Dec 102014 4 Responses

Every Good Marriage Looks Back

Next year. It’s full of great hope and potential. Soon one year will give way to the next and new opportunities will be given to try again, to live differently, and to do things right.

As we begin to think about who we would like to be next year, we also have the opportunity to consider who we have been this past year. Without proper reflection, we have little hope of identifying where we are. When we don’t know where we are, we are unable to define how to get where we want to be.

One key to a strong marriage is having the courage, wisdom, and insight to review the state of your marriage. By looking back, you can find strengths to build on, weaknesses to improve, and memories to cherish.

Unless you look back, you will not move forward. (See: Three Conversations Every Couple Should Have)

It seems easier to ignore a marriage review. Job reviews sound more appealing to many people than sitting down with your spouse and looking over the past year. Yet unless an intentional conversation is had regarding one’s marriage, improvement will never be made. The easy thing to do and the right thing to do are rarely the same. Smart couples do the right things more than the easy things.

Every good couple takes time to review their marriage. It may not happen on a monthly or quarterly basis, but there are moments in which the couple discusses their successes and failures, hears from one another, and makes a plan to improve. The end of one year and the beginning of another provides the perfect opportunity to do a marriage review. (See: One Thing Great Couples Do Which Others Don’t)

Yearly Review

What was your favorite moment of this past year with your spouse? Without your spouse?

Was this a good year or a bad year for your marriage?

What is one thing about your marriage you would like to improve this coming year?

If you had to do it over again, what is one thing you would have done differently regarding your marriage this past year?

State of Marriage Review

Answer the following true false questions:

  1. I feel fully supported by my spouse in every aspect of my life. (T/F)
  2. I feel deeply respected by my spouse. (T/F)
  3. My spouse listens to me and takes my feelings seriously. (T/F)
  4. Though not perfect, our sexual intimacy is fulfilling and satisfying. (T/F)
  5. I have (and my spouse has) the freedom to say whatever needs to be said in our relationship. (T/F)
  6. We confront issues when they occur and can stick with the real issue when we disagree. (T/F)
  7. My spouse and I are on the same page financially. (T/F)
  8. I feel as though our relationship is moving forward and is better than it once was. (T/F)
  9. My spouse desires what is best for me and is willing to sacrifice on my behalf. (T/F)
  10. If I could do it all over again, I would still choose to marry my spouse. (T/F)

Every “false” is an issue which needs to be discussed. A “false” does not mean a relationship is in trouble, but it does reveal something which needs to change. If multiple false answers are given, a professional might need to be consulted. Most importantly, if your spouse is unwilling to do an exercise like this even though you request it to be done, something is horribly wrong and immediate help is needed.

If you want your marriage to move forward, you must be willing to look back. By reviewing where you have been, you can make a plan for where you want to go. (See: The Easiest Way to Rejuvenate Your Marriage)

4 Responses to Every Good Marriage Looks Back
  1. Lori Reply

    I think #10 is not a helpful question; in fact, maybe only hurtful. If my husband said he wouldn’t marry me again, I would feel terrible. I don’t know how he would answer that question, but many times recently I’ve thought of telling him I wouldn’t marry him again, but always stop myself because I think it would only hurt him and not be productive. I believe your intent is to help show that the marriage needs work, but the other questions get at the state of the marriage, and are enough to show what needs to be worked on.

    • Kevin A. Thompson Reply

      Lori, I think that is a great point. The other 9 questions are good to discuss with one another where as the 10th question should be more for personal reflection. Thank you for the insight.

  2. Unloved One Reply

    I don’t know where to start anymore. I got 9 out of 10 false. My spouse tells me my feelings are my own responsibility and that her feelings are also my responsibility. It’s been 3 years since she expressed any kind of love or affection for me. She refuses to meet with any counselor once that counselor asks her to change something. I still love her. I can’t seem to stop loving her. I support her in all of her activities. Living with constant ridicule and criticism is hard. Living without love even harder. Splitting up the family would be horrible for the kids. Love, humility and patience should make some impact eventually, but when a spouse refuses to discuss your relationship, refuses to listen to you, refuses to talk about their own feelings, refuses to love, refuses to compromise, where do you start?

    • Kevin A. Thompson Reply

      I’m so sorry for the circumstance you are in. My recommendation would be for you to attend counseling with or without your wife. A good counselor can assist you through this process.

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