How Well Do You Know Your Partner?

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Studies have found that couples who are intimately familiar with each other's emotional worlds are better prepared to cope with conflict. That's why many therapists give premarital partners detailed questionnaires to fill out as a prelude to discussions about money, religion and other major issues.

Northern Virginia marital therapist Linda Peterson Rogers, who teaches couples therapy at Virginia Tech, gives clients an inventory she adapted from "The Seven Principles of Making Marriage Work," a 1999 book by Seattle psychologist John M. Gottman.

Here are some of the true/false questions she asks:

· I know what stresses my partner currently faces.

· I am very familiar with my partner's religious beliefs.

· I know the most stressful thing that happened to my partner in childhood.

· I can list my partner's major aspirations.

· I can list my partner's three favorite movies.

· I know what my partner would do if he/she won the lottery.

· I know the names of those who have been irritating my partner lately.

-- Sandra G. Boodman

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