Preparing for Marriage

In Preparing for Marriage, I describe some of the most important ways that people can make themselves marriage material. I also explain how a couple can develop a negotiating style before marriage that will help them avoid most of the common pitfalls after marriage.

The letters in Choosing the Right One to Marry address common problems of dating couples. Because they are not yet married, I focus more attention on whether they are right for each other than I do on how to resolve the conflicts. The first letter is from a woman who thinks she is engaged but is having quite a bit of trouble with her "fiancee." So much trouble, in fact, that she is not sure he is right for her, and I'm not either. The second letter comes from a woman who is interested in compatibility testing. I suggest a professional service that she can use, and I also offer her some of my own guidelines as to what to look for in a marriage partner. The third letter is from a woman who considers herself married to her boyfriend, but he's left her. Are they now going through divorce?

A very high percentage of those who send me letters are either living together or have lived together before marriage. There has been extensive research on the subject of living together, and it all points to a startling conclusion: Living together before marriage seems to doom subsequent marriage. In my first Q&A column on the subject, Does Living Together Prepare You for Marriage? I try to explain why living together has such a disastrous effect on marriage.

Then, in What Is It Like to Be Married After Living Together I explain what a couple can do to save their marriage after having lived together first. These two Q&A columns are extremely important reading for couples who have ever lived together before marriage, or are contemplating living together.

There are many people meeting for the first time on the internet, and as I discussed earlier, there are an increasing number of internet affairs. But some of these relationships are between singles, and they sometimes lead to marriage. How do these internet marriages work out? Internet Marriage is a discussion of this recent phenomenon, along with some warnings and suggestions.

Is divorce the end of a marriage? Not necessarily. But how can you know for sure, and how can you let go if it's really over? These questions are addressed in Should I Remarry My Ex-spouse? If Not, How Can I Just Let Go?

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