Why You Need Not Marry the Wrong Person

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A letter from our VP:

The New York Times most read story of 2016 recently popped back up on the most popular list again, nearly a year after in first ran last May. As is often the case for the most popular story, the topic was love and relationships:Why You Will Marry the Wrong Person” by Alain de Botton.   A primary argument de Botton offers to support his pessimistic title is that couples entering the commitment of marriage can’t possibly know enough about themselves or each other to make an informed, data-driven decision to spend (or at least plan to spend) the rest of their lives together.  Our society is such that a person “in love” fails to get past the shiny veneer and discover the idiosyncrasies, the warts, the psychoses of their potential spouse…the ways in which they “are crazy.”  Even when preceded by years of dating, the curtain is pulled back only after vows have been exchanged.  Real life sets in and exposes expectations, personality quirks and manifestations of past hurts that can form a toxic brew – a vicious cycle of reactions and overreactions that severely test or even destroy the relationship.

As a strategic leader in the domain of marriage, I can attest that de Botton’s depiction of reality rings true all too often.  But what if it didn’t have to be this way?  What if it were possible to know enough about both yourself and your prospective spouse to preview both your compatibilities and potential landmines, and be equipped with language and skills to draw upon for those times when the ugliness behind the curtain is inevitably revealed?

Good news:  While marriage is always a commitment with inherent uncertainty, a plunge into the deep end of the pool of life, it need not be a blind gamble based purely on instinct and emotion.  There are easy to access tools that allow us to gain a helpful understanding of ourselves -our personality, our strengths, how we process information, how we make decisions, and so on.

In addition, there are ways to gain insights into the relationship dynamics of couple contemplating marriage.  For 35 years, PREPARE/ENRICH has provided an objective, researched and validated assessment that identifies a couple’s relationship strengths and growth areas, overlays key personality traits, and family of origin dynamics, plus a set of simple but powerful skills-based exercises designed to provide language and frameworks to constructively process the inevitable differences and conflicts that are part of any committed relationship.  The PREPARE/ENRICH assessment is not primarily a compatibility test, but based on the comprehensive portrait it provides, a couple can gain confidence to move forward or an objective reason to pause and perhaps seek outside guidance.  More importantly, the couple gains vocabulary and categories that facilitate the awareness and communication that constitute a solid foundation for a lifetime of satisfying relationship.

Thinking about taking a relationship to the next level?  Wondering if you are ready for marriage?  Looking for insights into where your relationship is strong and where it could use some work?  Check out our Couple Checkup assessment at CoupleCheckup.com.  Looking for someone to coach or counsel your relationship or prepare you for marriage?  Visit Prepare-Enrich.com and click on “Find a Facilitator.”

4 thoughts to “Why You Need Not Marry the Wrong Person

  1. I loved the idea of the assessment from the minute I first heard about it about two years ago. We paid the $35.00 to each take the enrich survey (we were encouraged to do this by our Pastor and we both thought it was a good idea – actually me more than my husband). Our pastor told us he had received the results and would get together with us to discuss them, but never did and was moved from our church to pastor another church farther away shortly after. Sometimes, I feel like we paid the $35.00 for nothing, because we never got the counseling we were hoping for after we each answered the 200 questions. It was good for both of us to each think about or own answers. I just wish we could have been able to discuss them. My marriage was in a very rocky place then, as it still is now.

    1. Hello! Thank you so much for sharing a bit about your story. I’m very sorry you never had a chance to meet with a Facilitator after you took the assessment. Having a knowledgeable Facilitator who can suggest resources and guide conversation with your spouse is very valuable.

      One thing to highlight is that there is a “Facilitator Search” on our website that you could try to use to find another Facilitator/pastor in your area. If you would like to take the assessment again because time has passed or things have changed and you see value in taking it again, we would be definitely be willing to make it available at no cost to you.

      There is a sense of courage and perseverance in your comment. Kudos to you for that! Hang in there, and let us know if we can do anything more to help you get the resources you need for your relationship.

      – Justin

  2. I am greatful my new fiance and I are involved in this. I have been divorced and know alot about regret and disappointment. He is a widower and had almost lost his 34 yr marriage at one point. They received counseling and made it.
    So we both are excited about this pre marital counseling we are receiving.

    1. Hello! Thank you very much for your comment and sharing a bit of your story and the value you are seeing from working with a PREPARE/ENRICH Facilitator. It shows wisdom that you are doing premarital counseling even though you both have prior marriage experience. I hope you continue to find it encouraging and valuable, and an inspiration for more and deeper communication. If you have any thoughts on how we can improve, don’t hesitate to let us know. And all the best to you in your new marriage!

      – Justin

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