A Marriage Health Checkup Plan

By Greg Smalley
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a couple checking their marriage health
Luke Flowers
To determine marriage health, couples need to monitor their relational fitness to catch problems they might miss. Here are some questions to help you.

 

We’ve all seen athletes check their pulses. Joggers sometimes wear heart-rate monitors around their chests. Cyclers might put two fingers to their necks. If you’re like me, you might not see the need for all this pulse checking. I figure if my heart’s still beating at all after a little exercise, I’m doing pretty good!

But these athletes are onto something important. Monitoring their pulse not only helps them increase their fitness level, but it can also identify serious problems.

Every couple needs to do regular “pulse checks” to check their marriage health, as well. Couples need to monitor their relational fitness to catch problems they might otherwise miss.

That’s especially true with the hectic lives we lead. Sometimes, our hectic lives are the cause of our problems. We forget to be intentional in our relationships.

Author Nell Frizzell explains the devastating impact small things can have on relationships. Frizzell points out that couples don’t usually break up over the big stuff, but it’s “the small, daily incivilities — the apologies unspoken, the kisses that go unkissed, the meals that pass in silence, the money that is wasted — [that] lay the groundwork for the big things to erupt.”

Clearly, a relational pulse check is critical for good marriage health. But instead of using a heart-rate monitor, you can check your marriage by asking your spouse some simple questions. For instance: What’s working well in our marriage?

What’s one thing I did this last week that made you feel loved?

What should I be doing? On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate our marriage over the past week? Why?

These are my favorite questions, but feel free to come up with your own. Just set aside 20 minutes every week to ask them and listen to the answers.

How you react to the answers your spouse gives is as important as the questions themselves. Listen carefully to what he or she has to say. Don’t try to defend yourself. And if your spouse is critical, take time with the Lord to ask for guidance on how to love your spouse better.

 

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© 2019 Focus on the Family. All rights reserved. This article first appeared in the 2019 October/November issue of Focus on the Family magazine and was originally titled “Check the Pulse of Your Marriage.”

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About the Author

Greg Smalley

Dr. Greg Smalley serves as the Vice President of Marriage at Focus on the Family. In this role, he develops and oversees initiatives that prepare individuals for marriage, strengthen and nurture existing marriages and help couples in marital crises. Prior to joining Focus, Smalley worked for the Center for Relationship Enrichment at John Brown University and as President of the …

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