Susan Barth
Advocate for Marriage Education in Israel

The Battle of Midway: a Textbook for Achieving Healthy and Happy Marriages

The Battle of Midway was an epic battle fought exactly 70 years ago from June 04 – June 06, 1942 and is to this day considered the turning point of the Pacific Campaign in World War II and one of the greatest naval battles of history as the enormous might of the Imperial Japanese Navy was pitted against the US Navy which was heavily outnumbered in personnel and military hardware. The actual outcome of the battle was determined during a five minute span wherein the US Navy aircraft launched from 3 carriers (the Yorktown, the Hornet and the Enterprise) destroyed three Japanese aircraft carriers (the Akagi, the Kaga, the Soryu) and later -the Hiryu (all of which had been used in the famous Pearl Harbor Japanese attack) while suffering the loss of only one US carrier (the Yorktown). In addition to the hardware lost, 3,057 Japanese were killed, including more than 100 trained Japanese pilots versus a loss of 307 Americans.

Military analysts have poured over the tactical and strategic errors that the Japanese leaders Vice Admiral Chuichi Nagumo and Fleet Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto made but there is no denying that the Midway Battle derailed the expansionist and ambitious plans of Japan in the Pacific operation to destroy Midway Island and the entire American naval fleet.

On the other hand, the Battle also demonstrated the decisive leadership capabilities of the US leadership led by Chester W. Nimitz, Frank J. Fletcher and Raymond A. Spruance as well as the courage of the many officers and sailors who lost their lives carrying out their missions on behalf of the US Navy.

Lessons of Midway for marriage partners

The lessons of Midway can also be applied to marriages – couples who understand and internalize the lessons of the successful US military leaders have the opportunity to have happy and healthy marriages built on foundations of mutual accountability and acceptance of responsibility, trust, open communication with active listening and respect and clarity, and recognition of  the necessity for teamwork. 

Unfortunately, in our times, there are too many instances of marriages becoming a battlefield and a contest of wills and competition- with spouses locked into a mindset of mind reading, no win situations and power struggles. In Fighting for Your Marriage by Howard J. Markman, Scott M. Stanley and Susan L. Blumberg,  the authors present four danger signs of escalation, invalidation, withdrawal and avoidance and negative interpretations putting couples at risk of unhappiness and divorce.

It is vital that  partners sit down and discuss goals and methods of problem solving along with discussion of their respective visions for their marriage. As demonstrated by the Midway operation, the couple should be flexible enough to made “mid course corrections” and navigate stormy times with calm dialogue.

From Midway to Marriage Education – the way to build healthy and happy relationships

How does a couple learn how to achieve the same goals as the Midway victory? Marriage education is a means of helping couples learn the skills necessary for reaching these “Midway goals”.

An example of one of the most successful scientifically proven marriage education programs is PREP (the Prevention and Relationship Education Program) with Scott Stanley PhD and Howard Markman PhD as Directors. Howard Markman is a Professor of Psychology of the University of Denver and Co-Director of the Center for Marital and Family Studies. He is one of the leading researchers in the prediction and prevention of marital distress and divorce and in research based relationship and marriage education and intervention programs.

I-PREP, the Israeli version (in Hebrew and English) based on PREP, offers workshops empowering Israeli couples to achieve a healthy sustainable relationship and to cope with the difficulties that may arise during times of change.

 Midway –a roadmap for healthy marriages

The Battle of Midway provides a roadmap for how victory can be obtained through mutual cooperation, teamwork, dedication to the mission, focus on goals and willingness to make adjustments after careful consideration of all risk factors.

Happy and healthy marriages likewise are founded on the same principles. The lessons learned from the Battle of Midway can transform our challenges into examples of teamwork and successful communication and lead to healthy and happy marriages for generations to come.


Fighting for Your Marriage, Third Edition -Howard J.Markman, Scott M. Stanley, Susan L. Blumberg –Jossey-Bass, 2010 ISBN 978-0-470-48591-0



About the Author
Susan Barth is founder and director of Israeli non profit Together in Happiness/B'Yachad B'Osher, promoting stronger, healthier marriages impacting Israeli society. A Project Management Professional (PMP) and businesswoman from the US, Susan sponsored and chaired the First International Conference on Marriage Education in Israel (attended by over 360 professionals) in Jerusalem in memory of her parents and launched I-PREP, an innovative marriage education curriculum. On November 8, 2017, Together in Happiness co-hosted with MK Yehudah Glick a historic Knesset seminar promoting government support for pre-marriage education