5 Ways to Gauge Your Marital Health

I’ve attended weddings of marriages I swore would last forever. I’ve attended weddings of marriages I swore wouldn’t outlast the Kardashian-Humphries debacle. If there’s one thing I know for sure, bad marriages can unhappily last forever and seemingly happy marriages can end.

Is marriage a total crapshoot? Research suggests not. Relationship experts recommend gauging the health of your marriage to help identify and resolve marital troubles before they snowball into marital deal breakers. Check out these valuable marital red flags presented by Oprah.com after the jump!


Your marital narrative: Research indicates the way you talk about experiences in your marriage positively or negatively – is 90 percent accurate in predicting the success or failure of your marriage. How you choose to remember your experiences and communicate them matter which supports Psychology Today’s “sentiment override” finding.

Lesson takeaway: Listen to yourself talk for this valuable indicator of your marital health.

A question of compatibility: According to Ted Huston, PhD, a professor in the department of human development and family sciences at the University of Texas at Austin, questioning compatibility with your partner is an indicator of marital unhappiness. Before you freak out, know this: In a study of 168 couples, Huston found those couples who ultimately split weren’t any less compatible than those who stayed together.

Lesson takeaway: Stop questioning your compatibility and focus on the things that bring you mutual joy.

Social dictatorship: Howard Markman, PhD, psychology professor at the University of Denver states, “When the social activities are controlled by one person, that is a risk factor for a relationship.” Uh oh, huge red flag in my marriage. The experts say the social dynamic of how you spend your time together is a balance of power indicator.

Lesson takeaway: Share the social load even if it’s easier said than done.

About face: Behold the indicator of all indicators – the eye roll (DUN DUN DUN!). According to Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, professor of psychiatry and psychology at the Ohio State University College of Medicine, “This kind of sarcastic nonverbal gesture doesn’t clearly state the person’s disagreement—making it difficult for the recipient to respond.” Kiecolt-Glaser also said facial signs of contempt are a strong indicator that your relationship may need outside help to get to the source of your nonverbal contempt.

Lesson takeaway: Stop rolling your damn eyes. And when you figure out how, please let me know.

Fight it out: In a University of Washington study of newlywed couples, couples who fought early on were more likely to be in stable marriages for having argued out their differences. The study also found couples who had avoided early conflict were more likely to be divorced or in troubled marriages.

Lesson takeaway: Say what you need to say, argue, and then kiss and make-up.

For a more in-depth analysis of these marital health indicators, check out Oprah.com.

What do you think about these marital health indicators?

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How to Make Your Relationship Last

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