After interacting with countless couples, I've created this short "quiz" to help you determine if your daily habits are helping or hurting your marriage. Even if your answers are negative, you can start right away to start improving the health and happiness in your relationship.
Consider your honest, self-evaluation in the following scenarios:
1. In phone conversations with your spouse, is the tone of your voice animated (helping) or bland/negative (hurting).
The tone of your voice is just as important (if not more) than the words you say. It's easy to fall into a cycle of giving our best energies to other conversations all day and then slipping into a monotone autopilot when our husband or wife calls, but give your best energy to your spouse. I will make a big difference.
2. Are your words to your spouse consistently encouraging (helping) or demanding/critical (hurting).
Be your spouse's biggest encourager, not their biggest critic. If you say "you always" or you never" to your spouse, it should be followed by a compliment: "You always know how to make my day." or "You never cease to amaze me." You should NOT say, "You always mess things up." or "You never follow through."
3. Do you pursue intimacy with your spouse (helping) or do you escape into fantasy through porn or romance novels (hurting).
Don't be just physically monogamous; be mentally monogamous!
4. Do you consistently seek your spouse's forgiveness (helping) or do you consistently avoid admitting fault (hurting)?
Grace needs to flow freely in a healthy marriage. Whoever said, "Being in love means never having to say you're sorry" is probably divorced! If you've messed up, be quick to admit, seek forgiveness and work to rebuild trust. If your spouse has blown it, extend grace and resist the temptation to punish or belittle them.
5. When you're with your spouse, do you spend more time looking at a screen (hurting) or looking at your spouse (helping)?
In our digital era, it's easy to stay glued to our smart phones and tablets, but talking with your spouse is always better than texting with someone else! Be willing to turn off your devices so you can turn on your spouse.
This article was originally published on Patheos. It has been republished here with permission.