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MOST marriage failures are courtship failures. The biggest mistake people make is getting attached affectionately to someone before seeing what the other person is really like.

Some allow their courtship to be limited to one-on-one settings but the best is to see how the other part reacts to outside situations.

Before dating, it’s advisable to observe the would-be mate in a group setting, perhaps while you are enjoying some form of recreation.

Developing romantic feelings for someone whom you hardly know invites disaster—even if that one seems appealing.

It can lead to a marriage with a person whose emotions and goals are miles apart from yours!

Having decided that someone might be a suitable marriage mate, you could approach the person and express a desire to get to know that one better.

Assuming there is a positive response, your first date need not be some elaborate affair.

Perhaps a lunch will enable you to become better acquainted so as to decide whether you want to take the relationship any further.

Avoiding premature expressions of commitment, this would minimize feelings of rejection—or embarrassment—if one of you loses interest.

More importantly avoid being preoccupied by your ex in what conversation you have with the current spouse to be.

Regardless of the type of date planned, show up on time, neatly and appropriately dressed. Display the skills of a good conversationalist. Be an active listener.

Marriages seem more likely to survive and prosper if people enter them with relatively full knowledge of one another’s inner selves.

To get a glimpse of your partner’s feelings, try using open-ended questions, such as, ‘How do you spend your free time?’ ‘If money were no object, what would you like to do?’

As the relationship deepens there is need of serious talk about values; where and how you will live; financial matters, whether both will work outside the home; children; birth control; each one’s role in marriage; and both immediate and long-range goals and how you plan to achieve these.

These might include any major debts or obligations. Health matters, such as any serious disease, and their consequences should also be frankly discussed.

Do not evade or gloss over sensitive subjects out of fear of putting your partner on the spot.

As a romance approaches the crossroads of decision, it is not unusual for doubts to arise. What if such doubts stem from serious flaws in the person you are dating or from flaws in the relationship itself?

The purpose of courtship is to investigate the possibility of marriage and ensure it does just so.

 It is thus important that you face—not evade—your problems as a couple. Begin by taking a hard look at the person you are dating.

When it becomes apparent that a courtship is not working out, the kind thing to do is to have a face-to-face discussion, explaining why the relationship must end



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