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Abstract

The book 51 Things You Should Know Before Getting Engaged offers the insights and techniques necessary for a successful engagement and marriage. Michael Batshaw gives the reader important details on how to determine if a spouse is the exact one for you, and after establishing that they are the right ones, how to maintain it to marriage. Ordinarily, the passing of time in the engagement permits additional self-revelation to take place so that potential area of conflict is discovered, and the necessary adjustments made. In his book, Batshaw advises that it is possible for a couple to continue seeing each other through the idealization of romantic love and subconsciously refuse to bring their real attitudes and feelings to the surface (15). He, however, says that during this period, honesty and truthfulness are crucial for couples.

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51 Things You Should Know before Getting Engaged by Michael Batshaw

Since the decision to get betrothed is one of the most thrilling and significant in one’s life, Michael Batshaw’s book, 51 Things You Should Know before Getting Engaged offers insights of understanding long range goals in depth. This is because a couple with a workable, problem solving approach to life is in a good position to find marital success. The book highlights that discovering whether one is fit for marriage requires plenty of time to learn to understand one another. Batshaw says that understanding is one of the prerequisites of marital love, and it comes with hours of patient talking and listening. Batshaw explains that unless the engagement period is used for self evaluation, a long engagement may not be any more useful than a short one (25).

The chapter “Beware of the Person of Your Dreams” offers insights of how each of us has sketched in his or her brain some picture of the expected spouse. Batshaw notes that this romanticized illustration is possibly shaped from a combination of various needs and insentient desires. There are attributes of a spouse that attract us to that individual in a full responsiveness such as being physically attractive, responsible, caring, honest and focused. The book explains that all of these are magnificent virtues an individual should spot in a spouse.

In the chapter “Couples Who Do Everything Together Cannot Survive”, Michael Batshaw highlights that there would be no need to worry about living happily ever. He outlines that whether it is an individual’s first or second engagement, each individual has to do his or her part to make it work. The need for every couple to undertake what he or she desires without being compelled is essential because no relationship is static. In addition, Michael Batshaw says that each individual should be allowed to do what interests him or her because once the honeymoon is over, the complexities of daily living will eventually erode the thrills and romance that characterized the early relationship.

The chapter “Couples that Don't Argue Are in Trouble” highlights why couples should reach middle ground where they do not stonewall, rant or rave. The fallacy is that couples who love each other do not argue and fight. The truth is that arguments build strength and understanding, and it is one of the most powerful tools in beating the odds (Batshaw 54). Batshaw noted that polite couples, who rarely argue, find their relationships crumbling out from underneath them before they even know there is a problem. Months or years of unresolved differences eat away at relationships silently and painfully.

Batshaw explains that if a future marriage is to survive, the two partners in a couple must be personally fit. The compatibility means that the two partners feel comfortable together and find it easy to be themselves. The book indicates that the most reliable indicator of interpersonal compatibility is the amount of enjoyment and satisfaction that each of them derive from the company of each other. In the chapter “Hollywood Gets It Wrong Truth”, Batshaw explores how pressures for the social status conformity keep up with the Joneses syndrome of the American life. This status seeking portrayed in Hollywood is intertwined with materialism that is seriously affecting many marriages today.

How the Author’s Ideas Relate to You as a Communicator

The book conveys a positive message to me because Batshaw states that one’s partner is not what an individual wants to be or what one hopes to be. As the reader, I can articulate that it is impossible to reshape, remake and reconstruct another person to a certain degree. The bottom line is that one needs to find the right person to share his life and then be willing to do whatever it takes to cement the relationship. In his book, Michael Batshaw highlights that simply finding the right person is not enough. Batshaw advises that an individual must make every effort to become the right partner. Establishing relationships does not magically happen overnight. Michael Batshaw says that it is extremely difficult to try to find someone, where all the gear seems to mesh into place without a lot of grinding. One must be willing to pull the plug or at least put things on hold until issues can be clarified in the relationship. The failure to highlight main issues early in a relationship may lead people to end-up frustrated, critical, feeling betrayed and hopelessly trapped.

In his book, Batshaw cautions the readers that the complexity of the dating game means that those engaged should use their heads, maintain their equilibrium and remain independent, but they still need to be charming. The most successful way to accomplish this delicate feat is to remember that each person is a guest. Since both individuals can attract only people with character and ethics identical to their own, one should take a good look at individual strengths and weaknesses. It is important to remember that the sublimation of immediate satisfaction for the future gain is the hallmark of maturity. Individuals, who develop patience and preserve their relationships, get the prize.

Couples should not hope that because they have a lot in common, everything will eventually come together with a happy ending. During engagement, some things may be good, but being able to look back now and see the full picture is critical. It is expected that as the attraction of the marriage changes through the successful intervention, interest in other partners will decline. In addition, Batshaw noted that mutual respect between the mates often grows, when one is in fact willing to agree to the other having a private time and does not become defensive in the process. Instead of doing everything together, Batshaw advises that couples should be encouraged to plan some outside activities for their dates in order to protect them from the endless discussion of their relationship.

In his book, Batshaw explains to the readers that couples who do not learn how to argue harbor resentments. In this regard, women begin to feel invisible and become critical and contemptuous. On the other hand, men withdraw and check out, because they feel smothered. Through arguments, conflicts that can be resolved in just a few minutes will either explode or drag out for days or even years. Batshaw argues that while disagreements and fights are not pleasant, and no couples expect to enjoy them, they are necessary to some degree in terms of all good marriages. Arguments in marriage give the permission to let the negative emotions fly.

Furthermore, Batshaw explains to the reader how the need to be right is such a primitive yet destructive expression in a relationship. As it can be seen in the book, sometimes people have to argue about something until it is all argued out, and they can come to some sort of compromise. Batshaw says that sometimes one of them is right and is correct in not giving in. Either way, it is important not to lose sight of the fact that if both people do not feel valued, then the relationship is in trouble.

Readers of the book can note that the culture of Hollywood just makes it too difficult to stay married. Many difficulties of marriages arise, because the roles of male and female are no longer clearly defined in the Hollywood culture. People under engagement are immune to the romantic love complex foisted on our culture by Hollywood. In this book, Batshaw outlines those pressures for the social status conformity that keep up with the Joneses syndrome of the American life. This status seeking portrayed in Hollywood is intertwined with materialism that is seriously affecting many marriages today.

Despite the views portrayed in Hollywood, readers can articulate that it is important for marriages not to exist in a vacuum. The erosion of marriage bonds is regarded as a threat to the nation’s social fabric. Since Hollywood depicts family violence, date rape, pornography, sexual harassment, drug and alcohol addiction, and alternative family lifestyles, it results in the breakdown of the traditional morality.

Why I Recommend the Book to Others

I would recommend the book to others because it prepares couples for the marriage by requiring them to think about realities of the everyday married life. The book prepares partners to begin making serious plans about how they will live together as a married couple. Through the book, the future marriage partner starts to be treated as a member of the family. The book helps men and women to deal with a number of social and psychological issues and even wrestle with potential doubts during the engagement, including questions about such matters as their readiness for marriage, whether their partner is the right person for them, and how their lives will change. The book offers pre-marriage questions to help a couple in evaluating areas, where they may have challenges in adjustment or problems in their future marriage.

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