marriagetransformation.com). Her newest book, All-in-One Marriage Prep: 75 Experts Share Tips and Wisdom to Help You Get Ready Now, is 430 pages of thought-provoking discourse offered by experts "passionate about creating excellent marriages."
In the chapter, Becoming Parents and Rearing Children, and in the essay, "Find and Discuss Your Hidden Parenting Beliefs" by Sandra Dye, couples are encouraged to uncover hidden parenting beliefs as a preparatory step to marriage. She offers a survey of parental thinking and beliefs for couples to use as self-discovery and then as a catalyst for determining the parenting style both are most comfortable with.Of course, couples are encouraged to continue examining and discussing parenting beliefs over time as "new life experiences and new stressors tend to open up your belief systems, making room for meaningful changes."
In the chapter, Growing in Love, and in the essay, "The Journey of Love and Marriage: Know the Stages and Set Your Priorities," Rita DeMaria, Ph.D. offers a wealth of information about the journey of relationship, not just the initial love stage. In her writing, she identifies seven stages she uses in her work with couples as a senior staff member and Director of Relationship Education at Council for Relationships in Philadelphia. She offers tips, recommendations, topics for consideration, and helpful practices such as encouraging couples to nurture romance between them through every stage of their building relationship.
In the chapter, Preparing As Individuals, and in the essay, "Creating an Intimate, Loving Relationship," Margaret Paul, Ph.D. writes about, "When we are loving to ourselves, we are loving to others" and "When we are loving to others, we are loving to ourselves." So true. One of my little magnetic creations, Loving you is blessing me, can help us all remember that.
A Prayer For Us," included in the final chapter of this important book. Written years ago as a relationship blessing, the song has been included in many marriage ceremonies. In the third-person form, "A Wedding Prayer," it was read by the father-of-the-bride at the wedding of Jimmy Carter's grandson in 2001. They found it as a framed artwork on the walls of my Heartful Art Gallery in Sausalito, California. For permission to include it in your ceremony, contact Raphaella at 941-993-7001 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. In Heartful Art's online store, it's available for purchase in either form, A Prayer For Us, and A Wedding Prayer. As a mailable poster in three sizes (5x7, 8-1/2x11, and 11x14) or as framed art for the wall (8x8 and 8x10), it's a nice engagement or wedding gift to accompany Susanne M. Alexander's book, All-in-One Marriage Prep: 75 Experts Share Tips and Wisdom to Help You Get Ready Now.
Another of my blessings (again, in two versions) that makes for a treasured wedding gift for your family or each other is, "It's who you are that I love" and "It's who you are that we love." Originally written as a baby blessing, people started buying it for their older children and then for each other, thus the many versions. I dubbed it the "Parent's Blessing for Grown-Up Kids" because I believe it's what we all want to hear from our parents no matter how old we are. And, as a spouse-to-spouse and partner-to-partner blessing, it affirms unconditional support and loving for each other.
I hope you'll buy and give this important book to couples considering marriage. Although, as Susanne herself states in the chapter, Appreciating Diversity, "The selections do not even come close to covering the full range of diversity and religious or cultural complexity in the world," the book is packed with valuable tips and advice for individuals and couples to apply to their own situation. When I was privileged to be in the room with the Dali Lama one afternoon in Minneapolis, the question was asked of him, "Why are there so many religions?" His answer, as I recall, was simply, "Because there are so many people. One religion could not possibly fit every person." So too, the prospect of creating a lasting and fulfilling relationship that produces a marriage worth having must be tailor fit to each situation. Each couple can use the wisdom of the experts in this book to contemplate, discuss, and build on, and create the marriage of their dreams.