Is It Time for a Marriage Checkup?
You change the oil in your car every 3,000 to 5,000 miles and you have regular dental checkups; but how often do you evaluate or “check on” your marriage? If you don’t water a plant, it will die. The same is true for marriage. There are serious consequences for neglecting a relationship.
In the early 1990s, The Georgia Association of Marriage and Family Therapy recommended couples get an annual marriage checkup. Is today a good day to schedue such a check-up? What better way to express your love and concern?
researchers found they could predict if a couple would stay together based on a number of indicators. The project, conducted by professor emeritus John Gottman, Ph.D., followed couples over a 7 to 9 year period and could predict with 87 percent accuracy, which marriages would stay together, and which ones would dissolve.
Gottman has developed indicators of why marriages succeed or fail. One of the most important she believes is the “rule of five.”
- It takes five positive interactions to counteract the damage of one negative interaction, such as blame or criticism.
There are many ways to show positivity according to Gottman. They include:
- showing interest
- being affectionate
- showing you care
- beingÂ appreciative
- showing concern
- being empathetic
- being accepting
While the balance between negativity and positivity seems to be one of the main factors in a successful marriage, there are also four predictors
- stonewalling, or the complete cutoff of the other person.
Gottman writes in his book “Why Marriages Succeed or Fail,” that long-term marriages contain an abundance of love and respect. Perhaps this self-quiz can help you determine if these fundamentals are present in your relationship.
TAKE THE QUIZ:
IS THERE ENOUGH LOVE AND RESPECT IN YOUR MARRIAGE?
The following quiz developed by John GottmanÂ is to be taken by you and your spouse. Answer “yes” or “no” to each statement based on whether you mostly agree or disagree
- My spouse seeks out my opinions.
- My spouse cares about my feelings.
- We are affectionate toward one another.
- We listen to each other.
- What I say counts.
- I love spending time with my partner.
- We are very good friends.
- My spouse finds me physically attractive.
- I feel included in my partner’s life.
- We touch each other a lot.
- We respect each other’s ideas.
- Even during tough times we can be empathetic.
Scoring: If you checked “yes” to fewer than 4 items, then you may not feel enough love and respect in your marriage and you may want to seek a check up.
The average couple waits six years before seeking help for marital problems - so they often live with unhappiness for far too long. Marital relationships can definitely improve. They are like anÂ illness; if the problems are ignored, they will get worse. If both partners are committed, they can work towards changing their relationship for the better.