Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts: Seven Questions to Ask Before - and After - You Marry

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Overview

Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts, created by relationship experts Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott, is a comprehensive marriage program designed specifically for today’s couples by a couple. And now, in this updated edition, the Parrotts’ award-winning approach has been expanded to incorporate ten more years of feedback, research, and professional experience.

This is more than a book—it’s practically a self-guided premarital counseling course, and it is used by counselors and ...

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Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts: Seven Questions to Ask Before---and After---You Marry

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Overview

Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts, created by relationship experts Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott, is a comprehensive marriage program designed specifically for today’s couples by a couple. And now, in this updated edition, the Parrotts’ award-winning approach has been expanded to incorporate ten more years of feedback, research, and professional experience.

This is more than a book—it’s practically a self-guided premarital counseling course, and it is used by counselors and churches across the country and, now in ten languages, worldwide. Questions at the end of every chapter help you explore each topic personally. Companion men’s and women’s workbooks* full of self-tests and exercises help you apply what you learn and enjoy intimate discussions along the way. There is even a seven-session DVD kit (with a bonus session for people entering a second marriage) available that you can use on your own or with other couples in a group or a class that want to grow together. In this dynamic DVD you’ll not only hear entertaining and insightful teaching from The Parrotts, but you’ll also meet other real-life couples who provide amazing candor and perspective.

Relationship experts Les and Leslie Parrott show you the secrets to building a marriage that lasts.
• Uncover the most important misbeliefs of marriage
• Learn how to communicate with instant understanding
• Discover the secret to reducing and resolving conflict
• Master the skills of money management
• Get your sex life off to a great start
• Understand the three essential ingredients to lasting love
• Discover the importance of becoming “soul mates” … and more.
Make your marriage everything it is meant to be. Save your marriage—before (and after) it starts.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780310259824
  • Publisher: Zondervan
  • Publication date: 10/1/2006
  • Edition description: Revised
  • Pages: 176
  • Sales rank: 65,191
  • Product dimensions: 6.25 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author

Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott are founders of RealRelationships.com and the Center for Relationship Development at Seattle Pacific University. Their bestselling books include Love Talk, Crazy Good Sex, and the award-winning Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts. Their work has been featured in the New York Times and USA Today, and they have appeared on CNN, Good Morning America, and Oprah. They live with their two young sons in Seattle.
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Read an Excerpt

Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts


By Les Parrott Leslie Parrott

Zondervan

Copyright © 2006 Les and Leslie Parrott
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-310-25982-7


Chapter One

Have You Faced the Myths of Marriage with Honesty?

We have been poisoned by fairy tales. ANAIS NIN

Tom and Laura came to see us just nine months after their wedding. They had swallowed the happily-ever-after myth whole and were now feeling queasy. "Before we got married we couldn't bear to be apart from one another," Laura confided. "We did almost everything together, and I thought that's how it would be in our marriage, even more so." She paused for a moment. "But now Tom needs more space. It seems like he's not the guy I married."

Tom rolled his eyes as Laura continued: "He used to be so considerate and thoughtful before we were married-"

"Oh, and I'm a total slouch now?" Tom interrupted.

"Of course not. You-or maybe we-are just different now."

Nervously twisting his wedding band, Tom looked at Laura: "Marriage isn't what I expected either. I didn't expect it to be a big honeymoon or anything; I just thought you would try to make life a little easier for me. Instead, when I come home from the office, all you want is to go out or-"

"I make dinner every night for you," Laura interrupted.

Surprised by their display of unrestrained emotion in front of us, they stopped silent and looked to usas if to say, "See, our marriage isn't what it's supposed to be."

Tom and Laura entered their marriage believing that happiness would abound. They had heard that marriage was hard work, but they didn't expect it to be a twenty-four-hour, seven-day-a-week job.

The belief in a happily-ever-after marriage is one of the most widely held and destructive marriage myths. But it is only the tip of the marital-myth iceberg. Every difficult marriage is plagued by a vast assortment of misconceptions about what marriage should be. In this chapter, however, we consider only those ideas that are most harmful and most common:

1. "We expect exactly the same things from marriage."

2. "Everything good in our relationship will get better."

3. "Everything bad in my life will disappear."

4. "My spouse will make me whole."

