The season is always right for a healthy marriage checkup. As a pastoral counselor and marriage and family therapist, I do these regularly with couples after their first year of marriage to look at both strengths as well as areas where growth is desired. The following survey is the scale Elizabeth (my wife) and I have developed and use on marriage enrichment retreats.
You may each use this to rate your satisfaction level from 1-10 in each area (“Not at all satisfied” to “totally satisfied”) and then compare and discuss your results.
You will want to celebrate areas where both of you are satisfied and then carefully discuss. Then, you'll want to make a concrete plan for improving areas of dissatisfaction. This work is what ultimately helps create a healthy marriage.
If your areas of dissatisfaction are numerous or highly contentious, you would be wise to contact a pastor or counselor to spend some time actively working on your marriage.
The Healthy Marriage Checkup Survey
Answer the following questions by giving a rating of 1-10.
- Feeling loved and respected by my spouse
- Daily time spent talking with each other
- Ways we spend time enjoying one another recreationally
- Ability to talk about anything
- Relating to our families of origin
- Romance and sex life
- Commitment to Christian growth
- Commitment and regular attendance at church
- Commitment to the marriage
- How we handle anger and conflict
- Our management of money
- Balancing demands (including chores) of home and career(s)
- How we make decisions
- Feeling appreciated
- Healthy relationships with other couples
Remember, the importance of remaining non-defensive as you share the results of your evaluation with your partner. The goal is to identify strengths and target areas for improvement. After making a specific plan for improvement in a given area, check back with each other regularly. Don’t forget to catch your partner doing something right!
Grace Marriage Mission
Here's a challenge for you. Share this post with your spouse. Take some time to separately rate each area before coming together to discuss the results. In areas where one or both of you note dissatisfaction, make a concrete plan to work toward improvement.
Dr. Scott Wigginton currently serves full-time as Professor of Pastoral Ministries & Counseling and Associate Director of the Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy program at Campbellsville University.