proceedings. Before marriage, they would have to decide who will have custody of the children and how much alimony would be paid in child support in case of a break-up. The proposal, which is now in Congress, has received broad support from Mexicans who want to end the high cost of divorce and alimony. After all, marriage statistics in Mexico City are bleak: five out of ten marriages end in divorce.

If the law is passed, conversations like this may become commonplace between classmates in school:

"Hey, where are you going over the school holidays?" a teenager asks his friend.

"Well, that depends. If my dad renews his marriage contract with my mom at the end of the year, we'll probably go to Disneyland. If not, I'll have to see which one of them wants me, and since my last few report cards have been pretty bad, they'll probably send me to my grandma's ..."

I don't want to be the bearer of bad news, but here's a fact: marriage as an institution is breaking down under the heavy attack from various elements in society. This Mexican proposal is a symptom of how governments are attempting to cope with high divorce rates. And this is not limited to Mexico. I don't know of a single case in any country, culture, or society in the world where marriage is getting stronger, not even in traditional cultures where religion is highly valued. In the United States, which dictates the cultural trends for the rest of the world, most babies born to women under the age of thirty are born out of wedlock. Some renowned American sociologists have even argued that father figures are not essential in families.

Can you see where we're headed?

Even in places where divorce rates are lower, the numbers barely disguise the truth of what's happening: fewer people are getting married, while increasing numbers are opting for "cohabitation." Consequently, when these couples do separate, it does not count statistically as a divorce. And many who remain together only do so for lack of other options or because of religious pressure, but they continue to be unhappy.

The harsh reality of the situation makes me wonder what things will be like in five, ten, or twenty years. Will the extinction of marriage be complete? Will people still believe it's possible to stay in a marriage "till death do us part"? Will the concepts of marital faithfulness and loyalty to a single person be relegated to museums and historical documentaries?

Here's a warning for those who have not yet woken up: forces in society are conspiring against marriage and the family, and these attacks are only getting stronger.


In general, the media (movies, TV, the Internet, books, newspapers), cultural norms, politics, laws, celebrities, the curriculum in schools and universities—in fact, all of society's major centers of influence—are becoming, or have already become, anti-marriage.

What does this mean?

• There will be a sizeable decrease in the number of marriages.

• Cohabitation will become more and more common—inferring that long-term, absolute commitment is impossible.

• Infidelity and affairs will increase (yes, even more) and become more and more tolerated.

• Casual encounters involving three people, with sex as the sole purpose, will become more acceptable.

• Men and women will become even more predatory.

• Women will view men as nonessential, and will grow even more independent.

• Women will bounce between no longer believing in love (or men) and the search for happiness at the expense of their own sense of worth.

Note: All of the above are ALREADY happening in today's society. It's the metamorphosis of marriage, and time will only continue to speed up this process.

You may not be able to change what's happening around the world, but within your own world, inside your marriage, you can and must. This is not a question of whether or not your relationship will come under attack, but rather when. The question is: will you know how to protect it from these attacks when they come—that is, if it's not already under attack?


New challenges, for example, such as the Internet, social networks, communication technologies such as SMS and MSN, the proliferation of pornography, an anti-marriage culture, easy divorces and the advancement of women in society are a few of the recent phenomena affecting couples in the twenty-first century, and many are not prepared to handle these new challenges. Couples today are faced with a new reality, a world that their parents never knew, in fact, no generation has ever known. Ask your grandmother how she would have known if her husband was having an affair, and she'll say, "lipstick stains on his shirt" or "another woman's perfume" and similar signs. Today, it is so much easier to have an affair behind your partner's back.

Mark Zuckerberg, the creator of Facebook, has been billed as one of the greatest destroyers of homes in Great Britain. According to a study published by Divorce-Online, a website that specializes in divorces, Facebook is cited as the reason for one in every three divorces in the country. Close to 1,700 of the 5,000 cases mentioned that inappropriate messages to the opposite sex and comments from ex-girlfriends on Facebook were the cause of their marital problems. In the U.S., the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers released an article stating that, in 2011, Facebook is cited in one of every five divorces.

To have a better idea of the seriousness of the situation, recently in Brazil a new exclusive social network was launched for married people who "live in a marriage without sex and want to find others in the same situation." Committed men and women are targeted by this site, which offers them a "discreet way to have an affair." In less than six months, the site already had more than three hundred thousand users in the country, making Brazil the second-highest in terms of number of users, outnumbered only by the United States, where the site had already existed for a number of years. The site offers a private email account and credit card charge without the name of the user appearing on the statement, all to facilitate casual sexual encounters, without ever leaving a trace for the betrayed spouse. Their slogan reads: "The true secret to a lasting marriage is infidelity."

Outrageous, right? You haven't seen anything yet.

