Friday, January 22, 2010

A Blueprint To Assess the Viability of Your Relationship

Last night’s teleconference on deciding whether to go or to stay in a relationship was an animated conversation indeed. In it, I was asked to create a kind of checklist for assessing the health and viability of relationships. Although I hesitate to reduce this major life dilemma down to a checklist, I acknowledge that people have different learning styles. So I agreed to take up the challenge of attempting to delineate some questions to ask yourself as you struggle to resolve this life-changing question. I don't have to tell people who wrestle with this question that either way they decide, their life will be forever changed.

At the risk of stating the obvious, no relationship is all good or all bad. Rather, successful relationships contain relative strengths and weaknesses. So as you answer these questions about your current relationship or do a postmortem on a prior one, keep in mind that most relationship attributes are neither all or nothing.

Please fill in the blank with numbers ranging from 1 to 5, with 1 being not very much and 5 being nearly always.

_____ 1. Is there reciprocity, give and take, in the relationship?
_____ 2. Do you work together to solve problems?
_____ 3. Do you enjoy being with each other?
_____ 4. Do you laugh and have fun together?
_____ 5. Do you each seek to understand your partner’s feelings?
_____ 6. Do you feel understood?
_____ 7.Do you respect each other’s opinions and perspectives, even when you disagree?
_____ 8. Do you want similar things out of life?
_____ 9. Are you both willing to compromise, rather than insisting on having your own way?
_____ 10.Do you feel safe expressing your feelings and needs?
_____ 11.Do you respect each other?
_____ 13.Do you look out for each other?
_____ 14.Do you trust each other?
_____ 15.Do you feel like your partner has your back?
_____ 16.Do you like your partner?
_____ 17.Is there a minimum of blame in your relationship?
_____ 18.Are your feelings and needs respected?
_____ 19.Do you and your partner operate as a functional united front, especially regarding children?
_____ 20. Do you feel treasured by your partner as you treasure him/her?

When you have completed this self-test, study your responses. Were you surprised by any of your answers? If your spouse or partner had completed this self-assessment tool, in what ways might his/her answers be similar? different? What can you infer from this self-assessment tool about the strengths in your relationship? the work areas in your relationship?

If you wish to have my help in working with the results of this survey, please remember that I offer a complimentary consultation. Just call my toll free number (888-546-1580) to arrange it. And please keep in mind that I also offer relationship coaching and consultation.


ya-ya forever said...

Dear Dr. Beth,

Our conversation about 'relationship viability' was so meaningful and so valuable.

The questions allow to objectively review my behavior and intentions, as well as the experience I have in partnership.

The more I look at the questions, the more I realize that there is a blend of real chemistry, real trust, and real respect that makes a relationship successful.

This is a great guide to my own awareness and assists with my choices.

I also appreciated your advice to cultivate our intuition in determining if what we hear and see is either truthful or a proper fit.

As always, I am impressed by your ability to find and clarify situations without judgement. Your work provides such value, and I am grateful that you share your talent!

With happiness and respect!

relationshipfan said...

Dr. Beth,

Thank you so much for your unbelievable follow-up, and for undertaking the formidable task of trying to help those of us that want to make a "squishy" subject objective in some way.

Like ya-ya forever, I am impressed as well by your non-judgmental approach. I am even more impressed by your discernment, and your ability to have each of us look at our own contribution to difficulties in relationships, while at the same time holding our hands and providing such support.

I believe in most situations people would go on the defensive when asked to look at their own problems that are contributing to relationship dysfunction. I'm not sure how you do it - but please keep it up! Talking with you and listening to your thoughts has given me a "safe" place to explore those hidden areas I need to work on.

Yes - your checklist has helped me clarify my situation considerably, but why not use even a negative conclusion to be a launchpad to learn as much as possible about myself so I can enter into my next relationship as healthy, whole, and open as possible?

It would be my guess that you will save many marriages, and help many understand potential problems before they enter into a marriage that is not meant to be.