Knowing Me, Knowing You

A Multiple-Choice Quiz for Engaged Couples



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We'd like to hear your story


Whether you have a heart-warming tale of love or a heart-wrenching tale of love gone wrong, we'd like to hear from you. We learn so much about others and ourselves when we share our experiences, joys and even our pain.


Once a month, beginning June 2004, we'll select and publish one of your stories right here on our site. (Don't worry you can remain anonymous). If we select* your story, you'll also receive a free copy of Knowing Me, Knowing You.


Go ahead and write us. You never know how your story might affect the lives of others in a positive way.


*(Selected stories are chosen at the discretion of the authors.)


We look forward to hearing from you.



"I wish my daughter had this book before she married the jerk!" said Rick. Although blunt, this is a sentiment that Carol Brethour Stephens and her husband Malcolm Stephens hear often.


They have written Knowing Me, Knowing You: A Multiple-Choice Quiz For Engaged Couples. Before, during and after writing the book, they have heard story after story of people who wished they had the book for their children, who wished they had the book before they got married and divorced, and who are uncertain about whether the person they are with is "the one".


Vanessa writes, "My boyfriend and I are considering marriage. We are both divorced and have been dating more than two years. We are happy but have both experienced how bad marriage can be so we are rather scared to move forward. I thought these books might help."


In fact, many divorced people have reviewed the books and commented that if they had answered the questions in them, they would have realized that they wanted different things from their respective partners. Sandra confides, "I divorced my first husband because I found out, after we were married, he didn't want kids." Questions about whether you want children, how many you want, how soon you want them are all practical questions that need to be addressed.


"I recommend that couples, prior to engagement, go through these books [Knowing Me, Knowing You], or even after they've been dating for three months….," says Professor Judith Taylor of the Sociology Department at the University of Toronto. And she goes on, "And [you could also use them] if you're already married … because …values change throughout the life course."


Knowing Me, Knowing You is designed, first, to help people recognize their "make or break issues" and, second, to help them develop strategies for how to deal with these issues. It is meant to help couples to develop true intimacy-an intimacy of minds and expectations as well as hearts.


Yet divorce is rampant in the U.S. at 50+ percent (38 percent in Canada). Obviously, people's expectations of marriage and the reality are not matching. So what is missing? Is it a problem with our marriage skills. Possibly. Do we really know what we want in a lifelong partner?


The latter question is the one addressed by Knowing Me, Knowing You. With so much emphasis in our society on sexual attraction and romantic love, the more prosaic details of life are the ones that seem to get overlooked. "Love is all you really need," according to the Beatles. But almost everyone who gets married believes he/she is in love. Authors, Carol and Malcolm, think that compatibility and shared goals need to be considered, as well; and they recommend that these issues be explored before the marriage so that a couple can go forward with confidence in their future.


This belief is backed up by popular radio personality, Dr. Laura, who had this to say: "It's mind boggling how many of you call my show because you feel you're spouse has somehow been magically transformed from the person you thought you married…. It's unfortunate how many people rush into marriage because they feel all "ooey gooey" and in love… Well, folks, these impulse marriages rarely last because the secret to a strong marriage is really knowing who you are, who your intended is, and then seeing if the two of you are a right match for each other."


This is especially necessary if you're going to tough out the bad times-which happen to everyone at some point or another. A time of crisis (e.g. failing health, death of a loved one, career setbacks) is not the best time to be uncovering differing expectations. "When I had a miscarriage, we went through a difficult time as a couple because we grieved differently," says Carol. "Malcolm withdrew into himself and I wanted to vent. We discovered this key difference and had to adapt to it in the midst of the pain. It would have been better to have known how we tended to handle emotional pain before that happened."


Also, when in times of stress, a person is not necessarily at his/her most reasonable. Tempers can flare more easily, making it more difficult to cope with the real crisis. "There is really a war on two fronts when that happens," says Carol.


So being prepared, like any good boy scout will tell you, is truly one major key to long-term marital happiness.




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