The Prospective Spouse Checklist: Interview with Isabelle Fox, PhD

As I understand it, many of you have been married or have considered marriage or come pretty darn close to it.

Now, with the divorce rate above 50%, it seems like marriage in this country has, at best, a coin flip’s chance at success. That’s just not right in my book.

And with the very public blowup of celebrity marriages, sometimes you have to think: what the hell were they thinking when they got married? Surely they should’ve known better.  (Read: Katy Perry, Sandra Bullock, the poor sap who married that Kardashian woman, and the procession of simpletons who keep marrying Charlie Sheen).

In fact, a little secret: I wrote the Tao of Dating books because I saw my friends in crappy relationships (married or not), and I thought they deserved better.

Now I’m your guy when it comes to dating.  For long-term relationships, on the other hand, I send you to the experts like Dr John Gottman — and Dr Isabelle Fox.

My friend and colleague Isabelle has been a practicing clinical psychologist for over 30 years. She just published a book entitled The Prospective Spouse Checklist: Evaluating Your Potential Partner, co-authored with her husband of 64 years, Robert Fox, J.D.

If you’re interested in marriage or any other kind of long-term relationship, this book may be the best $14.95 you’ve ever invested.

In this book, she gives you the 35-item list for what you should look out for in a partner — including the 11 dealbreakers. Item #1, for example, is ‘must be single.’ May seem obvious, but you’ll be amazed at how many people gloss over this one and get nailed in all kinds of painful places.

There are many, many reasons why I like this book. Here are three:

  • It’s full of that most uncommon of commodities — common sense.  Basically, you wouldn’t go into business with someone without doing thorough due diligence.  Lifeling partnership is such a decision.  This is about getting out of your starry-eyed fantasy and checking out the goods with a clear head.
  • It’s full of case histories of real couples.  Over her 3 decades of clinical practice, Isabelle knows that of which she speaks.
  • And, speaking of walking the walk, Isabelle has been married to Robert, her co-author, for 65 years.  That’s gotta be some kinda record.

Isabelle and Bob were kind enough to let me interview her this Thursday.  You can listen to the interview right here: either right-click on the link to download, or stream the audio to your heart’s content:


The Spouse Checklist interview with Dr Isabelle Fox and Robert Fox – right-click to download (34Mb, 65min)