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Things to Know Before You Say “Go”

Program Length: 76-question Card Deck and Activity Book
Grades: 8-14
Author: Elsbeth Martindale, PsyD

Powerful Questions to Ask Before You Give Your Heart Away

Teens often move quickly into intimate or risky relationships, without knowing much about their partners …or even themselves. This engaging set of 76 “flash cards” helps these young people discover what information is missing, and why it matters. Each card asks teens basic questions about how their partner acts in varied aspects of the relationship. Also available, is an activity book designed to engage teens to think further about their relationships by explaining what behaviors reveal about their partner, why each is important, and consequences to consider.


The process couldn’t be simpler or more teen-friendly. Each card asks teens basic questions about how their partner acts in varied aspects of the relationship. For example:

  • Does this person act differently in public than in private?…
  • How do they handle conflicts in our relationship?…
  • Do they follow through on commitments?…
  • Are they willing to listen to my feelings?…
  • How do they manage past romantic relationships?
  • And much more.

The game card questions and answers, together with the activity book, gives teens a fuller portrait of whom they’re dating, what to expect in the future, and how to proceed in the relationship. The Things to Know Before You Say “Go” Cards also can be sorted into groups to help teens clarify other situations:

  • Assessing a current relationship
  • Exploring their readiness to deepen emotional or sexual involvement.
  • Evaluating a potential new partner
  • Understanding what went right – or wrong –in a past relationship

This program challenges teens to clarify what is important to them in a romantic relationship.  Rather than waiting to “be chosen,” these teens become empowered to actively seek what they want and deserve.

Dr. Elsbeth Martindale

Elsbeth Martindale, PsyD, is a Portland, Oregon-based psychologist with over 25 years experience in clinical practice. Active and engaging in her approach to psychotherapy, she finds working with conceptual teaching tools to be a powerful way to assist clients in their growth. Her interest in skill and tool focused psychotherapy has led her to develop a number of creative and instructive products to fill the gaps where psycho-educational tools were absent.

The Things to Know Before You Say “Go”  book and deck was developed by Dr. Martindale while working with clients around relationship issues of trust and intimacy. Concerned that her clients were not asking the deeper questions they needed to consider in order to protect their hearts, she created a deck of provocative and powerful questions to move them to deeper inquiry and reflection.

Dr. Martindale developed Things to Know Before You Say “Go” as a resource to help people slow down and think with clarity, intelligence, and passion and about partnership choices and decisions.

Things To Know Before You Say “Go” Named Winner in 2012 AEP Awards Honoring Excellence in Learning Resources (Berkeley, CA)—June 6, 2012

The Dibble Institute and Courage To Bloom are pleased to announce that their collaboration, Things To Know Before You Say “Go” Activity Book, has been named the winner of the 2012 Association of Educational Publishers (AEP) Distinguished Achievement Award for Supplemental Resources in Life Skills and Character Education. Distinguished Achievement Awards honor the best in a range of product types and resources used by teachers, parents, and students. Runners up in this category were Girl Scouts of the USA and Youth Communications.

Honoring excellence and innovation in the education community, the Awards are the longest-running and most highly regarded recognition program in the industry. For 2012 the AEP Awards were updated to ensure that they remain relevant, recognizing the challenges and needs of education in the 21st century. Three key principles–quality content, age appropriateness, and innovation–drove the judging criteria and evaluation process for selecting finalists and winners. Things to Know Before You Say “Go” represents the highest level of achievement in product development for the education industry,” said Eric Hamilton, Assistant Director at the American Museum of Natural History and AEP Awards Committee Chair. “In an era where almost anyone can publish and sell their materials, the AEP Awards show the value of professionally developed and vetted learning resources that offer real opportunities for educators to improve student achievement.”

Products were judged in a three-tier process (educator review, professional review, and certification) with only the best materials advancing to the higher rounds. Having products judged first and foremost by educators is critically important because they know best which products will succeed or fail directly in the classroom and ensures that the winners are truly leaders in the field.

