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Weekly Marriage Blog

Year End Marriage Evaluation

By Dr. David Clarke, Ph.D
The Big Idea

To make sure your marriage is on track, do a year end evaluation of your relationship.  

The Teaching

Most companies do a once a year job evaluation of each employee.  Strengths, weaknesses, concerns, and areas that need improvement are covered.  These evaluations are often dreaded, but provide vital information to the employee concerning his/her job performance.  How will you know the areas you need to improve unless you are told? 

In the same way, every marriage needs a once a year evaluation.  In my over thirty years of working with couples, I have found that it is the unspoken things that kill a marriage.  When a husband and a wife do not talk honestly about their relationship, nothing can change.  They will continue to make the same mistakes and pull farther apart. 

So, I strongly urge you to sit down this week and have a state of your marriage meeting.  This is a private meeting, so make sure the kids are not present.  Start the meeting with prayer, asking God to give you both the courage to talk openly and honestly about your marriage.  This is not a time to attack your spouse.  It is a time to speak truth and improve your marriage. 

I recommend the husband go first because he is the leader in the relationship.  Begin with the positives:  what is going right, what you appreciate about your wife, what you are most thankful for in the marriage.  Then, gently but honestly share any concerns you have about your marriage:  weaknesses, areas you want to improve, areas you would like your wife to improve, needs of yours that haven't been met, suggestions for how your spouse can meet these needs. 

As the husband is sharing, the wife needs to listen and reflect what he is saying.  She does not interrupt and share anything original.  She does not challenge what he says, she does not disagree with him, she does not make any defense of herself.  

Once the husband is done, the wife can carefully respond to his evaluation.  While respecting his opinions and feelings, she offers her point of view:  what she agrees with, what she disagrees with, explanations for her behavior. . .   As she talks, the husband listens and reflects what she says. 

The next step is the wife giving her evaluation of the marriage, covering the same areas as the husband above. As she shares, the husband listens and reflects.  When she is done, he can give his response.  

If real areas of concern are brought up, more conversations will be needed to clarify these areas and come up with clear and specific plans of action.  

Most couples never have these evaluations.  And, they suffer and their relationship suffers.  

This is my last blog of 2018.  Merry Christmas to all.  I will be back with a new year of blogs starting January 7, 2019. Try to hang on until then.

Below are links to some special Focus on the Family shows that will air December 24 and 25, 2018.  These shows include Christmas memories from guests on the Focus radio show.  They graciously included me in this lineup. 

Day 1 (December 24)

Day 2 (December 25)

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