Rating your marriage as if it was a commodity may get you a few raised brows.
Is it really necessary to take such a seemingly impersonal approach to your most intimate relationship?
That depends on your approach.
Taking stock of your personal affairs isn’t really a bad thing - as long as you remember that it’s not about pointing out where your partner fails.
If you do it with the correct motive, it could actually tell you a whole lot about your marriage and help you focus on where it may need improvement…especially where you need to improve.
After all, nobody can say their marriage is perfect or that they’re the perfect spouse.
Why not get started today…
Taking Stock of Your Marriage
A wedding is an event. Marriage is not an event; it's an ongoing process. Every day you learn something new about each other. You figure out how to best handle differences, how to achieve happiness and satisfaction, and how to grow in love for one another. In short, you’re learning to work as a team to give you both what you need… or at least, that’s how it should be.
How well do you personally do in those aspects?
That’s what you can assess when taking stock of your marriage. No doubt, you’re used to performance evaluations at school or at work. Both are designed to help you appraise your progress and what you need to do to reach your goal. The same is true of your marriage. The goal is for both of you to enjoy fulfillment and satisfaction in your marriage.
What questions could you ask to help you move your marriage to the “head of the class,” so to speak?
Some examples are:
- How committed are we to each other?
- Do my communication skills help or hurt our relationship?
- Are we regularly showing appreciation and affection for each other?
- How well do we resolve conflict?
- Do we work as a team when making decisions, parenting, or handling household chores?
- When push comes to shove, can we count on having each other’s back?
- Am I making my spouse feel safe and secure?
Once you’ve recorded where you may need to improve—as an individual or a couple—you can take the next step and make adjustments.
Making Adjustments to Improve Your Marriage
Each marriage is unique. After all, it’s made up of two unique individuals. But there are some common elements in every romantic relationship that can help improve your chances at marital success.
Consider a few and reflect on whether you need to progress in this particular area:
1. Being flexible
Life has ebbs and flows, ups and down. At times, you may have trouble imagining life without your spouse, while at other times, you may be annoyed by them being around all the time.
Most likely, you won’t stay in either place for long but rather in a happy middle ground, content with each other. Being comfortable and agreeable will help you to stay flexible and go with the flow during the inevitable periods of common marital transitions.
2. Being committed
Commitment is one of the most common elements in long-term marital success. Marriage is a dual commitment—to each other and to the concept of marriage. It requires hard work and dedication, but it also yields the highest levels of intimacy and happiness.
The type of intimacy that keeps you committed and helps you avoid infidelity doesn’t just have to do with sex. It comes in many forms, including personal conversation, sharing feelings and thoughts, cuddling, spending time together, and speaking well of each other in front of others.
3. Being proactive
Be proactive in developing positive communication and good problem-solving skills. You won’t always see eye-to-eye on everything, but good communication and proactive conflict resolution can be learned.
Know when to listen and when to speak. Recognize when to give your spouse space and when to be there for them. Ask your partner what they need and be honest about when you need something. Then, show that you value their needs by reacting promptly. Clear communication about your needs and reliable responses builds respect and trust.
4. Being appreciative
"Tit for tat," or keeping score of who does more for the other is childish. Make sure to maintain focused on the right perspective—keeping score of the positive things your spouse does for you each day. Then, offer a sincere “thank you.”
Of course, appreciation can also be shown in a more physical way. Remind your mate and yourself how grateful you are for having them in your life with a warm and lingering embrace, a passionate kiss, or genuine words of love. Don’t ever allow yourself to settle into a routine that stifles your romantic connection.
In order to start making the right adjustments, why not avail yourself of some helpful quizzes* that allow you to rate your relationship, or to identify your strengths and weaknesses. Evaluating various areas of your interactions and the skills you excel in or lack can help you determine which specific actions you each could take to make you a better team and move your marriage to the “head of the class.”
(*Note: You can find some helpful tools for assessing your relationship here: http://www.foryourmarriage.org/everymarriage/grade-your-marriage/, https://psychcentral.com/quizzes/relationship_quiz.htm.)