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TOP 500 REVIEWERon October 6, 2010
This is not just a manual for those who have set their wedding date; it should be required reading for anyone who has begun to date. It helps to have a guide to know what to look for. It contains discussions on: love is not enough, 2 stages of romance, like mother-like daughter-like father- like son, solve disagreements, apologizing, forgiveness, toilets are not self-cleaning (this part should be required for getting a marriage license), handling money, sexual fulfillment, marrying into the family, spirituality, personality and behavior.
There are questions for talking it over at the end of each chapter and an appendix that really should be at the beginning on developing a healthy dating relationship.
Gary Chapman speaks as a spiritual advisor, a marriage counselor and from his own experience.
This book will give anyone a guide and a basis for discussions and thoughts on what is needed for a compatible and good marriage
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on October 1, 2010
As a pastor who regularly takes couples through pre-marital counseling, I am thrilled to see this book. I'm about half-way through it, but already I've read enough to order a copy for each of my daughters to read. Chapman's writing style is engaging, instructive, and transparent (he shares lessons learned from his own marriage). From this point forward, I will be strongly recommending this book to every couple I work with. Oh, and for those who are not religious, this book still works. Chapman talks about faith issues, but in a way that doesn't put faith at the forefront. A non-religious person will still find this book incredibly helpful.
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on February 7, 2012
I'm a 30 year old male about to propose to my girlfriend. I picked up this book on a whim. I cannot overstate how much I have learned from this book. I started highlighting things that I thought were important to me or that really hit home or made sense. I wrote notes in the margin. I ordered a copy for my soon to be fiance and she is going to do the same thing with her copy. Then we'll switch so we can both learn from each other. Anyone that wants to be a better partner, regardless of weather or not that includes marriage, should pick this book up and read it front to back. I really can't say enough good things about this book.
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on February 13, 2012
My fiance and I had this book recommended by her mother. I was a bit skeptical at first as I'm not big on relationship books, but I really enjoyed it and got a lot of value out of it.

We chose to go through it a chapter at a time together. I recommend this. It is a good exercise while taking a flight together or just having a glass of wine while unwinding in the evening. We derived value in 2 ways from this. First, the chapters generally cover one topic and end with discussion questions. While the chapter was fresh in our heads, these discussion questions helped guide us in a conversation on the topic. The topics are relevant. Some were things we had discussed already, but some were not issues we had considered and we were glad this book brought them to our attention.

Perhaps more important than the topics themselves is that going through this book together gave us an extra reason to spend some time together learning about each other. Sometimes in the hectic day-to-day, it is easy to avoid those conversations. Often, when you have a free minute, you just want to turn on the tv. Deep conversations can be scary or challenging to start. Having this book around, made it a bit of a fun exercise.

This is a book I'll recommend to any of my friends considering marriage and probably to any couple I know which is struggling, as it has some tips for conflict resolution as well. I highly recommend it. It is worth your money.
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on July 1, 2011
As you can tell by the title of this book, it targets those who are thinking about getting married, in the process of, and newlyweds. I would even suggest this book for a marriage on the rocks; it might help give that couple the chance to step back, look at everything, and possibly see where they can work in order to save the marriage.

I have to admit, my first reaction when I opened this book wasn't that great. The first thing I read was "On a scale of 0-10, how strongly do you feel the "tingles" for the person you are dating?" Don't worry, it does get better.

Chapman keeps this book very practical. One of the chapters is called "That toilets are not self-cleaning" - all about the contemporary confusion of gender roles. Some of the best practical advice is to recognize each others' abilities, and leverage them for the benefit of the marriage (i.e. If she is better at handling the money then she should).

One of the main points, as Chapman expounds on the two stages of romantic love, is that most men do not understand or comprehend female sexuality. We go in assuming that they are like us - even if we give lip service to the differences in the sexes. One of my favorite quotes: "If I had known that taking out the garbage was sexy for my wife, I would have been taking out the garbage twice a day."

Probably one of the most relevant chapters is the one called "That spirituality is not to be equated with `going to church'," One of the things that stresses out more Christian marriages is when one of the spouses stops going to church as regularly after getting married. He is not saying that you shouldn't go to church, but that we shouldn't hold that as the golden standard of spirituality. It goes without being said that, to have a healthy spiritual life it is necessary to not forsake the gathering together (Hebrews 10:25).

This is a great supplement to Pre-marital counseling and, if that counseling is not feasible or possible, this book would give a great starting point for discussion on the hurdles and challenges that might/will pop up in every marriage. This would even be a good book for a married couple to go through and talk about - it could open the lines of communication on issues that have been simmering for some time.

Overall, this is not a world changing book, but it could end up changing your world.

From Third Option Men
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on March 18, 2016
Dr. Chapman is the author of the best-selling book, "The Five Love Languages".

WHAT READERS CAN LEARN FROM THIS BOOK

1. Feelings of being "in love" cannot sustain a marriage, since the average life-span of these feelings is about two years. What sustains a marriage is spouses learning to communicate love in the forms that are most received by their partner.

2. We will often develop uncanny similarities to our parents, including their drinking habits, communication patterns, energy levels, and appearance.

3. Resolving marital disagreements without arguing. Truly listening to the other spouse in order to give an adequate summary of his or her perspective. Agreeing to disagree. Learning to compromise.

