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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
    been scientifically studying healthy
    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 will
    still be married in five years.
    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 in the way a
    couple fights by making sure that

    comminication, aggression, or name-
    calling anf focuses only on the issue

    that needs to be resolved.
    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
    factorswhich 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.
    Here are five examples of
    conversations that I submit should
    take place over the course of dating
    and courtship and even within

    marriage itself, if
    they didn’t occur
    1. HOW DID
    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
    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, furniture
    and cars or are you satisfied with
    inexpensive ot generic
    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 or

    wrong answers to these five 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
    Gottman’s research has shown that
    69% of relationship conflicts is about
    perpetual problems. All couples have
    them – the problems that are grounded
    in the fundamental differences that
    any two people face.
    They are the issues that create the
    fights that happen over and over 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 with every fight
    there was a conversation that needed
    to take place but a fight happened
    instead. Rather than revisit the same
    fight over and over, we can eliminate
    almost 70% of th conflict in marriage,
    by simply identifying our fundemental
    differences and devistating a strategy
    of how we will navigate them with the
    spirit of copromise and partnership.
    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 finding a mate,
    as well as the health of our marriages