Somebody sent me this a few years ago and I thought id post it here for other people
One, Susanne and Craig's book, just out
( "Marriage Can Be Forever: Preparation Counts,")
includes really good exercises for prospective couples.
So it's worthwhile taking a look at it if
you know of people interested in marrying, or if you are yourself
deciding...and I know a couple of you are in pre-marriage 'status.' Much of
what I will be saying in this mail is in their book, but these are
also my thoughts on the subject which have been gleaned over many years
of thinking a lot about this subject.
Two, it is critical to find opportunities for
service rather than "dating," especially if being
alone together will peak your sexual
frustrations, because it is impossible to really get
to know someone if you're horny, but you get to know
them well if you can see them with
others. Too much aloneness is just potentially too
distracting. My mom used to say that one should
never be alone with someone to whom you were
sexually attracted, past midnight. True!
Besides, that's the highest recommendation
of the writings: service and
Three, trust 'yentas.' Matchmakers, ie friends who
introduce you to each other, and can see possibilites
for you, can be a tremendous
assistance because they won't, if they are true
friends, introduce you to some jerk or jerkette,
at least consciously. If someone is already
someone's well-established friend, the chances are
good that they can be true friends to you too.
And true friendship is part of excellent
character. I do believe that my sister Coral was
instrumental in introducing Sylvia to Yovanny; and our friends
Gordon and Cheryl Epp introduced Bernie and me,
quite consciously, to each other, saying that
they thought we would like one another. We did.
Gord could see the qualities in Bernie which would draw me to him,
because he knew us both
Four, appreciate someone who is the initiator of
what you value. For example, if you want to pray together with your
spouse, ensure that you are not always the one saying, "Let's pray
together." Ensure that their desire causes them to initiate too. Or, if you like
going to movies, or reading, or dining out, or whatever it is, go to
activities with other friends, both at their initiative and yours, and
find out what they like and don't like. Warning flags should arise if you
are completely different in your tastes. This can be overcome but
only with diligence and may make the work harder.
Five, listen hard to them and talk with them lots.
Observe how they are with other people, too, especially the elderly or
people of other races.
Six, see if they share ballpark ideas about
nutrition. This may simply avoid later conflict, especially if children will be
involved. I still have to struggle with my husband allowing the
children to drink a lot of Coke. I cannot change them...but it saddens me
every time I see it. I know it's not a mortal sin, but our family habits
have changed since we have two carnivores, one vegan, three sugar addicts,
one occasional low-carb dieter, and five chocolate lovers....dinner
time will never be the same! Also, do you have similar views on
exercise? Will you walk together? Hike together? Swim together? Be couch
Seven, be very very clear on as much as you can
about the whys and wherefores of previous marriages
and relationships with children.
Blended families can work well but can also require
Eight, laugh together as much as possible. Do you
share humour? If he likes salacious jokes, can you
cope with this? Does he make you laugh?
Do you make him laugh? How important is this to
both of you?
Nine, if you are comfortable with doing so, have
"down time" together...ie when you are reading a book,
and he is on the computer.
Can you sustain long silences together?
Ten, do housework together, at his place or yours or
someone else's. Are you doing dishes, and is he
cleaning the toilet? Does he assume
things about your role in the house?
Eleven, determine if either of you tends towards
jealousy and how you handle anger. Will he resent
time spent with other men who are your
friends? Are you comfortable if he has friends who
are women? Will you resent time when he wants
to be away from you? When angry, is he a
yeller, a talker-outer, a withdrawer? Are you? How
can your styles be reconciled?
Twelve, are you somewhat equal about
demonstrativeness? Do you seek to
do little loving things for one another as well as
for others? Does he know what you take in your
tea? Do you know what colour clothes he
likes? One of the things that Bernie was most
touched by, believe it or not, when we were
courting, was that I bought him some socks because I
saw that he needed them. Very prosaic, but it's
really special when someone is observant about
what others enjoy or like, and take the time
to do unobtrusive, caring things. Does he give you
small touches on the shoulder, or smiles when you're tired, from across
the room? Are you comfortable with a sense of intimacy, and showing
him your heart without fear? and vice versa?
