Rate Your Marriage

by Diana Bartling, MA, LCPC

When couples come into my office for marriage counseling my first job is to determine why they are really there. Many times one spouse has dragged the other one in kicking and screaming; they really don’t want to be there, but have conceded because they want their marriage to work. Others come into counseling saying that they want to work on their marriage, but in reality they just want me to help them convince their spouse that they are right about whatever disagreement they are having. Sometimes couples come in stating very clearly that they are only there because they want to be able to say they tried everything to save their marriage so that they don’t feel guilty when they divorce.

No matter what their initial reason for entering counseling, I ask a series of questions that help all of us determine where the marriage is and if the marriage can be saved. It would help if all couples asked themselves these questions from time to time. I have found that if both people are willing to work there is no marriage that is beyond help, but it takes dedication and hard work.

If you are having difficulty in your marriage (or even if you are not!), sit down with your spouse and talk about these four questions:

  1. On a scale of 1-10, with 1 being :the worst marriage you have ever seen” and 10 being “marital bliss,” how would you rate your current relationship
  2. On the same scale, where would you like your marriage to be?
  3. What would need to change in your relationship to move it from where it is to where you would like it to be?
  4. On another 1-10 scale, with 1 being “I am ready to get out” and 10 being “I’ll do whatever it takes,” how willing are you to invest what it takes to change your marriage?

We often buy into the fairy tale of “they got married and lived happily ever after.” Don’t fall for it! They call it a fairy tale for a reason. Marriage is work and an investment. We only get out of it what we are willing to invest into it!