Have you ever been with someone and wondered: Are we in this for the long haul?

If you’re unsure, how do you determine that? One couple, Jill Andres and Brook Silva-Braga (a former Washington Post colleague of mine), had been together for years when they put themselves through a series of tests to see if they were ready for marriage. They cut their budget in half to see what it would be like if one of them lost their job. They borrowed a friend’s baby for 24 hours to simulate what parenthood might be like. They went a week without touching. And they put themselves through dozens of other challenges. Recently, they wrote a book about the experience, called “The Marriage Test: Our 40 Dates before ‘I Do.’ ”

Andres and Silva-Braga came on the Solo-ish podcast to talk about what they learned from this wacky and grueling challenge. “By going through those tough things together,” Andres told me, “we know that we do pretty well under pressure together, we know that we can problem-solve together. We know that when we fight, neither of us gets vicious and mean…. We’re able to forgive and move on or be constructive and move on.”

By the time they had finished their self-imposed marriage test, Andres said, she “felt a higher degree of confidence that we were ready for the tough stuff.” (Spoiler alert: After all these challenges, they did decide to get married.)

Neely Steinberg, a dating coach and personal-image consultant, joined the podcast as well, discussing how to look for important qualities in a potential mate — is this person kind, trustworthy and reliable? — when you’re just starting to date. Neely is also the author of a popular Solo-ish essay: Marry the person who will help you to the bathroom.

You can listen to our conversation here or download the Solo-ish podcast on iTunes.



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