The goal of this chapter is to take the mythology out of marriage. For too long, marriage has been saddled with unrealistic expectations and misguided assumptions. Liberated from these four myths, couples can settle into the real world of marriage-with all its joys and sorrows, passion and pain.

Myth One: "We Expect Exactly the Same Things from Marriage"

What we anticipate seldom occurs, what we least expect generally happens-especially in marriage. Saying "I do" brings with it a host of conscious and unconscious expectations that aren't always fulfilled.

Neil and Cathy, a couple in their late twenties and married for four years, each had a clear image of what life together would be like, but they had never discussed their ideas. They, like most newlyweds, simply assumed the other had an identical picture of marriage in mind. Nothing, however, could have been further from the truth.

Cathy: "I expected married life to bring more stability and predictability to our lifestyle. To me it meant working in the garden together."

Neil: "I wanted our marriage to be exciting and spontaneous, not a ho-hum routine. To me it meant riding a motorcycle together."

As far back as early childhood, Neil and Cathy began dreaming of how married life would be. They grew up in homes where parents modeled "married life." They read books describing loving relationships. They watched television shows and movies depicting scenes from marriage. For years they had fantasized about life after crossing the threshold. With little effort, each had formed an idea of what it would and should be like to live as a married couple.

Consciously and unconsciously, Neil and Cathy painted brushstrokes on their mental marital canvases. But it never occurred to either of them that the other might be working from a different palette. They simply assumed their lifelong partner would work with complementary colors and in a similar style.

The first year of marriage, however, revealed sharp and unexpected contrasts. What Cathy thought of as security, Neil thought of as boring. They valued many of the same things, but with different levels of intensity. Cathy painted carefully with delicate pastels; Neil painted boldly with primary colors.

Most incongruous expectations fall into two major categories: unspoken rules and unconscious roles. Bringing both of them out into the open can save years of wear and tear on a young marriage.

Unspoken Rules

Everyone lives by a set of rules that is rarely spoken but always known. Needless to say, unspoken rules become more vocal when our spouse "breaks" them. This became painfully obvious to us when we visited our families for the first time as a married couple.

One Christmas, we flew from Los Angeles to Chicago to be with our families for the holidays. The first night was at my (Leslie's) house. As was my family's custom, I woke up early in the morning to squeeze in every possible minute with my family. Les, on the other hand, slept in.

I interpreted Les's sleeping as avoidance and rejection and felt he did not value time with my family. "It's embarrassing to me," I told Les. "Everyone is up and eating in the kitchen. Don't you want to be with us?"

Les, on the other hand, didn't understand my intensity. "What did I do? I'm just catching up from jet lag. I'll come down after my shower," he said. As I found out later, Les expected a slower, easier pace during the holidays, because that's the way it was at his house.

In this incident, Les had broken a rule he didn't know existed, and I discovered a rule I had never put into words. Both of us felt misunderstood and frustrated. We both had our own ideas about what was acceptable, and it never occurred to either of us that our expectations would be so different. Each of us became irritated by the other's unspoken expectations and frustrated that the other did not live by the same rules.

Since that first Christmas we have learned to discuss our secret expectations and make our silent rules known. We have also helped the couples we counsel to become more aware of their own unspoken rules, to keep little problems from becoming big ones. Here is a sampling of the rules we have heard from other couples:

Don't interrupt another's work. Always buy organic fruits and vegetables. Don't ask for help unless you are desperate. Downplay your successes.

Always leave the butter on the counter (not in the fridge).

Don't work too long or too hard.

Always celebrate birthdays in a big way.

Never raise your voice.

Don't talk about your body.

Always be on time.

Clean the kitchen before you go to bed.

Don't talk about your feelings.

Always pay bills the day they arrive.

Don't drive fast.

Never buy dessert at a restaurant.

Only use a credit card in an emergency.

Don't buy expensive gifts.

Exercise 1: Your Personal ten Commandments

Are you walking through a marital minefield of unspoken rules? The workbook exercise Your Personal Ten Commandments can help you heighten your awareness of your unspoken rules and thus avoid needless explosions. It will help you recognize that you are free to accept, reject, challenge, and change the rules for the sake of your relationship.

Unconscious Roles

The second source of mismatched expectations involves the unconscious roles that you and your partner fall into, almost involuntarily. Just as an actor in a dramatic performance follows a script, so do married couples. Without knowing it, a bride and groom are drawn into acting out roles that they form from a blend of their personal dispositions, family backgrounds, and marital expectations.

