Elvis Isn't the Only One to Blame! by RRBoudin [WorldCat.org]
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Look before you leap : a premarital guide for couples

by Sandra Levy Ceren

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Elvis Isn't the Only One to Blame!   (2009-07-18)

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by RRBoudin

What’s the reason behind the growing divorce rate?  It must be Elvis performing marriage ceremonies at drive-thrus in Las Vegas, right?  Well, that’s one theory.  Another is that couples are not learning the necessary information they need to know about their partners in order to answer the ultimate question: “Is he/she the one?”  Nowadays, it is easy to get caught up in a whirlwind romance and find yourself married six weeks after initially meeting.  While these relationships can stand the test of time, it’s not common.  There are preventative measures you can take in order to lessen the chance that you’ll be sitting across the table from your spouse five years from now arguing over who gets the dog.  Many couples choose to attend premarital counseling in order to work out any issues or problems that might arise once they’re married.  If the mention of counseling sends your partner running for the door or gives you the nervous sweats, there are other options that can be just as beneficial.  Sandra L. Ceren’s Look Before You Leap: a Premarital Guide for Couples is one of the most affordable and stress-free of those options.

This book provides all the soul-searching questions that you’d be posed in counseling, but allows you to give your answers in a safe, comfortable setting.  Not only does Ceren make it easy to understand what’s necessary for a relationship to work, but she makes learning more about your significant other fun!  The book gives basic information about what it takes to make a great relationship that you’ve probably already heard a thousand times before (communication, respect, love, etc.).  Then, Ceren explores different real-life couples, both those that are still going strong and those who ignored her advice.  This really gives you the unique opportunity to take a look at compatibility from the outside.  For example, it may be easy to convince yourself that the age gap isn’t affecting your relationship, but after reading about a similar couple, you may recognize yourself or see how others see your relationship.
The fun stuff begins with a personality quiz that you complete and share with your partner.  Most of it is basic, but key information that could make a difference in your marriage, but you never thought to ask about.  Do you know how your partner feels about children?  What about the role religion will play in their children’s lives?  How good is your partner at handling money?  When I completed this quiz with my boyfriend, we didn’t learn anything new about each other, but that’s because we’ve lived together for four years.  Most couples who have dated for a significant amount of time will already know their partner’s answers to these questions, but you might come across one you never thought about.  There is also a relationship quiz that works much in the same manner, but focuses on compatibility issues.

The book also provides guided discussion questions for you and your partner, a list of comprehensive resources you might want to check out, and solutions for how to work out some of marriage’s biggest road blocks.  This is a nice book to use, especially if you are uncomfortable with the thought of sharing personal information with a professional.  I honestly think it gives you everything a counselor could, if not more.  My only concern with Ceren’s guide is that it will only be marginally helpful to couples who are in long-term relationships.  Most of the information is directed to couples who are early-on in their relationships and haven’t discussed marriage.  Like I said previously, my boyfriend and I have lived together for four years and we only picked up a few things we hadn’t known before.

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