Neil Clark Warren
Founder of eharmony.com
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the Love of Your Life: Ten Principles for Choosing the Right Marriage
. . . Or Soul Mate? How To Know If Someone Is Worth Pursuing In
Two Dates or Less
Dr. Neil Warren is a psychologist, "speaker" (then again, of course, almost everybody over the age of two is a "speaker" nowadays) and the founder of eharmony.com based in Pasadena, California.
He's been counseling both single and married folks for 30-plus
years, and - perhaps the most impressive item on his relationship
resume - he's been married for 42 years - an extremely, extremely
rare find in the field of relationship experts. Even his parents
were married for 70 years. And all three of his daughters are happily
married. Heck, probably, his dogs are happily married, his goldfish,
and even the fleas on his dogs. Dr. Neil seems to have the Midas
touch of nuptial bliss, with everything he touches turning into
eruptions of marital ecstasy.
And to boot, he has been written about in the Los Angeles Times: "unlike fellow relationship gurus John Gray and Barbara De Angelis, who have correspondence-school PhDs and multiple marriages (including to each other), Warren is Princeton-educated and has been wed 42 years."
So, what is Dr. Neil's angle? Here goes:
66% of all marriages in the US end in divorce or separation. Half of those occur in the first 2 years! Research shows that if people followed the advice in this book, the divorce rate would be incredibly lower. If you want to have a happy marriage, then read this WHILE you're single.
Our (that is, eharmony.com's) proven matching technology screens hundreds of thousands of people to find only the ones that are right for you. Falling in love still takes chemistry, but we maximize compatibility with every match we make!
In the glamorous haze of early romantic attraction it's hard to know whether a relationship will lead to true love--or to a negative or even catastrophic relationship. This book helps men and women who want healthy and satisfying marriages identify the early warning signs of an unhealthy relationship. Dr. Warren shows readers how to hold out for God's best for their lives instead of settling for the first one to come along and outlines the factors that increase the chances for marital success. For those who want to become wiser in their relationship choices, this practical guide will help them find the love they want and avoid the pain they don't need.
94 percent of Gen X-ers want to marry their soul mate; 88 percent of them said that they are willing to do really hard work to bring that about. And we think now about at eharmony.com that we have a way to help them do that. We have a matching model that consists of 29 key dimensions, and if we help people get matched on those 29 dimensions, they have a much better chance of making the marriage work.
What Warren was Thinking
Before launching the site, Warren performed "autopsies" on 400 marriages--half miserable, half happy--to find out what made the difference between success or failure. He settled on 29 factors, such as intelligence, ambition, energy level and moral values. Then he devised a one-hour online test to measure for all 29 and match people accordingly.
And so he wanted to create something different from the usual "dating" and "matching" services. They are "rapid and reckless," says an eharmony press release, or as they are described by some, "online meat markets."
The pitch is this: "get on eharmony and take our 45 minute survey. It costs nothing, and you get a five-page profile of yourself, your own strengths and your weaknesses, the kind of person you should pursue, and if you will pursue a person like that, you have a great chance to have a wonderful, lasting marriage."
In over 30 years of practice, Dr. Neil has seen literally hundreds of failed marriages and the damage they cause to children, family, and friends. He began inquiring into each failed marriage, dissecting it to understand what went wrong and when. Twenty years of study and research led to one overwhelming conclusion: "In almost every case, these were two persons who should never have married each other! They really didn't belong together. They thought they did, but they just didn't." WRONG, WRONG
And Words from Dr. Neil:
"Here's what I tell singles every chance I get: Your choice of whom to marry is more crucial than everything else combined that you will ever do to make your marriage succeed. If you choose wisely, your life will be significantly easier and infinitely more fulfilling. But if you make a serious mistake, your marriage may fail, causing you and perhaps your children immeasurable pain.
(Hmmm . . . we wonder what Cheri Huber, who wrote "Be the Person You Want To Find" would say about this point?)
"This principle may sound like a no-brainer, but you would be surprised at the large percentage of singles who have the attitude that says, "I just want to get married, and once I've got my man (or woman), then we'll work things out." Lonely and worried they'll never marry, many singles are so intent on getting to "I do" that they don't invest the necessary time and effort to make a great decision.
