If you had to give your relationship or marriage a rating on a scale of 0 being terrible to 10 being out-of-this world awesome, what would you rate it? Why would you give it that rating?  Are there certain areas of your marriage where you can’t seem to agree–like finances or household chores?  Do you need to work on how you communicate?  Do you wish for more love, affection, or intimacy?

As a student in a Marriage and Family Therapy program, I recently got to take a series of assessments which measure the health of your marital relationship.  My husband took the same ones, separately.  When we were finished, I had to score them and write a paper on the experience (a 15-page paper!).  These particular assessments determined how satisfied both partners are with the marriage and with their partners,  how you handle disagreements, how accommodating you are to your partner and your partner is to you, and if you are headed for a divorce.  These were simple assessments, probably no more than a minute to complete, that indicate the health and happiness states of your marriage.

So, a little background information here: 

As most of you know:  I’ve been married before.  I would’ve scored very low on these assessments with my ex. This is my second marriage, and my new husband was the first date I’d had in over seventeen years.  Yikes!  I was so nervous on my first date.  I’d met him on Match.com and we had so many things in common, it seemed like his physical appearance was just a freakin’ “cherry on top” bonus.  Before I got back into the dating world, I made sure I had worked enough on myself not to repeat the same mistakes I had with my first marriage.  I worked intensely hard in therapy, and through the help of EMDR, went through the process in fast forward.  I was ready and oh-so-willing in therapy to wade through the muck of a failed marriage, not to mention intense childhood crap, to come out healthy in the end.  Through the process of healing, I learned to love myself and my own company.  I was okay with being alone for the rest of my life, but I also held hope that there was someone out there who was much more suited to me and my values.

And along came Don, the love of my life…

Don and I have an amazing relationship.  I had already known this before I took the assessments, but it’s always nice to see that validated.  We scored off the charts, incredibly high for our marriage assessments for this class’s assessment assignment. I know I have a loving and rock solid relationship with someone I consider my soul mate.  I don’t take my marriage or my partner for granted–I appreciate and recognize the love we share is special–and I know these thoughts are reciprocated.

So what makes a good marriage great?

These traits of a great marriage are taken from our book The Secrets of Loving Relationships.  Another important aspect of a good marriage is that your communication is positive and respectful.

But, how about you?  What do you think makes for a great marriage?  What ruins a relationship?



6 Responses

  1. I definitely think the major crusher of marriage is dishonesty. After that, poor communication. Many couples have good intentions and really do care for their spouse, but they don’t/can’t communicate it in a way that the other person appreciates and feels. This is a super list!! Would make a great dinner conversation with a spouse or spouse-to-be.

  2. Nicole, Every time I stop by here and learn more about you it is like we are the same freakin person!! I too worked on myself after my divorce and was happily being single when I met my hubby online. It was yahoo dating service which I don’t believe even exist anymore! I was scrolling through profile and signed up just to communicate with him.

  3. These are so true. Making a marriage work takes actual work, and we have to decide to give up self-centered desires. Spending time together, communicating openly and often, and expressing gratitude are so important. Thanks for sharing and doing what you do. It is so important that we make marriage a priority!!

    1. Thanks Elizabeth–and thanks for stopping by. I do feel so blessed that I have met and married my soul mate–but even that takes effort. And when you hear the word “effort,” you might think “work,” but really it isn’t work at all. It’s really about prioritizing your relationship and cherishing it along with your mate. Of course, that’s the simple version :). The longer version? It’s commitment, honesty, shared values, etc.

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