The Three ‘Magic’ Questions To Save Your Marriage
For years, as a Pastor and counselor, I’ve had to figure out how to save someone’s marriage. Here is a short formula that I use to find out where the problems may truly lie, and knowing them, I can recommend a plan on what needs to be done to fix the broken relationship. You can follow it for yourself right now.
This process is best done with an impartial third party, whose sole interest is your marriage, not taking sides. However, if there is no one to do that, the couple could follow this procedure separately and then trade results. I’m not sure this will work well, but at the very least it will allow you to identify the problems in your marriage.
Knowing where the problems are is the key to knowing what you need to work on. This procedure is not designed to be a reflection of the truth. Oh no, but rather to reveal the problems as you and your spouse see them. The truth and how we see the truth is rarely the same thing. More often than not, we must deal with our perceptions in order to fix the problem. The truth always takes care of itself.
STEP 1 – RATE YOUR MARRIAGE
The purpose of this is to get a general sense of who sees the problem as the greatest. Every problem must be solved from the perspective of the person who sees it as the worst. If you don’t tackle it from that perspective, someone will feel that the problem isn’t being addressed properly. Nothing will be solved. So, take a piece of paper and write your name at the top of it. In one of the corners, draw a box and write a number between 0-10 in it. 0 is hell on earth, and 10 is heaven on earth.
Usually, it will be the wife who rates the marriage worse than her husband. If this is true, then, hubby, you need to realize that in order to solve the problems in the relationship you may have to acknowledge that the problem is greater than you were willing to believe.
STEP 2 – WRITE DOWN THE ANSWERS TO THREE QUESTIONS
These three questions are designed to get you to examine the relationship in its entirety, not just from a platform of anger or frustration. Answer them honestly and objectively. Write the questions down on the piece of paper and leave space for your answers.
Question #1 – If you could change anything about your spouse, what are the two most important things you would change right now?
Question #2 – If you could change anything about yourself, what are the two most important things you would want to change right now?
Question #3 – If your spouse could change anything about you, what are the two most important things you think he/she would want to change right now?
The answers to these questions give you a fairly general idea of where you see the problems in your marriage to be. This is important. If you use a pastor or counselor, giving him the results of these questions will enable him to see both sides of the picture. If you swap results and are able to look at your spouse’s responses objectively, you may begin to see what needs to be done to fix your marriage.
These results tell me several things out the couple in question:
Do they know what is most important to each other? Or are they oblivious to the other’s perception of the issues?
How much weight they give to their own side of the problem versus the problems with their mate.
What issues are most important and to whom.
Are they willing to be introspective as well as critical of their mate?
How well they understand the nature of the problems.
Depending on the responses, I can glean a lot of other information as well. With these three questions, I’m able to at least figure out what areas need to be addressed in a relationship. I also cut out a lot of accusation, yelling, and arguing.
STEP 3 – WRITE DOWN A LIST OF THINGS YOU LIKE ABOUT YOURS SPOUSE
This is essential. It is important to find out if you have the ability to take your eyes off of the issues and problems and realize that there are some good things about the person you married. Draw a line underneath the three questions and write out a list of positive things about your spouse. So many times we become fixated on the problems and all the good that a person is becomes smothered. The ability to recognize the good in the other also demonstrates a wiliness to try and fix the problems.
If someone says, “I can’t think of anything good.” Then we have a real problem. This person is trying to get out of the marriage or is so hurt that they want to run. Either way, it’s not a good sign. Also, many couples after dealing with problems in their marriage have no idea what things they are doing that the other person likes. It is important to know these things! Follow these three simple steps and you’ll have a basic idea of what you need to do to fix your marriage.