I was posed with a question from my husband and it was my turn to answer. I could have just as easily been the one to ask him, but that isn't how it played out this time. He asked first...
"How would you rate our marriage?"
My husband and I have a practice that we have implemented in our relationship from the very beginning. It has helped us to keep a pulse on how things really are.
The guidelines are that either one is allowed to ask the question at any time. The one who was asked must respond first and then is permitted to ask the spouse the same question.
"How do you rate our marriage?"
The numbers we use are on a scale of 1 to 10 with 1 being fighting for survival and 10 being absolutely heavenly. I have learned to keep the following guidelines in mind. Without them, this practice would be not be a successful, beneficial, or helpful experience.
Guidelines when Rating:
1. Be Honest: Do not answer how you think the other person wants or expects you to answer. Be honest. It is only in the honesty (hard to swallow at times... I know from experience) that the low rating has a hope of rising to a better rating.
2. Accept Spouses Appraisal: Whatever their response, do not argue, become defensive, or rationalize why they have responded the way they have. Accept it for what it is.
3. Be Willing to Talk: Ask how or what you could do better, or differently, or stop doing to increase the rating. Again, refrain from arguing, defending, or rationalizing why you may or may not have been responding in the way that they are suggesting.
4. Be Willing to Work: Whatever was communicated in #3, if it is something you can affect or change... work on it!
5. Smile and Be Cheerful: As you are working on improving any areas that came up, do not become angry or bitter. If you do, your next "rating" session may reveal that a positive and happy attitude would be something you could work on to improve the rating.
Sometimes when we have asked this question of each other, we discover that the biggest thing to work on at the time is that life is in a busy season making it difficult for us to connect... to have time for us!
The best times are, of course, when the question is asked and a very positive rating is received. The response is to "just keep doing what you are doing." A response like that makes for a very good day.
What communication methods have you found useful to implement in your marriage? Your friendships? Any relationship with other people?