We’re raised with the belief that marriage is one of life’s most amazing expressions of love. After all, we’ve pledged our undying devotion to someone who does the same for us. How difficult could it be?
Many young couples are surprised to learn that a successful marriage involves far more hard work than they ever expected. Becoming a couple can indeed be amazing and wonderful, but it also involves a constant give and take with each other. If you wonder about the health of your marriage and how well-positioned you are to become one of those couples whose bond grows over the decades, start by honestly answering these ten critical questions.
- Am I taking care of myself?
That may sound like an odd question when your marriage involves your relationship with your spouse, but it’s valid. If you don’t take care of your own body, mind, and spirit, you’re less able to nurture that relationship and more likely to resent it.
- Am I taking responsibility only for me?
It’s not unusual for people to take personal responsibility for their partner’s thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and behaviors … but that’s unhealthy. Own what you think and do, and let your partner do the same for themselves.
- Am I bringing safety to the relationship?
When you seek to understand your spouse without judging them, you’re building trust and longevity into the relationship. Each of us is unique and deserves to be treated that way.
- Am I committed to win-win strategies?
Do you have a genuine interest in meeting both your needs and theirs, or are you only interested in getting your way?
- Am I practicing the Golden Rule?
Are you speaking to (and about) your spouse as you wish they would do to (and about) you? That means no sarcasm, put-downs, social media snark, or “if only” statements.
- Is our marriage truly my priority?
If your relationship takes a back seat to your job, your hobbies, your kids, your family, your friends, or anything else, it’s not likely to last.
- Am I my partner’s biggest cheerleader?
Do we spend time each day cheering for encouraging our partner, or are we focused on responsibilities and shortfalls? (Hint! Take a moment right now to send them a text of encouragement!)
- Am I focused on raising them up?
When we first met we were probably focused on all the great qualities that attracted us to them. When was the last time you were that same fun loving person, looking forward to seeing your partner? And when was the last time you reminded them of who they were created to be?
- Am I using my strengths for the greater good?
Do you get angry when they fail to plan a vacation, even though you know you’re great at doing that? Do you get mad because he “imposes” a budget, but it’s really what he’s great at doing? Use your strengths to build the relationship, not as a weapon to undermine it.
- Am I practicing gratitude daily?
Know how you feel when they deliver a compliment or recognize something you’ve done well? You can give them that same feeling by acknowledging their actions.
If you answered “yes” to all ten questions, congratulations, because your actions will strengthen your relationship. But if you couldn’t honestly give positive answers to several of them, it may be time for you – either alone or together – to talk with a counselor about how to get your marriage back on the right path. Contact us today.
Here are a few podcasts that can help, too.