Read an Excerpt
Before You Say "I Do"
Getting married! Excited, huh? At this very moment you may be planning a big church wedding or a simple ceremony at the courthouse. Maybe an afternoon garden wedding. (I've tried all three.) Whatever you're planning right now, it probably isn't divorce. But as we all know from those who are so free with their grim statistics, or rather, our grim statistics, a trip to the altar does not a life of wedded bliss make.
Anyone who has planned a wedding knows the event can take on a life of its own.
Wondering, as you drift off to sleep, about the Dow or the Tao is replaced by worrying about the availability of fresh baby's breath in January and the color of the groom's cummerbund. Yes, getting married is no piece of cake; in fact, it's downright scary. The only thing more frightening than getting married is being married. Once the euphoria wears off after the honeymoon, it dawns on you that you have just signed a major contract with no "buyer's remorse" clause. You have just begun a fifty-year "date" with no chance of saying at the door, "I'll call you in a few days," knowing you won't. Your date's door is your door-forever.
Mine is a voice from the trenches. Married three times, I am considerably wiser now than I was in 1969 when I first walked down the aisle on my father's arm to the theme from Romeo and Juliet. Since then, I have never forgotten an argument's source, major points, or its outcome. This is not to say I hold grudges or bear ill will. Not at all. It's just that marital bickering and spatting is often over such petty things that they're easy to remember.
Certainly, friendly disagreement and compromise are parts of every marriage, but I believe few people realize how much compromise and change may be necessary to make their marriage a stable one. I offer these quizzes as sources of premarital discussion: a means of heading off divorce at the pre-blood-test stage. There are no right answers or wrong answers, only responses that will speak for themselves and for your future.
All of this talk of marital misery may sound like a real "downer." After all, it seems as if I'm throwing cold water on a wonderful and joyous event-your wedding. But look at these quizzes and the discussions that will follow as life insurance-insurance that you really know what you're getting and that it will be great for both of you.
Divorces for the most part are horrible, soul-shaking events.
Foreign or domestic, they make you question your own value and sanity. They may look easy on the outside, but rarely is there calm at the eye of the storm. Regaining peace of mind is usually a long, painful, costly effort. So for your own sakes, for your parents' sakes, for your future children's sakes, take these quizzes and talk about the results. If you have to, fight about the results. You may find that, indeed, you both approach life in pretty much the same way and that yours is a union made in heaven. Or you may find you disagree on everything from doing the den in Early American to buying only dry dog food for Fido.
If you're still thinking, "Why rock the boat by taking these quizzes?" I understand.
That's what I thought when warning flags went up in my mind a few weeks before I married for the first time. I was sorry I hadn't followed my intuition. So take heart and do it. To be in love is great, but to know chances are good you'll be staying in love is even greater.
Excerpt from Chapter 1:
Rude Food: Twinkies or Tofu?
Chocoholics definitely have more fun, don't they? If that statement just got your sprouts and bean curd in an uproar, great-unless you're marrying a closet chocoholic. During courtship many people don't feel comfortable revealing their eating idiosyncrasies. After you are married, you may find that your spouse's mashed-banana-and-peanut-butter sandwich stimulates your own culinary creativity. Or you may find that the sight of it makes you physically ill. Try living with a person who eats apples over the sink so he can spit out the skin and pulp! Bon appetit!
1. My idea of a great snack is a. chips and dip.
b. fruit and cheese.
c. ice cream.
d. fresh raw vegetables.
e. Twinkies and Ring-Dings.
f. unsalted popcorn.
g. other ___________
2. When people criticize my eating habits, I
a. want to slap them but don't.
b. want to slap them and do.
c. appreciate their concern.
d. ignore them.
e. change my habits, at least for the moment.
3. Eating in bed is a. the eighth deadly sin.
b. deliciously decadent.
c. reserved for special occasions.
d. a fact of life.
4. Proper table manners are a. always to be used.
b. used only for company and at restaurants with real tablecloths.
d. contrived and unimportant, indicative of the superficiality of our society.
The tops of all canned goods should be rinsed off before the can is opened.