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Look Before You Leap: A Premarital Guide for Couples Paperback – September 15, 2008
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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.
The guide also has Communication and Conflict resolution tips suggested solutions for problems that might arise in a relationship. Case studies and examples of couples and their stories are given throughout the book, with a focus towards the end. These are meant to help guide the couple and show that everyone has issues. They can be big or small. Some are overcome and others are deal breakers. All of them agree that it would have been better to find out before the marriage rather than during or after. As in most relationships the longer your together and the more advanced the relationship becomes, the more hurt you will endure in the event of it ending. Divorce is not only upsetting, it is also very expensive. The author gives a guide to different personality disorders at the end. This was extremely interesting to me. I found it very helpful to understand why some people act and react the way they do. I thought this was an interesting and helpful approach to add to the premarital guide.
Lastly, the guide has a chapter on "people you may meet". This is meant to help understand each other and how you deal with different types of people. Every couple has friends, family, co-workers and ex-relationships that will merge into your lives together. It is unavoidable, but you are able to help curve the situations by understanding your mate and their personality along with others personalities. The author gives an appendix with recommended resources for further review or more specific review of a given topic that you as a couple want or need to explore.
I can't say enough about this guide. I loved it! Having been married for six years, I was able to fully review how helpful this guide would be to those who have not yet been married. The questions and quizzes are full of legitimate information and questions that should be discussed when thinking of marriage. The author brings many good suggestions and helpful advice to the table. I feel the author was very real, in that she didn't make this guide condemn anyone. She is realistic in her approach to the issues couples face today. I would suggest everyone buy a copy of this or borrow it from your local library and go through it together as a couple. It has a wonderful section on communication and its importance. Even if you have a strong relationship, you can always learn something. My husband and I learned more about each other through this guide. It is well worth the money you will spend, and your time spent exploring each other along with your compatibility.