“The Marriage Test” of Compatibility

…(I)f there’s a takeaway here, it’s that a huge part of the equation of a lasting relationship—whatever lasting means to you—is simply a willingness to ask hard questions, to sift through harder answers, to have long conversations, to not always know the answers, but to be sure of what you’re doing for reasons that likely only make sense to you… Tracy Moore reviewing The Marriage Test (Jezebel)

The Marriage Test: Our 40 Dates Before “I Do” is by Jill Andres and Brook Silva-Braga, a now married couple who wanted to “confirm their compatibility” before taking the big plunge. Moore, though initially turned off by the authors’ premise of putting themselves through various self-devised hoops—“the concept sounded about as illuminating as a daily horoscope”—found herself appreciating it.

Some of their own The Marriage Test favorites (Thought Catalog):

1. Trade phones. “…Exchange phones for a weekend to show your partner you have nothing to hide. It will also force you get on the same page about what is and isn’t acceptable online behavior. And then prove you truly trust each other by vowing never to snoop on each other’s device again.”

2. Slash your budget. “…(C)alculate your average spending and then live off half that amount for a month.”

3. Exchange sexual performance reviews. “…For a week, give each other your best efforts. Then write out what is and isn’t working for you in the bedroom and (gently) share it with your partner…”

4. Adopt a new parent’s sleep schedule. “…For a week, set an alarm to ring every three hours during the night. When woken, complete a chore: do the dishes, drive around the block or re-organize your cabinets…You can take turns getting up or do the chore together.”

5. Poll the audience. “…Use Survey Monkey or a similar service to create an anonymous online survey asking friends and family questions like: What is best and worst about us as a couple? How can we be better partners to each other? Do you think we’re right for each other?”

6. Pack their bags. “…For your next weekend away, pack each other’s bags—it’s a surprising test of how well you know your partner’s day-to-day needs.”

7. Map out your life. “…Separately make timelines of your future: exactly when you want to get married, have kids, buy a house, etc. Then compare your plans and discuss how they do—or don’t—complement each other.”

More from an Amazon reviewer who read The Marriage Test:

Speed date to test your devotion (yes, both of you, at the same event)
Record and play back an argument (realize when your inner Bill O’Reilly is taking over)
Re-enact every sex scene you see together for seven days (monogamy is a tall order if you’re not willing to spice it up sometimes )
Reveal every last bank account, debt, credit card, etc so there are no surprise bankruptcies in your ever after…
Schedule and execute an ‘ideal day’ for your partner
Opt out of technology every night for [a] week
Find and interview a longtime happily married couple
Write, text, or FB an in-law every day for a week (get that all important and very delicate relationship started in an open, caring way)…

Finally, a sampling from Boston Magazine:

  • Facing Your Fears: “With help from the other, Andres tried skydiving and Silva-Braga tried scuba diving…”
  • House Hunting: “’We went looking for our dream home, and learned in the process we had different things in mind,’ Silva-Braga says.”
  • Borrowing a Baby: “The couple tested out child rearing by borrowing a friend’s baby for the day…”
  • Quiz Time: “The duo learned about something important to the other, then submitted to a quiz on that subject…”
  • Lunch with an Ex: “Yes, it’ll be awkward…”

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