Differences Attract and Repel In Courtship and Marriage
When we look for a mate we rarely look for someone like ourselves. We instinctively look for someone rather opposite to ourselves — with strengths and weaknesses that dovetail with our own rather than aligning with ours. It is often the differences we find in the other person that draws us to them. Instinctively we look for someone with strengths we lack. They do likewise. So there is much truth to the view that opposites attract.
Differences Require Deeper Communication
While it may be the differences we find in the other person that attract us to them, it is often these very differences that get under our skin when we marry and begin to live together. Prior to this juncture, therefore, the wise couple will flush out their differing viewpoints and talk through them for the sake of learning specific relational skills. If couples approaching marriage can initiate communication on this level prior to their ceremony it will make it easier to continue this essential process in the pressured environment of household economics, time pressures and child rearing responsibilities. Moving in does not usually make communication easier. When you both occupy the same space consequences of disagreements intensify–agreements can be more elusive.
Pre-marital Counseling you do Yourself
For this reason it is wise that couples either pursue the supportive and directive environment of premarital counseling with a trusted counselor or, as an alternative, participate in a questionnaire such as this one, separately and very honestly respond to the issues raised, then come together to share their separate responses with each other. It is very important that you do this in an atmosphere of attentiveness to each other and appreciation for each other. The goal is to discern where you differ and to discuss with each other what is behind these differing viewpoints.
To be compatible does not necessarily mean that you see things the same but rather that you know and understand how and why you both see things the way you do, you accept differences and have a plan for working together with them.
On this basis, respond to each of the items in the Compatibility Assessor separately, then, in a relaxed environment, share with each other who and what you are. The key is to find ways of maneuvering your differences and the pressures that you will face so that they do not come between you. Pressure that is not allowed to come between will push you together.
Marriage Compatibility Assessor
1. For me, loving my future partner means…
2. Recall 4 instances of how your future partner demonstrated love toward you during the last month…
3. List 4 situations in which you, intentionally, or unintentionally, were hurtful to your future partner in the last month…
4. List 2 ways you and your future spouse differ.
5. List 2 ways you and your future spouse are alike.
6. List 4 things your future partner has bugged you about recently which you could have corrected, but didn’t. Explain why.
7. What is the best strength you will bring to your marriage?
8. What is your future partner’s best strength?
9. How will you use your strong points to grow together?
10. What is the greatest weakness you bring to your marriage?
11. What do you think is your future partner’s greatest weakness?
12. List 4 ways you will help each other grow in love…
13. After we are married, I expect the following changes in our relationship.
14. Love is usually having to say…
15. When you (write a positive comment about your future partner) I feel ( write a positive emotion that you feel).
16. When you (write a negative comment about your future partner) I feel (write a negative emotion about yourself).
17. I feel most comfortable with my future partner when…
18. I feel most uncomfortable with my future partner when…
19. To me, sexual experience in my relationship with my mate means…
20. Realizing that men tend to desire or need sex more often than women, how will we communicate and manage this difference?
21. My feelings about family planning (birth control) are…
22. Whose responsibility is it to use birth control devices?
23. We will make decisions about family planning by………….taking into consideration what…
24. What should be the weighting of the husband and wife’s opinions concerning family decisions?
25 What priority should your marriage relationship and family have concerning the husband’s / wife’s time? What if this interferes with getting ahead in the world?
26 What role should the wife fulfill in your marriage… Primarily a mother and homemaker? What about a career? How will we manage this arrangement?
27. What kind of romantic attentions should a husband / wife show to his/ her partner?
28. What should the wife / husband do out of concern for the husband’s / wife’s comfort and happiness?
29. What attention should the husband / wife give to personal grooming?
30. As a married couple should we do things together?
31. Should the husband / wife feel free to go out with the guys / girls? When? How often?.
32. How do I view divorce? Under what circumstances?
33. Where should alcoholic beverages / drugs fit into our life together? What will we teach our children about this through our actions and instructions?
34. What will each of us contribute to decisions concerning where we will live?
35. Should a home be orderly and clean at all times?
36. Do you want a home where you can relax and not worry about a little disorder?
37. Do you want your home as a place to get away from people?
38. Do you want to do a lot of hospitality and entertaining?
39. Would you rather entertain outside than inside the home?
40. If both work outside the home whose responsibility is the housework? If it is shared, how should chores be allocated?
41. Should the husband help with household chores even if the wife doesn’t work outside the home? What would be his appropriate involvement?
42. While married do you want to go places and do things, or would you prefer to stick close to home?
44. List 3 things about your future partner’s parents you really like.
45. What place should your parents be permitted in your marriage?
46. What place should your mate’s parents be permitted in your marriage?
47. I would object to long and frequent visits from the wife’s parents, the husband’s parents, others…Why?
48. Right now my in-laws need to learn…
49. I want the kind of marriage in which money is spent for nice things rather than saved.
50. In my marriage I want the wife to earn her own personal spending money.
51. In my marriage I want the husband to be the chief breadwinner.
52. Should the wife accept gracefully whatever money the husband gives her?
53. Should the husband provide the wife with an adequate personal allowance? Who decides what this is and on what basis?
54. Who should budget the family income?
55. Should the husband / wife be free to gamble? Within what bounds?
56. What should religious belief and practice mean to our marriage and activities?
57. List 3 religious attitudes you like about your future spouse.
58. List 3 religious attitudes you dislike about your future spouse.
59. Whose responsibility will be the religious education of your children?
60. In my marriage I want family church attendance. How often?
61. Do you want grace before meals? Family devotions?
62. I feel religion in our home will be…
62. How many children would be the ideal number?
63. I am not anxious for children.
64. I want children right away.
65. We should postpone having children for a few years. Reasons?
66. What changes do you plan to make from your own parents’ child rearing techniques?
67. How do you want to manage differences of opinion about raising and disciplining you children? When you have a difference of opinion how will you keep that from being communicated to the children lest they divide and conquer?
68. Is there any place for physical punishment of children? How should this be managed to be sure that you do not, in anger, abuse your children?
69. The children should be able to express their opinions. Is expressing their opinions necessarily disrespect?
70. I feel most like communicating with my future partner when…
71. I feel least like communicating with my future partner when…
72. Communication in marriage means to me…
73. Four things my future partner does which make it difficult for me to share myself with him / her are…
74. Four things my future partner does which make it easy for me to share myself with him / her are…
75. One aspect of our relationship I’ve been reluctant to discuss is……………….as far as our marriage is concerned.