Have you ever considered how to determine how good or healthy your marriage is? There isn’t a lab test or a thermometer that gives you a reading to tell you how you are doing. So, how do people know if their marriage is healthy or not?
Unfortunately, for some people, they have no idea what their own determining factors would be, say nothing about their spouse’s determining factors. Sometimes people are completely blown away when their spouse mentions divorce. They thought things were going just fine, but apparently their spouse didn’t. It is important to examine how you would know if your marriage is good or bad and to see if these things are in line with your spouse’s view of the relationship.
I’m Happy so It Must Be Good
Some people judge their marital satisfaction based on their happiness with their life in general. They think, “If I’m happy then my marriage must be good.” Their sources of happiness may be their work, extended family, or other external factors and they assume is going well.
We’re Weathering the Good Times and the Bad
Other people don’t think that happiness equates to marital satisfaction. Instead, they look for how they are handling the bad times. If they are taking the good and the bad and making it through together, they assume their marriage is in a good place. The general thinking is that if my spouse is here for me when I’m dealing with grief, tragedy and problems, we must have a good marriage.
We Have Fun Together
There are couples who really enjoy one another’s company and they like doing a lot of activities together. They gauge their marital satisfaction based on how much fun they are having. Going on fun dates, exciting vacations, and finding new adventures mean they are over all satisfied with their marriage.
We’re Accomplishing Things Together
Accomplishments can signal happiness for some people. They think that if they have children, a nice house, enough money, and all their goals are being reached, their marriage must be a good thing. They credit their success to having a good marriage and think things must be good if they are doing well.
Behavior or Feeling?
It’s important to take a look at whether you determine the health of your marriage based on feelings or behaviors. For some people, they just feel good, feel lovingly toward their spouse and feel their spouse loves them. For these people, they just feel like their marriage is good.
For others, it is based more on behaviors. If their spouse does the chores, buys them presents or gives them attention, they feel like their marriage is good. They also feel like the best way to show their love is to do things for their spouse.
Most people believe in determining the health of their relationship based on a combination of feelings and behaviors. For example, my marriage is good when we are helping each other and when we help each other, we feel more love between us. The good news is, you can behave lovingly even when you don’t feel like it and these behaviors can change how you feel.
Find Out Your Spouse’s Thoughts about Marriage Health
Find out your spouse’s definition of a healthy, satisfying marriage. You may find that it differs slightly from yours. Men and women’s brains work differently. They think and feel things in different ways. So therefore, their definitions of a successful relationship may vary.
Ask your spouse’s opinion on the current state of your marriage. Don’t let your spouse get away with something like “it’s alright.” Find out what that means. Ask what a great marriage looks like.
Set Goals for Yourselves
Once you compare notes on the state of your marriage, discuss what types of things would make your marriage better. These can be small things, like “kissing me goodnight” or “greeting me when I come in the door.” Try to set some goals for yourselves that are realistic and obtainable.
Identify one small thing you can start doing for your spouse regularly that would make your spouse feel like the marriage was better. Offer one thing your spouse can do for you. Keep communicating about the state of your marriage and how healthy or unhealthy you feel it is and make adjustments as necessary.