How is our marriage really doing?

Have you taken pride in managing your money well, then later found out a check bounced? Have you balanced the checkbook and then discovered you were spending more on eating out than you realized?

Have you believed you were eating well, then were surprised the scales registered 10 pounds more than expected? Have you written down everything you ate and saw you were taking in many more calories than you were actually burning?

Many couples enter counseling with a lot of uncertainty.  One is usually dragged in by the other. One says, “We need help.” The other says, “We’re doing fine. . . We can work this out on our own. . .We’re not as bad off as you think.” It makes sense that couples who detect problems in their relationship, on average, wait an additional six years before they get help.

TigerPhotoIt’s very common for one spouse to minimize and the other maximize. I call it the “Turtle/Tiger” syndrome. Turtles typically hide in their shells and avoid conflict or accuse their partners of blowing things out of proportion. Tigers, on the other hand, roar and persist until they are heard. Many times they DO see things worse than they are. Turtles tend to see things “not as bad” as they really are.  TurtlePhoto

The Partnership Pattern chart is a great way to balance the check book of your relationship. No need to write down what you eat here. All you have to do is observe, experience, and check off measurable items that are going on now in your relationship.

Ideally, it’s great for both Tigers AND Turtles to participate. But if the Turtle in your life is still hiding, you Tigers will have a great outlet for grounding in reality. The idea is to check off what you experienced most in the relationship that day. Do it every day for one month and get a clear picture of what you need, whether it’s an enrichment weekend or crisis intervention. Know where your relationship stands.  Sign up for your free Partnership Pattern chart.

In upcoming blogs, I’ll give you ideas for developing healthy relationship patterns.