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I have just contributed to the book Making Marriage a Success by Jaleh Donaldson. She asked therapists and other marriage experts from around the United States to contribute “words of wisdom” for people contemplating marriage.  She  asked the participants to be original and to make their advice pithy–no more than 6 sentences!!!

Given Jaleh’s assignment to us contributors, what we have is a book that is a veritable tweetfest.

There is something to be said for mandating brevity to establish the kernal of an idea.  Here is what emanated from my keyboard:

When it comes to young people who are contemplating marriage, remember two related ideas.  Don’t fall in love with someone just because he or she has “potential.”  While people can grow emotionally, it is not a good bet to marry someone without plenty of evidence that what you love about your partner is already on display. Another way of thinking about this is summed up by the expression, “What you see is what you get.” In a reflective moment take a good look at your partner and see if you can imagine their flaws just as clearly as you see their strengths. When you are married, this is who you will be with for life.

Unless there is a divorce. However, I saw no need to interject a depressing statistic about the all-too-brief nature of marital duration. Besides my advice is directed at getting people to place their attention in the present moment. It is much harder to use rationalization or denial if one is working to see everything one can about the nature of their beloved.

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