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.”