4. The importance of spouses making effective apologies for wrongdoing. Learning to speak your spouse's language of apology is more effective than just saying you are sorry. The five different ways of apologizing are 1) expressing regret, 2) accepting responsibility, 3) making restitution, 4) genuinely expressing the desire to change your behavior, and 5) requesting forgiveness.

5. Forgiveness is one's decision to offer grace instead of demanding justice.

6. How spouses can agree on doing which household chores.

7. How spouses can most effectively manage their money, and what common major mistakes to avoid, such as purchasing a home they cannot afford, going out to eat too often, buying new cars, and buying too much alcohol. How to live on 80% of your income, give 10% to charity, and save 10%. How couples can agree not to buy something over a certain amount without consulting the other.

8. Resolving common sexual difficulties. Overcoming the myth that husband and wife must reach climax together. A husband should spend sufficient time caressing his wife. A husband participating in household chores will often increase desire in his wife for him. Spouses should only engage in sexual acts they are both comfortable with.

9. How spouses can develop good relationships with their in-laws, by learning to listen empathetically to them, speaking their particular love languages to them, and alternating holidays with them.

10. Spiritual compatibility in marriage has more to do with what each spouse believes in the way God speaks to them and what He has said.

11. How spouses can live with a partner who has very different habits, including Morning person vs. Night person, Optimist vs. Pessimist, Neat vs. Messy, Talker vs. Non-talker, Passive vs. Aggressive, Logical thinkers vs. Intuitive person, and Organizer vs. Spontaneous person.

12. Having a balanced dating relationship by attending to these areas of growth: Intellectual, Emotional, Social, Spiritual, and Physical.
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on October 3, 2010
Very practical for couples. I bought it for my daughter whose boyfriend asked if I thought they were ready for marriage. This book is a great way for future couples to talk about issues like finances, arguing, household chores, in-laws...thinks you don't think about when you are in love. It is after you say "I do" that you get bombarded with the daily stresses of life that can really tear a marriage a apart. The chapters in this book deal with these stresses and challenges and if it is read, either together or separately, can provide great conversation starters.
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on March 16, 2011
Things I wish I knew before I got married was an interesting book. It was well written and clear in its presentation of the information. I would like to see some more suggestions on how to fix concerns that are brought up in each chapter. Concerns are presented and explored but with little help on how to avoid or correct anything. As a woman who is recently engaged and fast approaching my marriage, this book scared me. I see the potential for disaster around every corner and don't know how to avoid any of it. The information is well presented though. Each issue is explored in detail and has examples to clarify any misunderstandings. This book could be very helpful to any person with a little more advice. I knew that marriage was not going to be easy but I did not know all the situations I would be facing. This book did open my eyes to issues I had not considered. I would love to see more help in this book. More helpful suggestions and things that will improve these issues.

*Many thanks Moody Publishers for sending me a copy of Things I Wish I Knew Before I Got Married. I was in no way paid for my review and is my honest opinion of this book*
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on June 23, 2014
I initially bought this book because I'm getting married soon and really want to make sure we get off on a good start. The first few chapters bring up wonderful topics to talk over, and I was happy to discover that me and my fiancé have already talked about most of this information.

I gave it only 3 stars because the chapter on religion really offended me. Up until then, the author offers skills to overcome hurdles, offers discussion topics, and suggestions on how to realize your own relationship needs and deal breakers. The section on religion, however, he has a very obvious opinion - which is that people should only marry within their own faith and that it is 'immature' to marry someone outside of your own faith OR someone who is within your faith but may not be as devote as you are. Then he adds the biblical quote "For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common?" I'm not Christian, and I did not expect to be referred to as 'wicked' from a book about love. If you are not a Christian, this chapter (and this chapter only) reads like you are "those people."
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on March 23, 2015
Interesting book. It's perhaps a little simplistic and obvious, but then again it's often the obvious things that we fail to notice or take for granted. This is a good book to keep around as a "refresher". I'd recommend re-reading it every few months or so. I think the overarching theme that Chapman wishes to stress is that almost all aspects of a marriage should be planned well *before* the marriage ever takes place.

How many kids do you want? By when? How often do you plan to visit family? Are you going to raise your children to have the same values that you have, or are you going to let them decide for themselves (hopefully the latter)? What religion are you, and what does it require? Do you donate some of your income each month? Do you prioritize your siblings or your parents over your partner? Do you have a low or high sex drive? Do you think you can adapt if it changes over time? Do you agree on political issues or are you okay with the disagreements? Do you feel loved in the same way? Can you show someone you love them in a way different than you feel loved? And so on... the book covers a lot.

I'm starting to get the impression that the vast majority of divorces occur because people misinterpret the evolutionarily useful (yet romantically deceiving) slurry of neurotransmitters in their brain as "true love". Call it what you like -- personal chemistry, honeymoon phase, tingles, butterflies, passion -- yawn. None of that holds a marriage together, and when that feeling disappears (as it always inevitably does; Chapman indicates this typically occurs around the two year mark), each spouse becomes disillusioned and feels like they've married a stranger -- one who disagrees with them on almost everything.

In a lot of ways, I relate closely to the author's kind of thinking -- both his thought process and the way he perceives the world. It's interesting to see how he has overcome his personal relationship difficulties, and for me personally, I think knowing how he eventually fixed his issues can help me prevent my own from ever occurring in the first place.
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