Psychological Self-Help

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therapists in this area. Moreover, many clergy make wise use of a
measures the couple's strengths and weaknesses in such areas as
communication, personality, expectations, equalitarian roles, leisure
activities, conflict resolution, financial management, parenting, etc.
The cost is $25 for the test but these objective measures lead directly
into counseling issues that need to be considered, e.g. will we have a
family and, if so, when and how many. If you disagree about how
decisions will be made or the division of labor, those are serious
issues. If your "intended" has personality traits or ways of
communicating which already bother you, these things need to be
resolved long before marriage. Pre-marital counseling provides a great
opportunity for couples to get to know each other better, learn
communication, decision-making, and conflict resolution skills, prepare
for marriage, and prevent future problems. Don't avoid this experience
even if you think you are "perfect for each other." Maybe it is
especially important if you think you have a perfect relationship. 
Books give advice about selecting a partner
Finding a mate for life is such an important step in life, of course
there are specialized books. Schwartz (1999) has written The
Complete Idiot's Guide to Online Dating and Relating. Branden (1981),
Sternberg (1987), and Hendrick & Hendrick (1992) help us understand
romantic love relationships in general. Several books by professional
counselors could help you in the selection of a life-long mate--or to
reconsider a decision to date only one particular person. They include
Crowell (1995), DeAngelis (1992), Barbach & Geisinger (1992), and
Whyte (1990). Giler (1992) guides career women along the path to Mr.
Right. Short (1992) helps us differentiate among sex, love, and
infatuation. Borcherdt (1995) tries to help us stay rational while in
love. Other therapists tell us why we select a particular kind of lover
(Blinder, 1989) or get into a love-hate relationship (Arterburn & Stoop,
1988). If you seem to be afraid of getting "involved," try Callahan
(1982) or Carter (1987) and see the books about intimacy mentioned
in the next section. Matthews (1993) provides a survival guide for
engaged women. 
Cowan & Kinder (1985), Norwood (1985), and other writers (see
books about marriage) focus on psychological needs and fears which
give rise to foolish choices about partners. It is especially important
that you distinguish between being "in love" and being in a good love
relationship (Halpern, 1994). The partner that immediately turns you
on may be unavailable or ultimately a disaster. Conversely, a good
love choice may seem boring at first. Halpern helps you avoid poor
choices and find excitement in a good-but-not-intoxicating partner.
You need to know what real love is. 
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