to guide group discussion:
1. List some of the topics pre-married couples should cover, prior to marriage, to set their relationship up for success. If married, do you feel you adequately covered those topics prior to marriage? Explain what you did well and what you’d do differently.
2. What do you consider to be the leading cause of divorce? What things keep marriages strong?
3. Unrealistic expectations of your partner set your relationship up for failure. Why do we sometimes have unrealistic expectations? How can we frame our expectations to set our marriage up for success, instead?
4. Most marriages have a “spending spouse” and a “saving spouse?” Which one are you? Or, if you’re not married yet, which one do you think you’d be? List ways you might resolve the challenges of this divide.
5. Have you ever considered not being upfront about spending in marriage as “financial infidelity?” List some of the consequences of “financial infidelity” and what similarities they share with emotional and sexual infidelity?
6. Is it possible to be unfaithful without engaging sexually with someone other than your spouse? Define “emotional infidelity.” What types of situations/environments can set the stage for emotional infidelity and how can it be avoided?
7. Explain the concept of making and accepting “bids” of affection in marriage? Are you surprised that something so simple could have such a profound effect upon a marriage?
8. Gottman states: “Everything positive you do in your relationship is foreplay.” Do you agree with the statement? Why, or why not?
9. In what ways can you “pursue your partner” on a daily basis? In what ways can you choose your partner every morning when you wake up?
10. Criticism, contempt, defensiveness, and stonewalling are four patterns of poor communication that are also predictors of divorce. Do you see any of these patterns in your own relationship or marriage? Discuss ways to change patterns and develop healthy communication skills?
11. Historically, men marry younger women (on average, a three year differential), do you think this is a healthy precedent? What impact, if any, does this play on marriage relationships? Why, or why not?
12. Is it “love” that sustains a marriage; or, is it actually “loyalty” that sustains a marriage? Consider marriage vows (and all covenants and promises). Are they oaths of love or oaths of loyalty?