What's the fastest growing business in the world, with greater profits than Google, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, eBay, Microsoft, and Yahoo put together? Porn. In 2006, the profits in this industry brought in US$97 billion. More porn movies are made throughout the world than any other category, by far. This translates to an average of about 37 movies per day, or more than 13,500 per year. Brazil is the second largest producer of these movies, only surpassed by the United States. One study reported that seven out of ten men aged 18 to 34 visit pornographic websites on the Internet. Women, once uncomfortable with this type of behavior, have been increasingly seeking out porn in order to please their partners. "But thank God we're Christians and this doesn't affect us." Don't be too fast to jump to conclusions. A survey of Christians in the U.S. revealed that 50% of men and 20% of women were addicted to pornography. Another survey held solely among pastors revealed that 54% of them had seen pornography within the last 12 months, and 30% within the 30 days preceding the survey. Is anyone immune?


For the first time in the history of the male species, men are feeling displaced and lost in their marriages. With the advancement of women in practically every facet of society, they have become competitors to men and moved on from the traditional role of helpers. Men—who used to be the sole hunters, providers, and protectors of the family—now view their role as divided and often taken over by women. Women have become hunters too.

Today, most women work and contribute to the family's income. In many cases, the wife earns more than her husband, a trend that is likely to increase, since university enrolment among women is higher than men.

What effect does this have on marriage? Here are a few examples: women have become more independent than men and are less tolerant of men's flaws. Wives are making decisions without their husbands' input, causing serious disagreement between them. In an attempt to please women, men have become more sensitive. Men have taken a backseat in their marriages. Husbands feel disrespected by their wives, and at times even useless. In other words, women have become more like men, and men have become more like women—a complete chaos and confusion of their roles.

But women are not only advancing and competing with men in the workplace. A study performed by the University of Sao Paulo revealed a disturbing statistic for married men. Extramarital affairs among women are growing at an alarming rate, and the younger they are, the more they cheat. Of the 8,200 women surveyed in ten cities throughout Brazil, only 22% of women over 70 years of age confessed to having had some kind of extramarital affair. The rate rises to 35% for women between 41 and 50 years of age and reaches a peak of 49.5% between 18 and 25 years of age. This means that half of all young married women today betray their husbands. As women have emerged from the simple stay-at-home-mother role to a more active role in society, college, the workplace, etc., this has made it easier for infidelity to proliferate.

Add to this the steady stream of conscious and subconscious attacks by the media leveled at the foundation of marriage: soap operas, movies, magazines, blogs, news, fashion, music, groups, and "ethnic" parties ... Each one is a pointed gun firing round after round: why get married? A piece of paper isn't going to make a bit of difference ... They get married, but they really aren't one in truth. If it doesn't work out, they get divorced and marry someone else ... Both men and women do the same. There's no such thing as love, it's all an illusion ... Marriage is a prison ... How could anyone put up with the same person for twenty, thirty, or fifty years? Marriage is old-fashioned ...

Every day, a new anti-marriage argument is created.

If you value your relationship and do not want to become just another statistic, bulletproofing your marriage is the key to its survival. It's time to defend and protect your most precious investment, before it's too late. Let's fight for this.

If you are genuinely committed to bulletproofing your relationship, then start to follow the advice and tasks that we recommend in this book.


What are the greatest threats to your marriage right now? Identify these threats, so that you are aware of the areas of your marriage that need the most help.

(Wait! Before writing down your task below, ask yourself if you plan to lend out or give this book to someone when you've finished with it. I'm sure that you would not want them to read your notes or know all about the struggles you are facing in your marriage ... In this case, we suggest that you write down your tasks somewhere else—a notebook, diary, or computer file. Do what you think is best. I simply wanted you to think about that before you started.)



If I were a fly on the wall of your living room or bedroom when you and your spouse were having an argument, what would I see? Perhaps a coldness when you speak, harsh words, an angry tone of voice, irritation, constant interruptions, accusations, criticisms, and so on. One day you disagree about the way to discipline your children, the next day about how your husband "friended" an ex-girlfriend on Facebook, and the following day you disagree about how your mother-in-law interferes in your marriage. The point is, the real problem is not always what you see. The problem goes much deeper.

A simple example is when a husband has an addiction. His wife sees him giving in to it and thinks that that is the problem. She gets angry, criticizes him, tries to talk to him and asks him to change, but nothing ever changes. Why not? Because the addiction is not the real problem. There is a root, something deeper, that is the cause of the addiction. She doesn't know what it is—perhaps neither does he—but the two of them will go around and around in circles arguing about what they see on the surface.

The visible problems are the leaves, branches, and trunk of the tree, but the true causes are less apparent and more difficult to detect and understand. And yet, the only reason for visible problems to exist is the fact that there is a root that feeds them. If there were no roots, the tree would not exist.

Once you've identified the root of the problems in your relationship, you will understand why you and your partner act the way you do. The arguments about the leaves and branches will diminish, as will the bad atmosphere that exists between the two of you. The elimination of just one bad root will result in the solution of several problems at once, and permanently! This is the power behind this shift of focus. Learning to focus your attention and energy on the real problem can transform your marriage, because everything, including our behavior, depends on how we look at things, what we look at, and how we interpret what we are looking at.

Stephen Covey talks about an event in his life that taught him the importance of putting this into practice.

