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Thursday, August 30, 2012
Last week I had my annual health screening, as required for my company insurance plan. It got me thinking about the vital signs we watch for our physical health and wondering about what the vital signs might be for marriage.
Here are two from my list.
Communication is the lifeblood of your marriage. Good communication keeps the (blood) pressure in your marriage low. Poor communication, like high blood pressure, taxes your heart.
The truth is that you can’t NOT communicate with your spouse. You are both sending messages all the time, either through what you say, what you don’t say and how you choose to say it. The real question is whether the messages you are sending are helping or hurting your marriage.
Here are some key indicators:
- Is there a safe atmosphere of transparency? Can you share your feelings without fear of judgment or retribution?
- Are you both good listeners who value each other’s input?
- Are you careful with your tone and body language?
- Is respect and honor the top rule for communication?
- Do you ever use guilt and shame to get your way in a discussion?
- How well do you handle stress and conflict? The question isn’t whether you have struggles and difficulties, but how you resolve them.
- Are there any “off-limit” topics that you don’t feel you can discuss openly?
GGR – Give/Get Ratio
Body Mass Index, or BMI, is a general indicator of the difference between how much we put into our bodies in the form of food, compared to how much effort we give out in the form of exercise (yes there are other factors like genetics involved, but I’m keeping it simple here). The equivalent for marriage I call the Give/Get Ratio, a measure of the degree of selflessness in your relationship.
In a healthy, fit marriage, both husband and wife are focused more on what they give to each other than on what they get from each other. In that way both get plenty of relational nourishment, but don’t get plump and lazy because they are giving out in equal or greater measure.
Give some thought to these GGR measures:
Give some thought to these GGR measures:
- When was the last time you did something for no other reason than to make your spouse happy – not to get her to have sex or to get him to do the dishes?
- Do you work more on changing your spouse or on changing yourself?
- Do you know what your spouse’s key love languages are? What most says, "I love you" to him or her.
- Would you say you are generous toward your spouse? What would your spouse say?
- Do you know what you can do or say that would truly delight your husband or wife? Do you do or say them with some degree of regularity?
- Do you withhold the kind of affection your spouse wants in order to get (or until you get) the kind of affection you want?
In your own marriage, how would you rate the vital signs of communication and selfless giving? Could you stand to get a little healthier with them? What can you do differently this week get in better marital shape?
I’ve got a few more marriage vital signs cued up for the next few posts. In the meantime, what would you say are the most important vital signs of a healthy marriage?
Next in the series: More Marriage Vital Signs
We Have Moved!
Journey to Surrender
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