Mark and Jenny ran into their unconscious roles head-on when they returned from their honeymoon and began to set up house, arranging furniture, organizing closets, and hanging pictures. Before they knew it, they were fighting. "Where do you want this table?" Mark asked. "I don't know; where do you think it should go?" Jenny replied. "Just tell me where to put it!" Mark said, exasperated. Over and over again, they repeated this scenario, each one looking to the other to take the lead, but neither one doing so.

Unconsciously, Jenny and Mark were acting out the roles they had observed in their families of origin. Jenny's dad, a fix-it kind of person with a decorator's eye, had all the right tools and was handy around the house. Her mom simply assisted him when needed. Mark's dad, on the other hand, was a busy executive who hardly knew how to replace a burned-out light bulb, and his mom was the one who organized the home. Needless to say, Mark and Jenny took on their "assigned" roles as husband and wife, then wondered why the other wasn't pulling his or her weight.

Of course, there are an endless number of unconscious roles husbands and wives fall into. Some of the more common ones include:

the planner the navigator

the shopper the money manager

the secret-keeper the cook

the comedian the gift-buyer

the cleaner

If you are like most couples, you will try to follow a script that was written by the role models you grew up with. Being aware of this natural tendency is often all it takes to save you from a disappointing drama. Once you are aware of the roles you each tend to take, you can then discuss how to write a new script together.

Because of their prescribed roles, Mark and Jenny went through their first year of marriage without ever hanging a single picture! Not until they were in counseling did Mark and Jenny become aware of the reason for their stalemate and make a decision to change their unconsciously assigned roles. As Jenny said, "Writing our own script makes me feel like we are building our own marriage and not just being robots."

Exercise 2: Making Your roles Conscious

Are you expecting a specific script to be played out in your marriage? Do you find yourself or your partner reading the wrong lines? To play your parts on a conscious level, take time to complete the workbook exercise Making Your Roles Conscious. It may help you recast your parts and avoid a disenchanting drama.

The expectations you bring to your partnership can make or break your marriage. Don't miss out on the sterling moments of marriage because your ideals are out of sync with your partner's. Don't believe the myth that you and your partner automatically come with the same expectations for marriage. Instead, remember that the more openly you discuss your differing expectations, the more likely you are to create a vision of marriage that you agree on-one that is unique to the two of you.

Myth Two: "Everything Good in Our Relationship Will Get Better"

One need only listen to just about any top-forty song on the radio to hear the common but destructive myth that says everything good in a relationship will get better. The truth is that not everything gets better. Many things improve in relationships, but some things become more difficult. Every successful marriage requires necessary losses, and in choosing to marry, you inevitably go through a mourning process.

For starters, marriage is a rite of passage that often means giving up childhood. Molly, a twenty-three-year-old newlywed, recalled the unexpected loss she felt just after her engagement: "As soon as we announced that we were getting married I became like a little girl. That night I cried on my father's shoulder and had this terribly sad feeling that I was leaving my family forever. I looked at David, my fiance, and thought, Who is this man who is taking me away?"

Marriage means giving up a carefree lifestyle and coming to terms with new limits. It means unexpected inconveniences.

Mike Mason, in his delightful book The Mystery of Marriage, likens marriage to a tree growing up through the center of one's living room. "It is something that is just there, and it is huge, and everything has been built around it, and wherever one happens to be going-to the fridge, to bed, to the bathroom, or out the front door-the tree has to be taken into account. It cannot be gone through; it must respectfully be gone around.... It is beautiful, unique, exotic: but also, let's face it, it is at times an enormous inconvenience."

Marriage is filled with both enjoyable and tedious trade-offs, but by far the most dramatic loss experienced in a new marriage is the idealized image you have of your partner. This was the toughest myth we encountered in our marriage. Each of us had an airbrushed mental picture of who the other was. But eventually, married life asked us to look reality square in the face and reckon with the fact that we did not marry the person we thought we did. And-brace yourself-neither will you.

Most relationships begin with an emotional honeymoon, a time of deep and passionate romance. But this romance is invariably temporary. In The Road Less Traveled, Dr. Scott Peck says that "no matter whom we fall in love with, we sooner or later fall out of love if the relationship continues long enough." He does not mean that we cease loving our partner. He means that the feeling of ecstatic love that characterizes the experience of falling in love always passes. "The honeymoon always ends," he states. "The bloom of romance always fades."