He recounts how one day he was quietly riding the subway, calmly reading the newspaper. The subway car was not full. It was pretty quiet and various seats were available. At one of the stops, a father entered with two very mischievous children and sat down next to him. The boys started running around, were loud, and immediately brought an end to the peace everyone had been enjoying. The father was sitting with his eyes closed and seemed not to care about anything that was happening. Covey did not understand the father's indifference and angrily turned to him and asked why he was not doing anything to control his children. As if he had only then noticed what was happening, the father replied, "You're right, I'm sorry. We only now left the hospital. Their mother just passed away. I don't know what to do, and it seems like they don't either ... "Covey apologized and began to comfort the man. Immediately, all the anger he had felt for the father and children disappeared and gave way to empathy.

But what caused Covey's previous angry attitude to change? He began to look at the situation in a different light. Before he was given that information from the father, Covey watched what was happening through the lens of his own principles and values. "How can a parent allow his children to be so out of control? If they were my children ..." But after receiving this new information, his view of things changed radically. Notice how none of the people changed: the children did not stop misbehaving, and the father did not do anything to control them. Covey's perspective of the situation was the only thing that changed, and along with it, his attitude.


Excerpted from Bulletproof Marriage by Renato Cardoso, Cristiane Cardoso. Copyright © 2014 Renato Cardoso and Cristiane Cardoso. Excerpted by permission of Grupo Nelson.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Preface 9

Introduction 13

The Authors 17

Part I Understanding Marriage

Chapter 1 Why Bulletproof Your Marriage 23

The Metamorphosis of Marriage 25

Marriage in the Facebook Era 26

Man vs. Woman: The Final Battle 27


Chapter 2 It's Deeper 31

One Flesh, Two Sets of Problems 33

Chapter 3 The Backpack 36

5,6 Seconds of Freedom 37

Excess Baggage 41

Opposites Attract… and Then Clash 42

Attention from the Opposite Sex 43

A Happy Marriage Takes Work 45

Homework 47

Chapter 4 The Art of Problem Solving 48

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall 50

Cease fire! 52

Homework 54

Part II Emotion VS. Reason

Chapter 5 Marriage Is like a Business 57

The Goals of a Business 59

How Do Companies Solve Problems? 62

A Discovery in the Laboratory 63

Two rules for Business Survival 66

Chapter 6 Ten Steps for Problem Solving 68

The Telephone Test 82

Homework 84

Chapter 7 Installing a Lightning Rod in Your Marriage 85

Before the Lightning Rod 86

Causing Anxiety 90

Homework 91

Chapter 8 "My Marriage Just Didn't Work Out" 92

I Married the Wrong Person 93

The Soul Mate Myth 94

The Right Person vs. the Right Attitude 98

Chapter 9 The Phone Call That Saved Our Marriage 100

The List 103

Homework 106

Chapter 10 My Planet's Sun 107

Introducing: Cristiane 2.0 109

Having Your Own Light 111

Clingy Men 113

Homework 115

Part III Taking Love Apart and Putting it Back Together

Chapter 11 The Curse of Men and Women 119

Slave to Your Work 121

A Husband's Attention 124

Two for the Price of One 126

Chapter 12 Freedom from the Curse 128

The Strategy for Men 128

The Strategy for Women 134

Compensating 138

Homework 139

Chapter 13 The Root of All Divorces and Unhappy Marriages 140

Powerless to Stop Divorce 140

A Heart of Stone 143

I Will Not Change 147

Getting Rid of the Stones 151

Homework 152

Chapter 14 The Order of Relationships 154

This Referee Is Never Biased 154

And the Silver Medal Goes to 157

How to Handle Nosy People? 161

Homework 164

Chapter 15 How Men and Women Are Wired 165

A Box for Each and Every Thing 168

A Ball of Wires 170

Is He Deaf? 171

Chapter 16 Programmed by Nature 173

The Switching of Roles 174

Who am I? Where Am I? 176

Basic Needs 179

Wants and Comparisons 181

Part IV Bulletproofing It

Chapter 17 A Woman's Basic Needs 185

Appreciate and Love Her. But how? 186

Homework 194

Chapter 18 A Man's Basic Needs 195

The Poisoning of a Word 196

A True Leader 199

Men Want Meat and Potatoes 201

But He Doesn't Deserve It 206

When His Basic Needs Are Hers and Vice-Versa 207

Homework 209

Chapter 19 Sex 210

Where It Begins and Ends 211

I Don't Like Sex 214

Five Ingredients for a Great Sex Life 215

Wait, It's Not Over Yet! 218

The Mother-in-Law I Asked God for 219

Phases and Stages 220

Can We Do That? 221

Homework 222

Chapter 20 The 27 Tools 223

Chapter 21 High-Priced Love 258

Nineteen Years in a Coma 258

Lose to Win 260

How Do We Apply This to Marriage? 262

Forgiveness: The Greatest of All Sacrifices 264

So… How Does a Person Forgive? 266

Homework 268

Chapter 22 Now What? 269

Acknowledgments 273

Notes 275

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