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    Five conversations that
    should take
    place over the
    course of dating and even
    within marriage itself.
    What are the critical things to look
    for in dating to determine if someone is suitable for marriage?
    Drs. John and Julie Gottman have
    relationships for four decades and
    have emerged as authorities on the
    factors that contribute to a successful marriage to the point that they
    can predict with greater than 90%
    accuracy if a couple they observe
    Their research shows that kindness
    is not only an admirable trait, but
    it glues couples together. In fact, it
    is the most important predictor of
    satisfaction and stability in a marriage. Kindness makes each partner
    feel cared for, understood, and validated, all which combine to feeling
    loved. Kindness is not only practiced during good times, but happy
    marriages practice kindness even

    ing sure that communication never
    includes condescension, aggression, or name-calling and focuses
    only on the issue that needs to be
    Kindness and compassion are indispensable in marriage and should
    be qualities we are unwilling to
    compromise on for ourselves or our
    children. But there are other factors
    which can make or break a marriage and while some answers to
    questions are not objectively right
    or wrong, discussing them and understanding the different approaches to them, will go a long way to
    make a happy marriage.

    sations that I submit should take
    place over the course of dating and
    courtship and even within marriage
    itself, if they didn’t occur sooner:
    Disagreements are inevitable in
    marriage. How those differences
    are navigated is the driver of the
    success of the marriage. Did your
    family put things on the table, have
    it out, did they sweep them under
    the carpet, or did they silently shut
    down when issues arose?
    Did your family prioritize and
    show verbal and physical affection with one another or was it
    assumed and not expressly provided? How often do your family members say “I love you” or
    offer praise?
    Do you have a more traditional
    outlook on gender roles and responsibilities regarding children, income and caring for the
    house, or is there an expectation
    of sharing all responsibilities
    4. MONEY
    Did your family spend money
    freely or are they more calculated and frugal? Do you like high
    end brand name clothing, furniwith inexpensive or generic alternatives?
    How do you feel about privacy
    and personal space within marriage? Do you expect to have access to all of my passwords, accounts and spend most free time
    together or do you prefer having
    personal space and sometimes
    doing things apart?
    In large part there are no right
    questions and they are certainly
    not a comprehensive list of the
    type of issues that truly make or
    break a marriage. Nevertheless,
    they are a sample of the types of
    ways I believe we should be thinking about evaluating a prospective
    mate and focusing on the critical
    things in marriage.
    Gottman’s research has shown
    about perpetual problems. All couples have them – the problems that
    are grounded in the fundamental
    differences that any two people
    They are the issues that create the
    again with both sides thinking this
    will be the time I convince the other that my way is right, though it
    never happens. Gottman says that

    versation that needed to take place,

    and over, we can eliminate almost
    simply identifying our fundamental differences and devising a strategy of how we will navigate them
    with the spirit of compromise and
    Rabbi Chaim Vital said: “A person’s character traits are primarily
    measured based upon how they are
    to their spouse.” If we learn to ask
    the right questions and emphasize
    the most important things, perhaps
    we can improve the process of
    of our marriages themselves.