It is an illusion that the romance in the beginning of a relationship will last forever. This may be hard to swallow (it was for us), but debunking the myth of eternal romance will do more than just about anything to help you build a lifelong happy marriage.

Here's the bottom line: Each of us constructs an idealized image of the person we marry. The image is planted by our partner's eager efforts to put his best foot forward, but it takes root in the rich soil of our romantic fantasies. We want to see our partner at his best. We imagine, for example, that he would never become irritable or put on excess weight. We seek out and attend to what we find admirable and blank out every blemish. We see him as more noble, more attractive, more intelligent, more gifted than he really is. But not for long.

The stark fact is that this phase is necessarily fleeting. Some experts believe the half-life of romantic love is about three months, after which you have only half the amount of romantic feelings you started out with. Others believe romantic love stays at a peak for two to three years before starting to fade. Whichever theory is correct, you can be sure that the enchantment of romance will begin to fade eventually. The point is that we marry an image and only later discover the real person.

An attorney we know who handles many divorce cases told us that the number-one reason two people split up is that they "refuse to accept the fact that they are married to a human being."

In every marriage, mutual hope gives way to mutual disillusionment the moment you realize your partner is not the perfect person you thought you married. But then again, he can't be. No human being can fulfill our idealized dreams. A letdown is inevitable. But there is sunshine behind the dark clouds of disappointment. Once you realize that your marriage is not a source of constant romance, you can appreciate the fleeting moments of romance for what they are-a very special experience.

Here's the good news: Disenchantment enables you to move into a deeper intimacy.

Exercise 3: From idealizing to realizing Your Partner Once we accept the fact that all experiences of love do not conform to the ecstasy of romance, once we relinquish the hoped-for ideals of our partnership, we gain strength and discover the true beauty of marriage. The workbook exercise From Idealizing to Realizing Your Partner can help you take the first steps in that direction.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts by Les Parrott Leslie Parrott Copyright © 2006 by Les and Leslie Parrott. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments. 11
Before You Begin. 13
Question 1: Have You Faced the Myths of Marriage with Honesty?. 19
Question 2: Can You Identify Your Love Style? . 35
Question 3: Have You Developed the Habit of Happiness? . 59
Question 4: Can You Say What You Mean and Understand
What You Hear? . 77
Question 5: Have You Bridged the Gender Gap? . 97
Question 6: Do You Know How to Fight a Good Fight?. 117
Question 7: Are You and Your Partner Soul Mates?. 137
Notes . 157
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First Chapter

