Radio Interview Transcript


ANNOUNCER:  Welcome to the Wedding Details Radio brought to you by Now here’s your host, Damien Allen.  DAMIEN: Good afternoon and welcome to Wedding Details Radio. My name is Damien Allen, and joining me on the phone today is Paul Friedman. Paul is the author of Lessons for a Happy Marriage. That’s what he talks about; that’s what he does, and Paul, welcome to the program.
PAUL: It’s a pleasure to be here.
DAMIEN: And it’s a pleasure to have you as always, sir. Now you offer an incredible service, advice on how to have a happy marriage and on your website you also have the Am I Ready To Get Married Quiz. Could you give us that quiz, Paul?
PAUL: Oh my goodness. You know, that is a good place to start if you are getting close to getting married. We’d like to begin with asking you specific questions. One question is, “Are you sure you have found the right person?” This is, unfortunately, a question that comes up, because most people who end up in marriage counseling clearly did not. There is what’s called a Compatibility Issue. Often times what happens is somebody falls in love and they really haven’t gotten to know the person who they have fallen love with. Falling in love is much easier than a lot of people think. There is an awful lot of biology that goes into that and the problem is that if you’re not compatible with the person you have fallen in love with, that love is not going to carry you through the difficulties. I can actually recall a… it’s a very personal experience that I had. Years ago my daughter said, Dad, you need to talk to…I’m not going to mention her name…but a very close friend, she is engaged to get married and nobody thinks it’s right. I met with this person, let’s just give her a name. Let’s call her Jane, and I met with Jane and of course I congratulated her and told her how happy I was for her, and Jane was a vegetarian, and I knew that, and I happened to know why. And I said to Jane, Jane what is it about so-n-so that is so special. She said, “Well, he’s a vegetarian too. And I said that is amazing how you two found each other in the vast world, but I have to ask you a question. Why is he a vegetarian? I know why you are a vegetarian, but have you asked him why he was one? And it kind of took her aback, and she had it, and I said, Jane, I also know that you’re very much against abortion. How is so-n-so with that? And she said I don’t know. Then I said maybe you should just have a little talk and that very night she ended up breaking off the engagement and actually never saw him again. When I meet with people who have been married 5 or 6 years, they’re all saying, “Oh my God I had no idea he/she was the way they are.” People don’t invest time in someone. They don’t ask enough important questions and when we’re talking about important questions, we’re really talking about the questions that are important to us. There are things that are very, very important to you, and you know what they are. Well your potential future spouse doesn’t and chances are they’re not asking you those important questions either. You know we start out by dating each other and we want to make sure we like the same foods and it’s not too difficult to adjust what kind of food you like. Oh, gee, I love Mexican food, oh gee, I love Italian food, but not veal, but he/she does. I think I do too. Or we like the same kind of movies or what about the really important questions? What about the questions about abortion? That’s actually a good question, because there are so many things that come from that. Political affiliation; could you imagine if you’re a staunch conservative getting involved with a  staunched liberal? It just isn’t any fun. Or what if you want to have 4 kids, but the person you’re thinking about getting married to doesn’t want any kids at all, literally. I had a couple who didn’t know that about each other, fortunately they didn’t have any children. Four years into the marriage, he realizes I didn’t want any children. I thought she knew that. She is thinking how could he not want any children? That was an easy one. They parted as friends, sort of, but had they discussed this very important issue, they would have been friends without having gone through 4 years of marriage and the failure.
DAMIEN: What are your some of the tips for premarital counseling, Paul?
PAUL: That’s a good question. Often times a couple goes to premarital counseling because they are part of a religious organization whether it be Christian, one sect Christianity or Jewish and then they go through their Rabi or they are Muslim, and it is very good practice when they go to the counselors. Ask the counselor what is it that you feel is the science that is underneath a healthy marriage? You should be asking the counselor. They are going to put you through their drill, but you should be putting them through a little bit of a drill too. You are getting into something that really can be scientifically explained. Find out what their explanation is. Ask them, “How should we behave to have a very successful marriage?” Counsel us; tell us what the do’s are, what the don’ts are and explain them. We want the best marriage on earth. How can we have the best marriage on earth? What are the pitfalls we can run into. Tell us exactly what they are. Tell us what the biggest pitfall is. Tell us what some of the little ones are that we may miss and let them know what we want out of marriage is everything. We know that marriage is something that could provide us with a very happy life if we know how to operate it. Give us a tutorial. Make it less counseling, more it more educational.
DAMIEN: Should all couples get a premarital counselor?
PAUL: I don’t think it hurts. Why not? You wouldn’t go out and buy a computer without getting some tutorial of some kind. You want to get fully prepared for this. This is an endeavor that is going to last the rest of your life. I believe, and I think it can be proven…every day can actually be better than the day before when you know what you are doing, and I’m going to use the analogy of the computer again. You get on that baby and the first time you have difficulty getting around it, you might be a little frustrated from time to time when you’re experimenting with the computer, because you don’t know everything yet, and if you become a little frustrated you’ll try and figure it out yourself, but you’re not going to throw out the computer. And you shouldn’t throw out your new husband or wife either. You talk to them and you go, “What feels good?” But every day you should be improving your relationship; it actually should be better. The experience of marriage should be a better experience every single day. You may not notice it every single day just like a child when they are growing, you don’t really notice it and then all of a sudden they are towering over you, and they have grown, and the love you share and the experiences you share will grow as well. The Greatest think to avoid are those things which make you unhappy, and you don’t want to say anything negative to your spouse. You don’t want to be critical of them. You don’t want to look at them in a way that maybe suggests that there is something wrong with them. Be nice.
DAMIEN: Most troubled marriages are the result of misunderstandings or compounded misunderstandings; what don't people understand about relationships?
PAUL: What most people don’t understand about relationships is that relationships are things and they require a certain amount of paying attention to them, understanding how they are working, how they are functioning. You know, if you say something to somebody that is hurtful; it’s going to come back to you. You can count on it. It is a law of relationships is that the nicer you are, the more sugar you put into your relationship, the more sweetness will come back to you. And you should enjoy it. The relationship isn’t a temperamental, weird thing, it’s a very beautiful thing. It’s a work of art that you and your spouse are creating every day. So make it beautiful. Don’t put in anything that you don’t want in there. If you don’t want criticism in there, don’t put it in. If you don’t want judgment, don’t be judgmental, but if you do want intimacy put that in there. Keep it genuine, loving, supportive; instead of demanding, controlling, insistent.
DAMIEN: Well as always, words to live by. Could you kindly share the website address and contact information, Paul?
PAUL: The website address is Lessons For A Happy, and you are able to pick up my book called Lessons for a Happy Marriage coincidentally at no charge. You could literally download it for free from the website or you can always go to Amazon or Barnes & Noble and buy it, but feel free to download it. We’re here to help you have the best marriage you have ever had in your life. The only one you’ll ever have in your life.
DAMIEN: Thank you for joining us today, Paul.
PAUL: Damien, thank you. It’s a pleasure as always. Talk to you next time.
DAMIEN: We are please to announce that Paul Friedman is one of our resident experts for where you can link into Paul’s website and listen to his common-sense advice about Lessons For A Happy Marriage!
You’ve been listening to Wedding Details Radio.  My name is Damien Allen for Paul Friedman and all of us here at Wedding Details, everybody have a great afternoon.
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