About The Dibble Institute:The Dibble Institute, a nonprofit organization, helps young people learn how to create healthy romantic relationships now and in the future. The institute offers tools for teaching the practical skills essential for enhancing friendships, dating and love. Just as important, it assists teens in creating the personal vision that keeps them on a positive path. Dibble’s research-based, best practices programs are widely used across the country in classrooms, social agencies, after-school programs and other youth settings. Dibble also actively advocates for including relationship education in school curricula. The Institute is nonpartisan and nonsectarian. Funding for its activities comes from sales of educational materials, training and consulting services. It enjoys support from government grants and gifts from foundations, corporations and individuals.

About Courage to Bloom: Courage to Bloom is dedicated to creating tools for awareness and empowerment of the inner world. It is a resource for psycho-educational tools and products, and a place where practiced ideas for healing, growth, and wholeness are examined and discussed. Courage to Bloom embraces the notion that living a meaningful and courageous life is possible when right intentions and effective strategies are paired with a willingness to experiment.

About the AEP Awards: For more than four decades, the AEP Awards have honored outstanding resources for teaching and learning in all media and for any educational setting. Award winners meet the highest standards for quality, professional content for education and represent the most innovative learning solutions currently on the market. One of the largest and longest-running programs of its kind, the AEP Awards and its seal of excellence are widely recognized by educators, administrators, and parents as a mark of outstanding educational value.

What Others Have to Say

As a college student I’ve found myself looking for a little guidance when it comes to serious relationships.  These cards ask all the questions I never thought of, allowing me to step back and look at my current and past relationships from a different angle.  I’ve gained a better understanding of my priorities and now feel like I have more control and confidence in the choices I’ll make in the future.  I recommend these cards to those looking for a new and versatile way to sort out desired values in both friendships and serious relationships.

Matthew K, Sophomore, Virginia Tech

I thought that the cards raised important questions I might not have thought of before. The cards are especially good because they make you examine yourself AND your partner. They can work for anyone because you can decide how to use them and what is important to you.

Natalie E, Senior, Oakland, CA

Elsbeth Martindale’s, Things to Know Before You Say “Go,” book and cards are an engaging way to get students thinking and talking about all-important relationship topics. At the high school level, students are developmentally ready to learn about themselves and analyze their love relationships, but often don’t know how to go about it. The book and cards present a fun, non-threatening path to self-knowledge and a way to open up to each other. I hope that many students will access the cards and become more thoughtful upon entering romantic relationships.

Nancy Sullivan, Librarian, Madison High School

The Things to Know Before You Say “Go” cards and book are a handy and simple to use reference guide I wish I had had in previous relationships. I feel the awareness of self and the use of stages in a relationship mentioned throughout the book will help me make better choices in future relationships. When using the question cards, I found myself better understanding areas that I need to pay attention to earlier in future relationships.

Alec R. (29) Tacoma, WA

I like to use the cards as a way of starting a conversation with my daughters.  I like that the cards are tactile and that I can nip away at them here and there, drawing a card at random and seeing what it brings up, for me as well as for my daughters. I like the option of sorting them into piles. I love the idea of my daughters using them when they move from friendship to more serious dating, to relationships and on to commitment.It’s so nice to have a visual thing that is not strictly a book… something you can shuffle up, put a few in a pocket, draw one of more at random. They are so much more versatile than a worksheet or a teaching guide with a binding. I would highly recommend this deck to others.  Oh, if we’d only had this deck when I was growing up.

Tave Fasce Drake, Artist and Educator, Portland, OR

Elsbeth’s cards were very well received by my community college women in transition students. Also a great gift for your teen daughter who thinks the Twilight vampire books depict a desirable, healthy romantic relationship.

Shoshana D. Kerewsky, Psychology Professor, Counseling Psychology and Human Services, University of Oregon