Thirteen. Consult about money. A very brief
possible engagement of mine ended when we were visiting his parents and his
father said, "You know that after you're married I won't be able to
support you and " I was shocked. He'd never talked money and
I hadn't thought about its source, and I knew that I needed to have
confidence in being supported to some degree of partnership if raising
children. What are your respective philosophies about money? Credit
cards? Saving? Independence? Who pays for what? Accepting each
other's priorities? How will you resolve financial conflict?
Fourteen. Observe him/her with children. I think
this may not need explanation. If kids like him, if animals like him,
Fifteen, examine your own ability to show
vulnerability to each other. One of the most difficult things for us in N.Am. at
least is accepting help and assistance, especially if you've been
raised independent, feminist, or in a household where there's a
"payback" concept. One of the ways I actually measure the depth of a
friendship, including the one I have with my husband, is how willing I am to show
my own frailties and needs. If I can actually ask someone to help me, it
is a sign of confidence. Today a friend and I were at a potluck
lunch together. I asked him to bring me my plate to wash. Such a small
thing, but to be able to trust someone beyond "tarof" or politeness
and ask for such an assistance is part of my being confident. Can you
get beyond "guest" mentality. Can you let this person see you the way
you look in the morning. Can you rely on this person in sickness? I
think I learned how much I could rely on Bernie when we had a possible
crisis with my first pregnancy. It all turned out all right but until
that time I had no idea how important it was to me to be with someone who
was competent, reassuring, and didn't panic. It calmed me down
rather than feeding my own fears.
Sixteen, determine in some way whether you are
sexually compatible. Most people are, if they have desire and love, and
chemistry can even grow, but honestly, small stuff can undermine you.
I do not like beards....and as I said the other day, was appalled
when Bernie grew one shortly after we were married. I have asked him to
keep clean-shaven, and most of the time he has respected that. But what
about weight issues? Will he still love and want you if you are
fat? Have stretch marks? Will it bother you if he is bald? What if
one is a smoker or tobacco chewer and the other has distaste for these
things? What about small things like cologne? These seem minor but
after twenty years together can actually become more important. Do you
share the same attitude about issues like oral sex or birth
control? If you can't talk about these things, are you sure you should get
married? Does either of you have a "past?" Does this bother you?
Are your libidos similar, at least in terms of how
often the inclination strikes? I think chaste couples can probably say
things like, "If we were able to do so, this is a time when I would very
much like to make love with you." Or do you compliment each other?
Use endearments? Does he make you feel beautiful? Do you make him feel
good about his body? This area is a really tricky one for Baha'is, in
some ways, but it is an important area of communication...when you can't be
physically intimate before marriage, you can still become informed of
one another's thoughts and feelings, can't you? How important is sex to
either of you?
Seventeen, do you agree on the details of a wedding?
Simple, or elaborate? Do you have similar views about housing
and lifestyle? Look how my sisters live in Central America, having
married Central Americans. Could you do that? I don't think I
could. I've been there, and much as I like many things about being there, I
am much more comfortable as a visitor, and not very good at
submitting financial autonomy to a community/family living environment.
You have to be willing to try. I don't think I would be, so you
need to know yourself and each other to some degree. How do you deal with
each other's families? What do you fear? Do you share similar
tastes in beauty? Or not? Is it important to you? Is one more tidy than
the other? Is this a potential source of irritation? Know each other's
Eighteen, if you are marrying for a second or third
or more time, does this person share similarities with your previous
spouse/s? Apparently people tend to remarry similar types of people, and
this can undermine the success of subsequent marriages. Can you break
your own patterns? Are you always attracted to the same physical type?
Nineteen, which seems like a good number to stop at:
Do you love one another enough to overcome difficulties in other
areas? Is his character "loving," not just to you, but to all? Is yours?
We are none of us able to anticipate all of these
things, but if you know the answers to these kinds of questions, and
are happy, generally, with them, you probably have a good crack at
Also, theres a really good book called "Conscious Courtship" by Raymond Switzer.
Costs around £10 ($20) but is a real eye-opener and is worth every penny.
http://www.bahaibookstore.com/productde ... fm?PC=7116
All research or scholarship questions
1 post • Page 1 of 1
"I have desired only what Thou didst desire, and love only what Thou dost love"