I went to a memorial this week. A friend passed away suddenly; a shock to us all, but to none more than to his bride of twenty-some years. My heart went out to this brave woman and her three children who watched her life change dramatically without any warning. She told me that it was all so surreal—that one day he was laughing and telling her a story that made her laugh so hard she was crying, and the next day she was watching him curl up in a fetal position, and then he was gone. Just like that.

Yet at the reception after the memorial, instead of drowning in her tears (which we would imagine is what most of us would do), she wanted to talk about what a great, loving father and husband he was. How funny and generous he was. How many people’s lives he touched, and how blessed she was to have had twenty years with him. And while yes, her eyes were puffy and blurred with mascara, as sad as she was, she was genuinely grateful and proud to have spent this chapter of her life with such a man. You could feel it was true.

On the ride home tears spilled down my cheeks, as the truth of her words about her husband were also true for me, in a smaller yet significant way. This man has indeed touched my life, his generosity and beautiful spirit has definitely made a difference to me and my family. And then I felt this wave of inspiration fill my heart. A reaffirmation of why I do what I do and do it with such passion. To help people find what my girlfriend found with her beloved husband, however long they were blessed to share that together.

People ask me all the time how to have a great relationship, or if I think they are ready. I usually ask them the same two questions: What do you want, and what are you willing to do about it? Then I direct them to my Relationship Aptitude Test, or RAT, which helps you smell a rat—or find out if you are one. It’s multiple choice. Take your time.

Q 1 When is it okay to date someone who is already in a relationship?
1. Human beings are not monogamous creatures
2. As long as they don’t really want to be with that person
3. I’d rather wait until they are available

Q 2 How long should you wait before you get sexually intimate with someone?
1. It depends on how well I know the person
2. If it feels good, do it
3. Two or three dates, unless it’s love at first sight

Q 3 Does it matter how someone’s relationships have ended in the past?
1. Some people just bring out the worst in each other
2. That was then and this is now
3. I am attracted to people who keep their side of the street clean

Q 4 Does God matter in a relationship?
1. Not believing in God doesn’t make you a bad person
2. I think it’s key to a relationship to be spiritually compatible
3. To each his own
Q 5 When you should bring up marriage or commitment?
1. Be upfront about what you want; you both deserve that
2. You should just go with the flow
3. Not until you’re sure it won’t scare them away
Q 6 At what point do you talk about kids or birth control?
1. Love me, love my kids; and know that whatever I do, I am responsible for
2. If you have ‘em, wait to bring them up; if you don’t, wait until they mention it
3. Have a condom and don’t say anything you’ll regret later

Q 7 When and how do you talk about STDs?
1. I would assume someone would tell me if they were sick or had some disease
2. ASAP and gracefully
3. You can tell when people are clean and healthy—and always bring a condom

Q 8 Does it matter if someone you are with has been incarcerated?
1. Everyone deserves a second chance
2. As long as it wasn’t murder
3. Depends on what for

Q 9 Does everyone need a purpose in life?
1. I just want them to be happy
2. Absolutely—or in sincere pursuit
3. As long as it isn’t me

Q 10 Do you believe in Happily Ever After?
1. I don’t need to anymore
2. I believe in the pre-nuptial agreements
3. Sure, who doesn’t want that?

Q 1: 1) 2 points, 2) 1 point, 3) 3 points
Q 2: 1). 3 points, 2) 2 points, 3) 1 point
Q 3: 1) 1 point, 2) 2 points, 3) 3 points
Q 4: 1) 1 point, 2) 3 points, 3) 2 points
Q 5: 1) 3 points, 2) 2 points, 3) 1 point
Q 6: 1) 3 points, 2) 1 point, 3) 2 points
Q 7: 1) 1 point, 2) 3 points, 3) 2 points
Q 8: 1) 1 point, 2) 2 points, 3) 3 points
Q 9: 1) 1 point, 2) 3 points, 3) 2 points
Q 10: 1) 3 points, 2) 2 points, 1) 1 point

Email your score to info at maryannelive dot com, and we’ll send you the results. Find out if you need an X-termination, need to lay off the cheese, or if you are a cheese connoisseur!

Author's Bio: 

Maryanne Comaroto is an internationally known relationship expert, talk show host and author. Her weekly live radio talk show reaches millions of listeners in the U.S. and around the world. Maryanne's philosophy is "Great relationships begin within!" http://www.maryannelive.com