Date: January 26, 2007
Contact: Lindsay Gladstone
Governors State University
Phone: (708) 534-7090
Fax: (708) 534-8399
For Immediate Release
University Park, Illinois, January 26, 2007 – A bit of New York came to Governors State University in January when a producer and film crew from NBC News’ “Today” show were on campus to interview Dr. Jon Carlson, GSU professor of psychology, and several students and employees of the university.
Portions of the interviews will be included in a special report on love and marriage to air on “Today” on February 6, 7, and 8.
“The three-day series is on the state of marriage in America,” explained “Today” show producer Tammy Filler. “I have really enjoyed these interviews, especially as I am married. I have heard some very interesting observations on marriage.”
Dr. Carlson spoke at length about the hard work involved in creating a successful marriage and the characteristics and realities that both positively and negatively impact the union.
“People often enter marriage with very unrealistic hopes and expectations, but expectations differ from reality. We should not expect our partners to take care of us. We should ask how we can be a better partner.”
Carlson added, “Couples should try marriage before they divorce. A better marriage can come when your focus is on making your partner happy.”
Carlson and Dr. Pat Love, who is also scheduled to appear on The Today Show, contributed their expertise in marriage and relationship counseling to the creation of a DVD/online media based college level course, “Love: What Everyone Needs to Know,” which was produced by the Division of Digital Learning and Media Design at Governors State University.
In addition to Carlson, the “Today” show team also taped the observations and opinions of Governors State University students and staff members.
Jenna Burris of Lansing, who was a student in the Love course, was happy for the opportunity to discuss marriage.
“It was a great opportunity to discuss my values. I sometimes think marriage is not positively portrayed in the media,” said Burris, who currently studying for her masters in counseling at GSU and has been married for a year and a half.
“I am enjoying learning how to be married,” Burris the “Today” show. “I was aware that it was going to be work, but thought it would be more work. For us, the key is flexibility. We are open to learning our different ways.”
Martha Lawson of Kankakee is an academic advisor in the College of Education at Governors State University and a long time fan of the “Today” show. She was thrilled to be asked questions about her 25-year marriage.
“Our marriage is not perfect and it probably never will be, but we respect each other and work through our problems together. You have to communicate or the marriage will just not work. Communication, communication, communication. I can’t say that enough.”
Mark and Lisa Kundla of Park Forest, who both work at GSU, were interviewed as a couple. Mark was the media director during filming of “Love: What Everyone Needs to Know,” and said he learned a lot during the making of the course. Both husband and wife agreed that marriage takes a lot of work, but that it is worth it.
“Before we were even engaged, we talked a lot about everything, the number of children we wanted, even their names, and our career aspirations,” said Mark.
“Love is not enough. You have to work at it and it takes both people. You need to talk, especially when there are children,” added Lisa.
According to Dr. Carlson, “There is no easy fix to an unsatisfying marriage. The tragedy is when people stay married unhappily and unsatisfied. It need not be that way. Things do not usually improve with divorce. But a marriage can improve with work and counseling.”
The new course, “Love: What Everyone Needs to Know,” continues GSU’s tradition of excellence in the production of television courses. It will be offered nationwide to more than 80 colleges and universities who already offer GSU Telecourses.
“Today” airs from 7 to 10 a.m. Monday through Friday on Chicago’s NBC affiliate, WMAQ, Channel 5.