Sometimes all is not as it initially seems. It's often that way with marriage. Here are a few expert questions to give indication about the health of a marriage.
True or False
1. The ability to talk to your spouse is the key element in effective communication.
2. Sometimes spouses can forgive too easily, to the detriment of the offended spouse and the marriage.
3. Good parenting makes for better marriages.
4. Frequent church attendance by a couple has no direct bearing on the health of their marriage.
5. Couples should strive to have a better marriage than those around them so as to be an example others can emulate.
6. Spouses that intentionally spend time apart tend to have better marriages.
7. The primary factor in choosing your spouse is finding someone who is your soul-mate.
8. The frequency of physical intimacy has no real effect on marital intimacy.
9. Fighting with your spouse is an indication that your marriage is suffering.
10. Couples that limit their financial goals to a moderate lifestyle have healthier marriages than those aspiring to great wealth.
1. False... the ability to listen, really listen, is much more important and perhaps the key to effective and healthy communication.
2. True... even though all Christians are commanded to forgive, many times the forgiveness is given without appropriate and heathy boundaries for effective personal and relational healing to take place.
3. False... just the opposite is true. Good marriages help the spouses be more effective parents.
4. True... while church attendance is a good thing, it in itself has no direct effect on the marriage. Only as a couple uses their church experience to grow personally, will their participation cause marital growth.
5. False... couples that try to have a "better" marriage must compare themselves to others and comparison to others is a dead-end street. Couples that compare their marriage to others' marriages end up striving for a standard that is not rooted in reality.
6. True... the key to the above statement is the word "intentionally". Husbands and wives must continue to grow as individuals in order to be growing as spouses.
7. False... the cultural emphasis on finding the one who "completes" you is a myth. Love is a many-factored decision, but it is far more dependent on being a loving person rather than finding the one who makes you happy.
8. True... even though men tend to view sex as intimacy, true intimacy is not produced by having more sex. True intimacy is produced by loving, other-centered interaction, with sex being a natural result of intimacy.
9. False... just the opposite is true. Couples certainly must fight fairly, but conflict can bring a deeper understanding and ensure that future conflicts are not destructive to the marriage.
10. True... embracing a moderate lifestyle helps keep the focus where it should be: on the marriage and the family. Upwardly mobile couples can certainly have good marriages, but many times priorities can be misdirected and the marriage therefore suffers.
Jim Keller turns conventional marriage advice upside down in his book, The Upside Down Marriage. He is a nationally known speaker who addresses topics of marriage, parenting and remarriage. He is the founder of Charis Counseling Center and a charter member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. Jim and his wife Renee have been married for 35 years and have two grown children and four grandchildren.