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A “Couple Check-up” Can Keep Marriages Tuned to Last a Lifetime by Jeff Ernst, M.A., Pastoral Counselor

May 22, 2013

       As a marriage counselor, working with couples at various stages of their journey (dating, engaged, married), I recommend taking an on-line assessment tool, called the “Couple Checkup” and available from Life Innovations/Prepare-Enrich (www.couplecheckup.com).  The inventory is designed to help identify your unique relationship strengths and growth areas.  Cost is only $29.95 per couple!

         We get our oil changed every 3,000 to 4,000 miles…We get our teeth cleaned at least once a year…We even get scheduled physical exams, to assess how healthy we are.  Why not also invest in the growth & health of our relationship!  Pre-marital & marital enrichment is about couples being pro-active, investing time, energy, and commitment as they take their relationship “pulse” and follow a prescribed action-plan.  The Couple Checkup helps identify what a relationship needs to remain vibrant!

Based on the results of a tailored assessment, couples who take the on-line inventory immediately receive a 20-page Couple Checkup Report on their relationship, as well as an extensive discussion guide, to help interpret the results, by using a three-prong strategy:

Discover strengths and issues, plus insight into each other’s perceptions of the relationship…

Share by discussing the results of the checkup in a safe/open environment; focusing on the topics that generate productive conversation…

Grow through practical “couple exercises” which help introduce new skills in communication, assertiveness/listening, working through conflict, and renewed awareness & appreciation for partner uniqueness.

Twenty important relationship topics are explored in the Couple Checkup, based upon a national survey conducted by Life Innovations, collecting responses from over 50,000 married couples.  After analyzing the survey results, they were able to identify the top 5 predictors of happy marriages, along with common issues which seem to challenge couples:

Communication

  • In 76% of marriages, one or both spouses said, “I wish my partner were more willing to share his/her feelings.”
  • 69% of couples report, “I sometimes have difficulty asking my partner for what I want.”

Finances

  • 72% of the time, one or both spouses said, “I wish my partner was more careful about spending money.”
  • A full 71% of couples report, “We have trouble saving money.”

Sex

  • 68% of those surveyed said, “I am dissatisfied with the amount of affection I receive from my partner.”
  • 66% of married couples express concern about “differing levels of sexual interest.”

Parenting

  • 82% of married couples report, “Having children has reduced our marital satisfaction.”
  • This may be caused in part by the fact that 64% of couples say, “My partner focuses more on the children than on our marriage.”

Personality Issues

  • 87% of couples indicate, “My partner is sometimes too stubborn.”
  • 83% of the time, one or both report, “My partner is too negative or critical.”

Conflict

  • In 78% of marriages, one or both partners, “go out of their way to avoid conflict.”
  • 77% of couples say, “We have different ideas about the best way to solve our disagreements.”

The Good News: All couples face issues & challenges they need to overcome, and help is available!   Just like the trained/certified mechanic you trust your car to for repairs and maintenance, professional counseling is available at Pike Creek Psychological Center, to help couples discuss their issues and challenges, and work through them, using assessment tools like the Couple Checkup, to experience healing and growth.

I encourage couples to take the Couple Checkup, download the report & discussion guide, and invest in keeping their marriage running smooth.  And, if necessary, be willing to take the next step by meeting with a trained therapist, who can help interpret your results and facilitate the healing process!

With divorce rates hovering around 50% for first marriages (higher for re-marriage), it makes sense that “preventative maintenance” and regular “checkups” can help keep your relationship fresh, in-tune, and “revved up” for the road ahead.

 

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