Before You Begin
We never had premarital counseling, but we spent the first year of our married life in therapy. Once a week, we met with a counselor who helped us iron out the wrinkles we never even saw before getting married. Not that we were in serious trouble. But we had this naive idea that after our wedding our life would fall naturally into place, and a marriage preparation course or counseling never entered our minds. We had dated for six years before our nine-month engagement, and we had a lot in common (even our first names). We simply thought we would tie the proverbial knot, set up house, and as the fairy tales say, 'live happily ever after.'
But we didn't. The first years of marriage were difficult right from the start. Literally. In the limousine ride away from the church, as both of us waved good-bye to our family and friends through the back window, I (Leslie) began to cry.
'What's wrong?' Les asked.
I kept crying and didn't answer.
'Are you happy or sad?' Les put his arm around my shoulders and waited for a reply. When I didn't answer, he asked again, 'What's going on inside you?'
'I don't know,' I whimpered. 'I don't know.'
Les gave me a squeeze with his arm. I knew I was hurting him, but
I didn't know what to say or why I was feeling so sad.
Except for the clanging of the tin cans behind us, the ride to the airport that afternoon, June 30, 1984, was quiet. As we waited for
14 Before You Begin our flight in a smoke-filled terminal at O'Hare Airport, both of us felt hazy about what we had just been through. Were we really married?
It didn't feel like it. We were newlyweds, but we felt more like refugees.
After boarding the plane, we fell into our seats, exhausted. So much time and energy had led up to that wedding ceremony. And it had gone as planned. But now what? Both of us sat on the plane,
emotionally spent, quietly pondering the meaning of marriage. What was it all about, this marriage? Why didn't I feel any different? Who was this person I married, really?
For Better or Worse?
Let's be honest. The 'till death do us part' statement of the marriage vow rings increasingly ironic. In the 1930s, one out of seven marriages ended in divorce. In the 1960s, it was one out of four. Of the 2.4
million couples who will get married this year in the United States,
it is predicted that at least 43 percent will not survive. For too many couples,
marriage has become 'till divorce do us part.'1
Every couple marrying today is at risk. More than two-hundred thousand new marriages each year end prior to the couple's second anniversary. After they toss the bouquet and return the tuxedos,
couples often assume they're headed for marital bliss. But a study of those who recently tied the knot revealed that 49 percent reported having serious marital problems. Half were already having doubts about whether their marriages would last.2
The truth is, most engaged couples prepare more for their wedding than they do for their marriage. The $50-billion-a-year wedding industry can testify to that fact. According to experts, the average two-hundred guest wedding today costs twenty-two thousand dollars.
3 More than one million copies of bridal magazines are sold each month, focusing mainly on wedding ceremonies, honeymoons, and home furnishings --- but not on marriage itself.
Before You Begin 15
Looking back, it seems silly that Les and I did so much to prepare for our wedding and so little to prepare for our marriage. But the truth is that less than a fifth of all marriages in America are preceded by some kind of formal marriage preparation.4
One wonders what would be the effect if the same amount of time,
energy, and money spent on the ceremony was invested in the marriage. Planning the perfect wedding too often takes precedence over planning a successful marriage. And lack of planning is the ultimate saboteur of marriage.
The wedding-bell blues are common after the excitement of an elaborate wedding celebration. 'The emotional high of ordering engraved invitations, selecting music for the ceremony, and choosing a china pattern took my attention off the big picture,' a young bride told us. 'The ceremony was more tangible and less of a gamble than the marriage. I put my energy into the wedding and hoped for the best.' For too long the trend has been to fall in love, marry, and hope for the best.
This book offers a different approach.
How to Predict a Happy Marriage
Over the last three decades, marriage specialists have researched the ingredients of a happy marriage. As a result, we know more about building a successful marriage today than ever before. For example,
happily married couples will have:
* healthy expectations of marriage
* a realistic concept of love
* a positive attitude and outlook toward life
* the ability to communicate their feelings
* an understanding and acceptance of their gender differences
* the ability to make decisions and settle arguments
* a common spiritual foundation and goal
In short, the indicators of a healthy marriage form the basis of the seven questions we pose in this book.5 Every couple should be aware of these issues before (and after) they marry. Taking the time to understand these issues is like investing in an insurance policy against divorce.
Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts (SYMBIS) is based on the fact that marriage doesn't have to be a gamble. As a psychologist (Les)
and a marriage and family therapist (Leslie) who counsel hundreds of married couples,
we have learned that living happily ever after is less a mystery than it is the mastery of certain skills. Although married life will always have its difficulties, mastering these life skills will steadily and dramatically improve your relationship.
Many couples wrongly blame in-laws, money, and sex for breakups and marital dissatisfaction. However, the hot points in marriage usually result from poor communication, gender issues, and lack of spiritual health, to name a few. This book cuts to the heart of every marital conflict. Whether single and dating, in a committed relationship,
contemplating marriage, or already ensconced in one, this book will help you learn the skills you'll need for a lasting and happy life together --- before unhappiness sets in.
Getting the Most from SYMBIS
We wrote the first edition of this book ten years ago, and since that time it has been used by hundreds of thousands of couples who want the very best for their marriage. That's why we've updated and expanded it with the latest and greatest information on lifelong love. In addition to shoring up any lag in research findings, we've added new material on sex as well as money. Over the years we've heard from many couples who have wanted more information and exercises on these topics. We've also added an online premarital assessment that can be found at www.RealRelationships.com.
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Customer Reviews

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( 21 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 22 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 20, 2008

    gender biased and outdated

    This book was required reading for premarital counseling at our church. Since when does being a Christian require one to dismiss all discourse on gender differences (are they innate or learned?) as having been settled 'once and for all?' (and by science, no less) as this book suggests? The advice in this book reflects that premise: In the book that was 'contextualized for my gender' I was told how to deal with my emotions when my husband forgets the anniversary of our first date while his gender-contextualized book reminds him that 'most men do not realize that women need to be respected, because men and women react very differently to not being respected.' What? It would be silly if this weren't so harmful. People read these books with eyes and ears wide open as they are preparing for marriage, in good faith that it will dole out helpful advice. Instead of talking couples through thought-provoking questions to ask of themselves and each other, couples are told to take gender stereotypes into account when communicating and interacting with their spouse. Marriages need all the help they can get. I want my marriage to be grounded in faith but I don't think I should be asked to swallow outdated and harmful gender stereotypes in order to get permission to marry. The fact that our preist based her marriage counseling on this book made us seriously second-guess our decision to marry in that church.

