of Your Marriage
If you buy into the idea that a marriage should be a living, breathing
relationship – how do you know if that relationship is healthy?
Studio 5 Relationship Coach Matt Townsend shares five “must answer”
questions to gauge the health of your marriage.
1. Currently do you see your partner’s contribution to the marriage as
more positive, negative or neutral?
If you answered this question as negative then watch out! One of the biggest
killers of a marriage is the cancer of negative interpretation. Negative
interpretation is not just that your partner is a pessimist or is negative but
instead means that you may have a dangerous habit of twisting anything your
partner does and turning it negative. Negative interpreters only collect the
negative data about their partners and tend to overlook all of the good
points. If you or your partners are negative interpreters then you usually
begin to feel like you can’t do anything right and eventually you truly can’t do
2. Can you and your partner effectively communicate and solve real-
life problems in your marriage?
The number one complaint of couples who are entering into marriage
counseling is the fact that they can’t communicate about their problems.
Nothing can more negatively impact a relationship that than the inability to
talk through your most difficult issues and concerns. Usually these couples
end up taking even the simplest issues and either fighting with each other or
flighting and never addressing the topics. It is important to recognize that
having problems in your marriage is not the sign of poor health but rather,
the inability to talk through the problems is the sign of poor health.
3. Do you connect with your partner in meaningful ways every day?
Research shows that couples that have consistent rituals and traditions of
connection are more likely to stand the test of time. Connecting rituals can
be things as simple as having specific ways of saying hello and goodbye with
a hug or a kiss or the fact that you go to bed together and cuddle every
night. Some couples have ritualized their marital intimacy to make sure that
they are connecting sexually regularly. Others have rituals of exercising,
talking or going on date nights to ensure that they keep the fire alive. In the
end, the specific ritual you perform isn’t half as important as the fact that you
are doing something that makes you both feel connected and closer
4. Overall, is your relationship better off today than it was a month
Nothing creates more hope in a relationship than the ability to see that your
marriage is growing and getting stronger together. Far too many people
don’t see their marriage as something that needs to be worked on and so
they quit working on it all together. In the end, the best marriages are those
marriages where both parties are trying to improve their skills and abilities to
be a better partner. These couples find hope not in the fact that they are
married to the perfect person but instead their hopes come from a partner
who is trying to learn how to become a better partner. In most cases, I’ve
seen more marriages saved by focusing on learning that by hoping for better
5. What is the most important thing you can do today to love your
partner their way?
If the first four questions showed you that you have a lot more to do in your
relationship then let the last question be your guide for where you can begin.
The last question is what I call the conscience question and is the key to real
learning and change. I am convinced that each of us has a conscience that
can help us to make healthier and more positive changes in our
relationships; the problem is that we have to access it. Simply ask yourself
the conscience question and let your heart dictate the course of action you
should take. By following what your heart says you’ll have a clear and fairly
accurate plan for what you need to do right now to have a lasting and
positive impact on your marriage.
For more relationship advice, attend:
Date Night with Matt Townsend
“The Art of Positive Relating”
Friday, October 28
7:00 pm to 9:00 pm
$35 per couple
Location: Noah’s in South Jordan