Thinking of Tying the Knot? Take 'The Marriage Test,' If You Dare

The Takeaway

Click on the audio player above to hear this interview.

Wouldn't it be nice, in a creepy sort of way, to collect points in the romantic hazing process we call dating? What if you could cash in those points for a coveted prize? That prize, of course, is a guarantee that your relationship will work.

That's exactly what Brook Silva-Braga and Jill Andres decided to do. They attacked the question of finding "the one" in a game of challenges, something that led to their new book, "The Marriage Test."

The challenge consists of 40 tests—from swapping credit cards and speed dating with strangers to not touching each other for one week. They say it's a way to simulate married life before leaping down the aisle.

Click on the audio player above to hear the happy couple (pictured below) explain how they came up with "The Marriage Test," and how it assess compatibility. 

Check out five of the 40 challenges below.

Speed Dating

Plan to spend at least $35 and two hours testing your devotion to one another. A quick Internet search should get you there. Arrive separately with some clearly defined ground rules, which should probably include no follow-up messages once you leave the den of temptation. Plan a rendezvous and debrief afterward to talk over whatever trouble you’ve gotten yourselves into.

Trade Credit Cards

You’re swapping credit cards for a month so you can only buy things with the other’s money. Also exchange about $100 cash to use for things you can’t charge, then give back what’s left at the end of the month. Don’t peek at your bank balance; it’s more fun (and a more useful exercise) to spend their money without knowing how they’re spending yours. We didn’t have any trouble using each other’s cards except when purchasing a plane ticket. Our solution: Keep track of any charge that absolutely must be put on your personal card. Then get reimbursed at the end of the month.

Borrowing a Baby

You’re taking care of a real, live child for twenty-four hours. We happened to have access to a nine-month-old, but almost any kid will do! An offer of twenty-four hours of free babysitting turns out to be pretty attractive, so it may be easier to borrow a baby than you think. Venture outside during your parenting session to see just how hard it really is. If you’ve always pictured carrying your spawn to brunch, give it a try.

Sex Notes

After a week of your best efforts, exchange feedback on what is and isn’t working in the bedroom. You could hold your own private Reddit-style “Ask Me Anything,” or create sexual “Wish Lists” to swap and discuss. Remember, compliment sandwiches can help soften the blow of tougher feedback!

Play It Back

Record a fight or emotional conversation—you can wait for one to emerge organically or just record another date you expect to be contentious. We used a video camera, but a cell phone voice memo will work fine too. Once the dust settles, give a listen, possibly separately at first, but also ultimately together. You can stop to point out things or ask questions if you like, but don’t interrupt too much. Once you’ve both had a chance to listen and reflect, try to discuss ways to argue more constructively.