In my couples therapy work, I’ve noticed there are certain aspects that determine the strength of a couple’s relationship foundation – that is, the relationship’s ability to stand strong in the face of the things that life throws out, be it normal daily frustrations or extremely stressful external events.
Below is a simple, non-scientific assessment for couples that can be used quickly to get a rough idea of the strength of your relationship, providing a framework in which to conceptualize your relationship in a new way. It is divided into three sections and ideally is done by both you and your partner. This checklist will help to identify areas that might benefit from further exploration. You can discuss your results together afterward.
You and your partner take turns reading this and jot down your responses on a piece of paper. Read each sentence and either put a checkmark by it if you agree – or put nothing if you don’t. Go with your initial gut reaction – and remember, there are no “right” or “wrong” answers.
______ We communicate well.
______ We resolve conflict well.
______ We have discussed and are satisfied with our relationship roles.
______ We have discussed and are satisfied with our sexual expectations.
______ We have discussed and are satisfied with our spiritual beliefs.
______ We have discussed and are satisfied with our financial management.
______ We have discussed and are satisfied with our personal, couple and family goals.
______ We value each others needs for some independence within the relationship.
______ We spend adequate time together, nurturing our relationship.
Relationship Emotional Safety
______ We feel heard by each other.
______ We feel understood by each other.
______ We feel validated by each other.
______ We feel empathy from each other.
______ We feel respected by each other.
______ We feel loved by each other.
You might find that this assessment was triggering for you in some way. If you’re stuck and would like to dig deeper, consider finding a couples therapist in your area to help you navigate through.