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He calls it the Relationship Attachment Model (RAM), and holding off on sex is a crucial component

    He calls it the Relationship Attachment Model (RAM), and holding off on sex is a crucial component

    Number five seems particularly crucial to those serious about long-term marriage: What are my or my partner’s patterns of conscience? Without a healthy conscience, Van Epp points out, all of the above matters very little: relationship skills actually become manipulative and self-serving in the hands of someone with very little conscience. How do you or your partner handle feelings of guilt and admit to being wrong? Interestingly, though, a healthy conscience not only avoids being underactive (never apologizing, oblivious to shortcomings), but also eschews being overactive (neurotic, rigid, controlling, and self-centered in its own way).

    Perhaps the greatest challenge the Jerk book poses to fledgling relationship students in a Girls-saturated zeitgeist consists of Van Epp’s theoretical method of coming to terms with all of these considerations. According to RAM theory, the only safe zone in a relationship consists of never going further in the following bonding dynamic than you have gone in the previous one: know, trust, rely, commit, and touch. Van Epp spends several pages helpfully debunking the view that sex doesn’t necessarily transform a relationship.

    For example, pay attention to how your partner, or you, behave, and behaved, in other relationships, including with strangers, significant others, family members, and in various situations

    David Brooks, in his frustration over colleges not helping students in the art of marriage formation, recommends reading Austen. Think of her heroines, and a hero, who , Willoughby, or Lucy Steele had they not abided by the eighteenth century RAM plan, or, as a more academic marriage expert, Scott Stanley, puts it, found “low cost” ways of getting to know their suitors. According to Stanley, sex and moving in together attach a precipitously high cost to a relationship-involving not only premature intimacy, but also shared rent, cars, relatives, and often children. Consequently, a couple often “slides in” to marriage rather than commits to it. Conversely, low cost methods of courtship, like dating, taking classes, pursuing shared interests, working on projects, and getting to know each other’s families, writes Stanley, contribute to what he sees as the ultimate foundation of a lasting marriage: commitment. Another low cost way to add depth to a relationship consists of taking surveys found at, which help couples understand the various factors, influences, and beliefs each partner brings to the table.

    My husband and I celebrated our twenty-fifth wedding anniversary in June. We met at a group activity and, admittedly, felt attraction for each other. I immediately responded to his mention of a book by Malcolm Muggeridge about Mother Teresa. He liked my long hair. Neither criterion turned out to be the basis for our marital satisfaction. Ends up he’d actually only heard of the Muggeridge book, and a few years after we had children, I cut my hair. But even better, my hippopotamus actually turned out to be Mother Teresa, always the one to clean up kids’ vomit or to sleep on the worst side of any bed. He continually exhibits what yet another marriage expert, Ty Tashiro at the University of Maryland, calls the winning trait for marriage-agreeableness-which bests the other “big five” personality traits: extroversion, conscientiousness, neuroticism, and openness. I’m prone to what Tashiro calls the loser relationship trait, neuroticism, but contribute healthy doses of conscientiousness and extroversion to our union. To me, though, the grace of God beats any and all other factors in creating a lasting marriage. May it be upon young people today as they seek out lifelong companions.

    Yeah, sure our future can be uncertain at times, but how exciting that is! How exciting it is to know it’s guided by God!

    Accelerating the steps or going out of order provides pragmatic site a recipe for unhealthy relationships and ramps up the likelihood of falling in love with a jerk, or at least the wrong hippopotamus

    Van Epp’s other three factors may not seem as significant to the uninitiated, but the experienced can vouch for their importance. Sooner or later, he claims, all these relationship scripts will merge in marriage and predict how she or he treats you-or how you will treat a spouse. The fourth factor consists of getting to know patterns of family background (expressing affection, resolving conflict, parental role modeling, and dealing with differences) because early attachment matters in our ability to form healthy relationships and can deeply influence our approach to family life. People can and do overcome less than ideal home situations, but according to Van Epp, the motivation to change is much stronger before than after the wedding (emphasis added).