5 Questions to Quickly Assess the Health of the Marriage

By June 14, 2011Church, Family, Marriage

I don’t do marriage counseling very often these days. I have a master’s in counseling and spent a few years almost exclusively doing counseling, but the size of the church and my role leading and developing the staff takes more of my time now. As a pastor, knowing that my opportunity is limited in offering on-going counseling, I have learned that it is important to assess the health of the marriage early in the counseling process if I have any hopes of making progress.

Here is one method I found helpful. I ask each spouse to answer this short questionnaire separately:

  • On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the best, what is the health of your marriage right now?
  • On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the best, how well do you communicate as a couple?
  • How long ago…in weeks…months…years…did you sense there may be problems in your marriage?
  • What is the # 1 problem in your marriage right now, in your opinion?
  • What do you like best about your spouse?

These questions are difficult and hard-hitting questions, but their answers are invaluable to assessing the state of the marriage. From these questions I can make some quick observations. I have often seen couples answer these and realize they aren’t as far apart as they thought and a healthy discussion began. Other times I saw the marriage was clearly in need of extensive help. I could show it to the couple on paper from their own assessment and it made them more willing to accept a referral for professional counseling. At the least, I could see how far apart the couple was in understanding their current situation and gave me a starting point for discussion.

Pastors, what tips do you have when starting a discussion with a couple expressing problems in their marriage?

For more marriage posts, click HERE.

For those brave enough, feel free to try this exercise at home.

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Ron Edmondson

Author Ron Edmondson

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Join the discussion 4 Comments

  • […] is a frightening one. But failing to take stock is the biggest threat. You and your spouse should answer these 7 questions (include the two questions about your relationship with Christ that a commenter added). If […]

  • […] Evaluate often – Couples should ask  themselves often, are we growing together as a couple or further apart? Is the marriage growing stronger or are there holes that need addressing? Don’t assume your spouse feels as you do. (I’ve learned this is especially true for men who often don’t know there is a problem until it’s a big problem.) Establish the understanding early in the relationship that you have the right to periodically check on the state of your marriage. (Read a post about questions to assess the health of a marriage HERE.) […]

  • Edward says:

    Good list! I also ask, "Where are you in your relationship with Christ right now? " and Would a stronger relationship with Christ change the quality of your marriage and/or how you or they are in it?

    • ronedmondson says:

      That's a great question. Many of the people I meet with aren't yet strong in their faith, so I typically build a relationship where they will hear me first. I always lead people there of course. Thank you.
      Twitter: Ronedmondson

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