Articles claiming to reveal the secrets of great, exciting, or rewarding relationships are merely ploys used to draw readers into the thoughts, research, or conclusions of the authors. Marriage relationships have been studied using qualitative (interviews) and quantitative data (inventories) for decades. The truth about relationships is that each one is unique. Research can uncover tendencies and traits found in couples in similar seasons of life, faith, cultural backgrounds or age groups. However, couple satisfaction is unique to each couple.
I have found that couples who ask each other two simple questions: 1) What do you want to be different about the way: we communicate, resolve conflict, spend or save money or raise our children, etc… 2) How can I make it better for you by: making eye contact when I am talking to you, listening to what I am saying without interrupting, agreeing not to spend more than $50 without communicating with me, or agreeing on the forms of discipline with our children. Each of these suggestions needs to meet the norms of being reasonable, repeatable, and measurable.
Couples who ask these questions have learned that on one person has the best ideas or ways of doing things. Healthy relationships are made up of two people who are willing to learn from each other by making measurable, reasonable and repeatable suggestions that allows each person to experience greater satisfaction by bringing positive changes into their relationships. Relationships that can’t or won’t change have lower couple satisfaction than couples that are open to change.