books i love: 5 books you must read before you get married

I get a lot of emails with people asking me for relationship advice (keep 'em coming!). More often than not, I respond with some advice, a few links to posts on Jen's Love Lessons, and then a few book suggestions. I love pointing people towards great relationship advice books. I even usually give my newly married friends several of my go-to advice books as wedding gifts. Since this is such a huge part of how I give advice, I thought I'd include a few of these book lists here (stay tuned for my book list for singles, my book list for married folk, and my book list for struggling relationships). Fun, right?

the relationship double standard: communicating with mutual respect

The Double Standard.

We've all heard this phrase used when talking about how the lives of men and women are portrayed in the media, evaluated in the workplace, and judged by our peers. But how many of you have really thought about all of the double standards we experience in marriage (or just in relationships in general)? I have. Actually, I do all of the time. I watch partners interact with one another and I think to myself, "you would HATE it if he talked to you that way" or "she would NEVER say that to you." And lately, I feel like I'm being inundated by prime examples of what I'm calling the Relationship Double Standard.

The Relationship Double Standard is a situation where relationship partners have different sets of rules or expectations for themselves than they do for their partners. In relationships (and in life), we have sets of rules about what behaviors are acceptable and unacceptable. Some of these rules are explicit (i.e. verbally stated or written down by you or your partner; wedding vows are a great example) and some of them are implicit (i.e. not directly stated, but observed by watching patterns of behavior). We have rules about how we would like others to treat us and we have rules about how we plan to act towards others. These rules tell our partners what they must do (i.e. "In order to be my partner, you have to be faithful to me."), what we would like them to do (i.e. "Please laugh at my jokes."), and what we want them to avoid doing (i.e. "You can't call me a bitch."). It's easy to learn the rules or expectations of our partners when they are explicitly stated. But, when rules are not explicit, it may take us a little longer to catch up, learning about them by spending a lot of time with our partners and through trial and error. Once you figure out how your partner wants to be treated, it's your job to continue behaving in that way to maintain your relationship.
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