    4 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 20, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A must read for engaged couples

    While this book isn't ground breaking in any sort of way, what it does it does well and that's to get you talking about things before you get married. Me and my wife read this when we were engaged and having been married before there were a lot of things that I related too. It may seem silly to talk about who's going to take out the trash and who's going to do the dishes, however if you aren't both on the same page then conflict will arise due to lack of communication. Of course there is so much more to this book than that. It's a quick read and one you owe yourself and your future spouse. It's best if you both read through it.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 26, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Totally Eye Opening

    I'm getting married October 24th 2009. My fiance and I have been going to pre-marital counseling and reading this book! Honestly, this book is so eye opening, and I feel like it's not only preparing me to keep and open mind in my marriage, but also making me aware of that fact that.... There is no perfect marriage and there is no "Happily Ever After" that a couple has not WORKED their booty's off to attain!! Marriage doesn't come easy, and it only becomes great when both parties have WORKED HARD at it! I love this book!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 21, 2008

    Every engaged couple should read this book

    Our church selected this book for pre-marriage classes. At first I thought it was simplistic because I thought that my boyfriend and I had talked about everything. Was I wrong! This book really facilitates talking about the really important things to kicking off your marriage. I would really recommend doing the workbook at the same time as the book 'it has points in the book to complete the exercises'. This really forces you to apply what you are reading.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 30, 2008

    A reviewer

    I highly recommend this book. It has been so great for my fiance and I to read during our engagement. Even if you're already married, I think it would still be really helpful. There are so many things in it that seem like they would actually be common sense, but I never would have thought about it in the way they explain it and what to do in certain situations. Buy it if you are even considering marriage!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 23, 2012

    Xavier

    :) reserve this book only for stories...

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 23, 2012

    Slain

    ;) Alright

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2011

    Good Basic Foundation

    This book was an easy read with great common sense points that most people wouldn't have given much thought before going into a marriage

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2011

    It's a Life Saver

    In preparation of our upcoming nuptials my Finance and I read this book. It was not a dull read at all and the workbooks made comparing notes (or rather relationship expectations) fun and exciting (as opposed to creating anxiety). This book is relevant to readers at any stage of a committed relationship. It is a great guide to cooperating and living a fulfilling life as companions.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 4, 2002

    Great for so many reasons...

    My fiancee and I just finished this book and had a great time while we were working on it. While we already had great communication, this book helped us think about a few things we hadn't come up with on our own and reconfirmed our thoughts and expectations about how we want to live our lives together. I highly recommend this to anyone getting married!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 9, 2001

    Perfect for the Engaged or Newly Married Couple

    My fiance and I used this book and the workbooks for our pre-marital counseling. It was a down to earth look at communication, understanding ourselves better, and where do we as a couple meet in the middle. It upholds a model of biblical equality for the male/female relationship and was very refershing in its honesty. I have recommended this to other engaged couples and recommend it to you, as well.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 23, 2001

    A Must-Read for the Engaged Couple

    A friend recommended that my fiance and I read this book, and it helped our relationship immensely. The authors opened our eyes to many myths about the marriage relationship, and helped my fiance and I understand one another better. The workbooks were also helpful, because we wrote our answers individually, then discussed our responses. By reading this book together, my fiance and I discovered more about each other than we had previously in our three year dating relationship. He has since read the book by himself, raving about how much it has helped him understand our upcoming roles as a Christian husband and wife. I think every engaged couple should read this book. I now feel better prepared for marriage, thanks to the insightful words of Les and Leslie Parrott.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 12, 1999

    Incredible!!!

    Most practical advice on marriage I have read yet! Down to earth examination of problems couples face and how to solve them. Also great b/c written by husband and wife team, so both perspectives are well represented.

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    Posted October 28, 2011

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    Posted November 18, 2013

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    Posted December 1, 2010

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    Posted July 21, 2011

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    Posted September 26, 2011

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