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101 Questions to Ask Before You Get Engaged Paperback – June 1, 2004
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About the Author
H. Norman Wright is a well-respected Christian counselor who has helped thousands of people improve their relationships and deal with grief, tragedy, and other concerns. He helps couples bring vibrancy to their relationships through counseling, seminars, and more than 90 books, including Before You Say “I Do” and After You Say “I Do.” Norm also reveals insights for spiritual growth, great relationships, and success in devotionals that include Strong to the Core, Quiet Times for Every Parent, and Truly Devoted: What Dogs Teach Us About Life, Love, and Loyalty. Norm and his wife, Tess, enjoy their children, grandchildren, various pets, and fishing. www.hnormanwright.com
Top Customer Reviews
The introduction, however, is basically a list of reasons not to get married, with little balance on the other end. For instance, the author quotes Rachel Safier, who wrote a book about women who called off their weddings(There Goes the Bride: Making Up Your Mind, Calling it Off and Moving On ). Safier's book is really popular with women who want confirmation that they did or are doing the right thing in dissolving their relationships; it's pretty one-sided in that way, as are many relationship books. But for people who have a fear of commitment due to family history or other causes, all this does (and all Safier's book does) is provide them with additional reasons to avoid marriage and commitment. Basically, the idea is if you don't feel absolutely certain, then you should dissolve the relationship. He even says something to effect of, if I haven't scared you away by now, then congratulations! Maybe this is because so many couples get engaged when they are still newly infatuated with each other, and not as worried about or simply blinded to the other person's character, background, lifestyle, personality, habits, etc.
Ironically, the author even addresses the fact that some readers may be afraid of commitment later in the book, and he suggests that answering some of the questions may prove helpful in diminishing those fears. But, he should have addressed when he mentioned the reasons to not move forward. It's called balance.
Are there red flags in relationships? Absolutely. He discusses abuse and other potential warning signs that one should look out for. I find his commentary -- apart from that in the introduction-- allows for unique differences between couples/individuals. But occasionally, he writes in a way that suggests that there is only one right way to do something --praying together--for instance. That sort of thing could potentially lead someone to hold his/her partner up to an unfair/unrealistic or rigid standard.
I think that Oliver should save the red flag discussion until the end of the book, so that couples can think about what they've learned through these questions and weigh them against the warning signs. And while he's writing about reasons not to get married, he should also write about when a couple should be considering marriage, about what a healthy relationship looks like, the qualities of a good marriage, and some of the questions/doubts/fears that some experience when contemplating such a big step. Above all, he should encourage couples to go for premarital counseling to address their individual situation instead of hoping to find all of the answers in a book written for large audience.
Some things I didn't like about the book:
I like the idea of encouraging people to ask these very important questions before they even get engaged. So kudos there. But, I felt that the author suggested the idea of breaking off engagements even right up to the wedding way too much. Now, if you're in a relationship with someone who has some very serious character flaws (ie abusive, has addictions, criminal, etc) then yes, you should break things off. The author does a good job of trying to keep people from overlooking very serious flaws in a partner, but in the process does too much to encourage a lack of commitment. Engagement is serious business, and you really should be certain before you propose or accept a proposal. Just because movies and tv shows have made it fashionable or acceptable to call off weddings or leave people stranded at the alter, does not mean this is acceptable in real life. Ask all of your questions, really get to know someone, and then make your decision and stick with it.
Also, the idea of suggesting that people pray together..... I'll admit, I find it annoying when books suggest that couples do this. I don't see a point in couples doing activities that build all of this intimacy, that link their hearts together so much before they even know if they're going to get married. Because if you do decide not to get engaged, one or both of you will most likely have a broken heart because you were already "becoming one" emotionally and spiritually. So, that's my personal pet peeve. You can take it or leave it.
Lastly, I agree with another commenter who said that there's too much blank space. I realize the space is so you can write notes/answers to the questions. But it just makes it feel like you paid for a book that has very little information in it. There's not quite enough info in it to make it a workbook, so it's just kind of annoying. I personally got this book from the library, but was going to buy it for future reference if I liked it. I like the questions, but I don't see myself buying it now.
Overall I'd say read it. The questions are good, and will help bring up info about your partner that you want to know before you get married, but you'll probably want to get another book that's more thorough or just go through premarital counseling.
Miss. Pen & Paper - Marriage for Christian Singles blog
I just completed a pre-marital class and I let everyone know about this book.