Having marriage problems? Are you considering divorce? Well, it's time you put your assumptions about marriage issues to the test!
Take the Relationship IQ Quiz and find out what makes a healthy marriage, or what causes divorce.
Answer "True" or "False" to each of the following questions:
Conflict and anger are signs that your relationship is failing.
You're more likely to divorce if there are differences in your backgrounds, likes and dislikes and interests.
In healthy relationships, major disagreements get resolved over time.
In healthy marriages, spouses have the same definition of what it means to be loving.
People just fall out of love.
Affairs don't have to ruin marriages.
Most people are much happier in their second marriages because they've learned from their mistakes.
It's amazing to me how many people believe that their marriages are dysfunctional when there is conflict. The fact is, the single best predictor of divorce is the constant avoidance of conflict! All marriages, even the best of marriages, have their ups and downs, times when spouses are angry and argumentative. It's impossible to live under the same roof with another human being for any length of time and not disagree now and then.2. You're more likely to divorce if there are differences in your backgrounds, likes and dislikes and interests. (False)
Here's a surprise for you. The answer to this question is false. Research shows that people who stay together and are happily married are no more similar than those who divorce! They come from decidedly different backgrounds, hold different beliefs and have sharply different interests.
But what separates those who have successful relationships from those who don't is this- they learn effective ways to deal with their differences. They have definite methods for handling conflict. Although they don't necessarily have a lot in common, they nurture the interests they do share and try to develop new ones from time to time.
Successful couples understand that their partners are not supposed to be their clones. They believe that life would be incredibly boring if their spouses were mirror images of themselves. Instead, happily married people learn to both appreciate their differences, find ways to grow from them or simply make peace with them
Research tells us that approximately sixty percent of what couples argue about is unresolvable! If you eavesdrop on couples' arguments as newlyweds and then again after they've been married for twenty-five years or more, you might be surprised to find that much of the content is the same. Certain issues will remain sticking points throughout one's entire marriage, even in the best of marriages! However, the way in which people discuss these heated issues does change over time. We tend to mellow a bit, which makes a huge difference in how our partners react to us and vice versa.4. In healthy marriages, spouses have the same definition of what it means to be loving. (False)
No two people define love in exactly the same way. What it takes for you to feel loved is probably fairly different from what it takes for your spouse to feel loved. There is a good reason for this. Your definition of love springs from a number of factors, your upbringing, your culture, your gender and your life experiences in general. Since you and your spouse have had different life experiences, you will undoubtedly view love differently as well. Sometimes very differently, in fact. Although this, in and of itself, is not problematic, it will become a problem if you fail to honor and accommodate your partner's point of view.5. People just fall out of love. (False)
Some people believe that they need to divorce their spouses because they've fallen out of love. They didn't mean for it to happen, it just happened. To them, love is a feeling that is either there or it's not there. If it's there, you get married. If it's not there, you divorce. This is one of the silliest ideas I have ever heard.
The number one cause for the breakdown in marriages in our country is that people don't spend enough time together. They take their marriages and their spouses for granted. Everything- work, the kids, soccer games, community activities, extended family obligations, and so on- becomes more important than spending time together-. The marriage gets placed on the bottom of the priority list. When this happens, people grow apart. They become two strangers passing in the night. They're no longer a team. And, because they're distant, the little time they do spend together, they end up fighting.
This distance and alienation sometimes fools people into thinking they've fallen out of love. They feel numb. They can't imagine ever re-igniting those loving feelings. But the truth is, the love hasn't been destroyed, it's just camouflaged beneath the numbness. And, by retracing the steps taken to weaken love's bond, the feelings of warmth, connection, friendship and intimacy can be restored.6. Affairs don't have to ruin marriages. (True)
There is little that is more devastating than to discover your spouse has been unfaithful. Most people take to heart the promise they make to forsake all others. An intimate relationship is one of the primary things that set marriages apart from all other kinds of relationships. The connection, closeness and satisfaction you feel with your mate is very personal, something that is meant just for the two of you.
This is why infidelity feels like such a violation.
Yet affairs happen, with some regularity, I might add. And when they do, the repair of the marriage is no easy task. Sometimes those who have been hurt swear they will never recover. They're convinced that they will not be able to forgive and move forward in the marriage.
And although I completely understand why people feel this way, I also know that the future isn't as bleak as they are anticipating. Most people survive infidelity and can, in fact make their marriage stronger once they work through the issues infidelity has brought into their lives.7. Most people are much happier in their second marriages because they've learned from their mistakes. (False)
Is love more beautiful the second time around? Although it's true that some people learn from their mistakes in their first marriages and are able to develop happier second marriages, by no means, is this the rule. In fact, sixty percent of second marriages end in divorce!
One of the reasons there are more divorces in second marriages is that people enter their second marriages with the bad relationship habits they learned the first time around. They simply find new partners with whom they can do that old familiar dance. Step-parenting issues make second and subsequent marriages challenging. But there is another reason second marriages aren't necessarily better than first ones.
Unless you understand that marriage doesn't make people happy, you will spend the rest of your life trading in marital partners for new ones. It is unfortunate that too few people recognize and internalize that no one can make you happy. Happiness is a do-it-yourself job. You can't rely on another person to fulfill you. You need to love what you do in your life, regardless of what your spouse brings to the marriage. Love needs to be icing on the cake, not the cake.
If you are of the belief that marriage should make you happy, then you will undoubtedly start to think something major is lacking in your spouse and that you should get out of your marriage.
The problem is, unless you feel satisfied with your own life, you will not be able to decipher whether your unhappiness stems from personal or relationship issues. If you jump to conclusions and assume you need to dump your partner and try another, you are likely to be sorely disappointed because you will find yourself in the same state of unhappiness. Your next marriage won't cure the unhappiness problem either.