I Love You, Now the Difficult Stuff

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Many couples find that falling in love is actually the easy part - it's what comes next that's difficult. A recent article in the New York Times (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/12/fashion/weddings/love-you-now-the-difficult-stuff.html?pagewanted=all) suggests the pre-marriage phase should be fact-finding, determining where your values, priorities, and expectations as a couple lie. Dr Bonnie agrees: "Too often couples are swept away in the early phase of a relationship. Even once they've gotten engaged they can romanticize what they figure will be." Dr. Bonnie acknowledges she frequently sees couples who have not had the necessary discussions to prepare them for life together.

Many couples find that falling in love is actually the easy part - it's what comes next that's difficult. A recent article in the New York Times (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/12/fashion/weddings/love-you-now-the-difficult-stuff.html?pagewanted=all) suggests the pre-marriage phase should be fact-finding, determining where your values, priorities, and expectations as a couple lie. Dr Bonnie agrees: "Too often couples are swept away in the early phase of a relationship. Even once they've gotten engaged they can romanticize what they figure will be." Dr. Bonnie acknowledges she frequently sees couples who have not had the necessary discussions to prepare them for life together.

To that end, Dr. Bonnie developed Smart Heart Skills and Dialogue to be the "glue when the relationship is new," which she explains further in her book, Make Up Don't Break Up. She believes talking about important issues early on in a relationship is crucial and using these Skills will help couples to do so. "These discussions can offer a microcosm of what marriage would be like if the couple ends up together." Engaging in this type of dialogue allows for fact-finding without being pushy.

Smart Heart Skills and Dialogue provide an environment where a couple can ask the tough questions necessary to determine if they have a future together. Dr. Bonnie suggests making a relationship blueprint and mapping out eventualities that often trip couples up. Discuss things like: how you feel about porn, how you handle communicating with friends of the opposite sex, how you handle finances, how you will handle an attraction to someone else, what will happen if you have a kid with a disability, what will happen if one of you wants to get a divorce.

This last point is especially crucial, believes Dr. Bonnie: "I don't believe in mapping out what would happen in the event of a divorce as this signals that divorce is ok. Instead figure out where the other person stands on divorce and talk about what steps you would take to save the relationship. Agree that if one person wants to go to counseling at any time, both people will go."

As for counseling Dr. Bonnie thinks it's wise to not only have a "tune-up" with her every six months, but to also participate in pre-marital counseling. This will help start couples off on the right foot by providing Dr. Bonnie's Three P's: Predict, Prevent, Prepare. It creates a positive atmosphere where they can learn to communicate without using stonewalling; so each person can open up with honesty, but without contaminating the relationship.

It's also a safe place to talk through whether or not the couple wants marriage forever or sees divorce as an option; or whether or not either person has ever been unfaithful in a relationship before. "Keep in mind, unfaithfulness doesn't have to be sexual - this is also a good time to lay out histories and expectations around money," advises Dr. Bonnie, who is all for each person finding out what their potential partner's credit score is - this helps determine if they've committed financial infidelity, she explains.

In the long run, says Dr. Bonnie, staying together is less about compatibility and more about how problem-solving. "Learn to communicate with Smart Heart Skills and Dialogue, learn to fight fair," she reminds couples, "the approach to conflict resolution is what counts!" Life is an adventure so couples still have to a take leap of faith - people can't find out everything bu at least they'll know the important history about their future spouse.

Text ADULTERY to 82257 to find out from Dr Bonnie if adultery may be looming in your relationship!

Interested in a few dating tips from internationally acclaimed relationship therapist Dr. Bonnie Eaker Weil?
Text DATINGTIPS to 82257 to receive Tips and Updates from Dr. Bonnie!

Dr. Bonnie Eaker Weil's best-selling book, Adultery the Forgivable Sin is being re-released under a new distributor and making its appearance available in eBook format and print on Amazon.com (http://www.amazon.com/Adultery-Forgivable-Bonnie-Eaker-Weil/dp/1587768151/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1321019076&sr=8-1). Adultery the Forgivable Sin was also made into a Lifetime Original Movie starring Kate Jackson.

Dr. Bonnie Eaker Weil, PhD, is also author of the 2010 New York Times Reader’s Choice Award-winning book Make Up Don’t Break Up with accompanying DVD Falling in Love and Staying in Love. Dr. Bonnie counsels couples, singles, and step families. She works with those considering breaking up, people who have committed adultery, and couples who want to strengthen their relationships damaged by resentment or unresolved anger, teaching people to “fight” to increase passion, bring back magic and restore the sizzle. Dr. Bonnie teaches Smart Heart Dialogue along with communication and connection tools, and counsel’s families and children.

Named the Best Local Therapist in 2011 by the US Commerce Association and known as “The Adultery Buster” and the “No. 1 Love Expert,” she is the best-selling author of other books like Can We Cure and Forgive Adultery?, How Not to (S)mother Your Man and Keep a Woman Happy, and Financial Infidelity: Making Money Sexy.

Dr. Bonnie was named by Psychology Today and NY Magazine as one of America's Best Therapists and is presently featured and available now on the Discovery Health/Oprah Winfrey Network documentary titled "Unfaithful" and A&E on addictions. Find her on Good Morning America's three-day series on NBC’s The Today Show, The Oprah Winfrey Show five times, and a four day series on Fox TV regarding dating. She appears frequently on ABC, Fox, CBS and NBC News, The View, 20/20, and CNN; and is often featured in USA Today and the New York Times. Visit Dr. Bonnie at http://www.DoctorBonnie.com.

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