Just like an annual physical is a preventative measure for early detection of disease, an annual relationship check-up is a preventative measure that can be taken to strengthen and safeguard your marriage. Checking in regularly with your spouse provides the opportunity to evaluate where you are, where you want to be, and how you will get there.
When thinking about what’s working and what’s not working in a marriage, it can be easy to start with a list of complaints about where your spouse is not meeting your needs. But I suggest that you each start by examining how you are meeting your spouse’s needs first. Taking a close look at our own behavior before we offer critique on our spouse’s flaws allows us to come into the conversation from a place of humility and self-awareness. And there’s a good chance that you will each catch the areas where you need to grow before your spouse even points them out.
Ready for your Marriage Check-Up?
Here are a few questions for each of you to consider individually:
- Affection – Have I provided my spouse with the emotional affection he or she needs?
- Communication – Have I listened well when my spouse was telling me something that was important to him or her?
- Conflict – When we disagreed on something, was I respectful of my spouse and willingly engaged until we resolved the issue?
- Money – Have I been a good steward of our finances and resources?
- Household – Have we have defined roles and fulfilled them without complaint?
- Parenting – Have we defined roles and have supported each other in working with our children?
- Trust – No matter what happens, can my spouse can depend on me to be supportive?
Take the next step.
Once you’ve each answered all the questions, spend some time discussing your answers with each other in humility and honesty: recognize that this process is crucial to giving your marriage a fresh start. Acknowledge and apologize for the areas where you scored low. Have a collaborative discussion about how you can each do better in the areas where you scored below a 3, and commit to growth in those areas. If emotions become heated and your conversation becomes oppositional rather than collaborative, take a time out and consider seeking outside help to fully evaluate your marriage.
At the Marriage Recover Center, we offer a Marriage Evaluation Package for couples in need of a more thorough check-up on their relationship or couples who already recognize that there are problems. The 3-session package includes a 1-hour session for each individual and a 1-hour joint session. At the end of the 3-hour evaluation, your counselor will help you develop a plan for how you can grow as a couple and what you will need to do to get there. Learn more about the Marriage Evaluation Package here or call us at (206) 219-0145 for a fresh start.