This book is for adults of all ages who want to get married the first time or be married again. This includes single adults, couples living together, divorced individuals, and adults who lost their mates through death. It's also for married couples who want to strengthen their relationship.
There are a lot of ideas and recommendations. These come from over 40 years of happy married life by the author and his wife, and many friends like them. He has studied marriage and taught classes on it. There are questions throughout the book for you to answer. These will help you to compare the material to your life. Anyone interested in marriage will find this book a valuable resource.
After the Introduction, there is material on the author's marital experiences. This helps you to identify with him and it provides a background for many things stated in this book.
The book then covers the idea of falling in love and how real this may be in your case. This is followed by information on how men and women need one another. Similarities and differences are discussed, and the roles they each play. Even equality and social trends are covered.
Next look at who you are before marriage. Do you have sincere desire, adequate preparation, an open mind, and positive attitude? You must judge yourself accurately and fairly. It's important to know yourself well and evaluate your current situation relative to marriage and future family life. You will have to share many things about yourself with any new partner. These efforts prepare you for interacting with a potential new partner in successful ways.
It's essential that you make the effort to socialize with people where you can meet potential mates. You should have already decided what qualifications you want in a mate. This will help you to select who you will ask out or whether you will accept an invitation to go on a date. These efforts help to determine whether you see the other individual a second or third time. You may go out with several individuals. Hopefully, you will settle upon one who seems to be a good fit for you.
Exclusive dating comes next. This is a period in which you date only one individual and develop a more serious relationship. During the weeks and months of interaction a lot of information is exchanged in order to help each mate become satisfied that the other individual would be a good marital partner. Depending on the age and previous experiences of each person, a lot of topics need to be discussed. These could range from jobs to children to health. Usually people have more "baggage" with age, and this must be accepted by each mate. In some cases prenuptial agreements are appropriate. Finally, each mate must come to the conclusion that the other person is a good fit for them. It's then time to make a decision, which includes a commitment to the other individual and to marriage. Putting this type of effort into dating helps to ensure that your choice of a mate is a good one. This avoids many problems from arising after marriage.
Being a good couple after marriage presents many challenges. Your compatibility with each other is tested right away when you live with someone compared to merely dating them. There are adjustments to one another and daily routines that must be established. Tolerance must be shown for each other. It's important to learn how to communicate well via words, as well as emotions and feelings. Do not fail to discuss important things. Keep some information within the marriage and do not share it with others, including children. Avoid gossip. There should be honesty and openness, not deceit. Likewise avoid criticism, disagreements, arguments, and conflicts.
The most important thing is to keep the relationship alive over time despite the various things that can come into your lives as a couple. In other words, stay in love. Have some romance over the years. There should be a spirit of forgiveness and harmony between you despite what is going on around you.
Marriage involves intimacy and privacy in several ways. This includes appropriate sexual activity between husband and wife.
Any good relationship depends on unity. There must be trust and loyalty, cooperation and teamwork, flexibility, resiliency, joint decisions, compromise, and problem-solving skills.
It's important that a couple have some things in common. These include goals, principles and preferences, ethics and morality, virtues, values, interests, religion, and politics. The strengths of one mate should make up for the weaknesses of the other mate and vice versa.
Married individuals deal with a lot of practical matters. There must be a lot of sharing, as well as satisfying needs and wants. There could be too much materialism. Health problems could arise. Responsibilities and duties, as well as work, must be addressed.
Education and job training are important. So are employment and career goals. Running your own business could affect your marriage in many ways.
Money affects marriage in many ways. These include family income, financial obligations, housing, insurance, savings and investments, budgeting, and financial records.
No marriage is complete without a variety of good activities, both joint and separate ones, for husbands and wives. Some of these include music and entertainment, television and movies, reading, sports and physical activities, and social life.
There are many things to do like seeking advice, making good choices, focusing your efforts on worthwhile things in order to achieve the success that you want. Likewise, there are things to avoid like too much dependency, frequent disappointment, doing things your mate doesn't like, irritations, frustration, impatience, lack of trust, loneliness, pessimism, pride, selfishness, too much time apart, and unfairness.
It's important to safeguard your marriage. Understand and appreciate the value of it. Monitor your thoughts and feelings at all times. Be on guard and solve any issues or problems early in order to avoid arguments and fights. Use marriage retreats and counseling to strengthen and save a marriage. You can avoid divorce if you work together.
With most marriages comes parenting. Balance marriage and parenting. Take into account all family considerations. Be an active parent for your children.
With midlife come changes in the lives of each mate. These can range from a midlife crisis to children leaving home and leaving a couple staring at one another. There is being a grandparent. It's important to have marital activities even at midlife. Along with this is retirement preparation.
Sometimes the marriage will end because a couple will stop living together, or they agree to a temporary separation, or divorce occurs, or there is a death. For these situations, work out the best separation you can for both parties and any children involved.
Just as marriage can end, it can begin again. There is marriage after divorce and marriage after the death of a mate.
In summary this book will help you to get married and stay happily married. Read thoughtfully and utilize its ideas along with your own. Some chapters may be more relevant for your situation today. If you use the book properly, you'll benefit from it. Remember, just because you know something in the book doesn't mean you're fully using it. My wife and I are still working on things in this book.