Most of the failed marriages I have encountered were in trouble the day they began. But before you swear off marriage completely, be aware that recent research offers great news for singles: A number of studies show that premarital variables can predict which couples will do well and which will not with 80 to 94 percent accuracy. This means you can know in advance if you and your potential mate have a much-better-than-average chance of succeeding in marriage."
"No matter what stage of courtship you are in, whether still looking or think you've found someone, whether you've been married before or not - this clear and reasoned approach will significantly increase your chances of building a happy and enduring bond."
Well, it makes sense to us. Approaches such as this are pioneering a new path in relationships . . . bringing the scientific method to the study of love and marriage. While there are hazards to this (as the dry and too-scientific approaches of Aaron Beck and Robert Sternberg will attest to), is seems to be the direction of the future.
A basic premise of this work is that - while it's a little true that opposites attract in some ways - for a larger picture, every area where you are different from your partner will be a subject of potential conflict . . . and so finding a mate that has the most similarities is key to a happy marriage.
So, if Dr. Neil's approach can make finding your life's partner seems to be about as difficult as finding a kidney donor . . . does this approach work?
Are There Ways That Dr. Neil Doesn't Match Up?
Well, there are inevitable conflicts that com when "science" is paired up with "love." And, for example, when offering an impersonal, simplistic questionnaire to help folks make deeply personal, hugely important decisions, such as who they are going to spend the rest of their lives with . . . well, this can develop into several different areas of conflict.
Some folks find Dr. Neil's questions and writings insulting and amusing - in a way, insulting peoples' intelligence. The infamous Twenty Questions can come across to some as ridiculous . . . and in this case, folks are better off writing their own questions, and "monitoring your date for behavior and communication" can come across as . . . well, a little weird.
At the other extreme . . . there are plenty of folks who already have a laundry list of requirements for a potential mate . . . and use any slight aberration from this list as a reason to write someone off. In other words, the search for THE ONE takes galactic proportions . . . as if there is THE ONE who actually exists. After all, does everyone on the planet have THE ONE, a perfect soul mate? (This is a whole discussion that we'd frankly rather not get into right now.)
OK, we'll get into it just a little bit. If there is a soul mate for everyone, and destiny plays such a huge role in the affairs of men . . . then you probably won't need Dr. Neil's questionnaire and dating service, because destiny will take care of you.
And if there's not such thing as THE ONE for everybody . . . well, then, you're on your own, and in the interest of taking matters into your own hands . . . Dr. Neil's questions can be a good place to start.
Of course, the person you pick is important. As it is emphasized in Dr. Neil's work, ". . . if you marry someone who has an emotional health problem or you have one, then your marriage will never be stronger than the emotional health of the least healthy partner."
At the same time, one crucial point to all this is that it really, really seems to us here at LiveReal that there needs to be less emphasis on finding the right person and more emphasis placed on becoming the right person.
"It is useless to try and nail down the 'right' person." - says Harville Hendrix. Our vote is, let's get these two in a room.
And let's give Harville a tag-team with Cheri Huber - again, with "Be the Person You Want to Find."
After all, if everyone had the attitude that all they are supposed to do is find the perfect person . . . then a possible scenario would be that very few people would ever hook up, because everyone is so busy looking for the perfect person that no one is busy becoming the perfect person (especially, "perfect" as defined by someone else . . . who's taste in and knowledge of "perfection" may, well, be a little off. Case in point: supermodels who marry smelly rock stars. We rest our case.)
And further, when these types of approaches set expectations too high, there's always the risk that the more narcissistic the person, the greater the likelihood would be that they would have the bothersome feeling that somehow they're "settling," because they're with an actual, flesh-and-blood human instead of an imagined, idealized fantasy.
Finally, Dr. Neil seems to imply that if we would all just take his quiz, open our wallets to him and join his matching service, then divorce would be a thing of the past.
OK, we're exaggerating a bit. This is a pretty admirable direction to move in.
But marriage seems to have more serious problems than Dr. Neil seems to imply. After all, check out the divorce statistics from the last few centuries from Scientific American. Click here
There has been a fairly radical and steady societal shift in the divorce statistics over the past century. And why? What happened, did our judgment in picking mates suddenly go bad?
No. There is more to the picture than Dr. Neil seems to point out . . . namely, how larger, more sweeping societal trends have a major impact on the choices of individuals . . . factors that are changing the ways we are looking at marriage and relationships today...
- and things that your daring and loveable
LiveReal Editors are bravely seeking answers to . . .
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