Love Quiz: Is your Relationship a Duet or a Duel?
The Family Therapist is In
June, 2007 - Issue #32
This article is a bit different than most as it's a fill in the blank opportunity for you to do a service check on the relationship you have with your spouse or partner. I encourage you to set up some special alone time with your significant other; fill in your answers, then share your answers with each other. Be open. Be honest. Be humble. It's not about right and wrong but about opening up communication in order to develop a deeper, more meaningful connection to the person you're spending the rest of your life with.

Parents are couples first. Building a relationship with your spouse is one of the key components to later building relationships with your children. Let's get started!

"LOVE that lasts a lifetime is generated by our BELIEF that it will last a lifetime."
  1. Would you say that most marital problems are caused by sexual difficulties, boredom, children or finances?

  2. The Five Love Languages are Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service and Physical Touch. Which two of the above most describes love and care to you?

  3. What is the most powerful sentence in your relationship?

  4. Your spouse is your life partner, not your sparring partner. Do you treat them as your best friend? Do you edify them? Here are some words that develop respect: appreciate, accept, adapt, adore. For each, list the last time you displayed these characteristics to your spouse.

  5. Write one sentence for each of the following questions that defines your core values.
    • What do you believe in?
    • What really matters to you?
    • What helps govern how you live your life?
    • What values do you want to pass on to your children?
    • Develop together your top five core values in order of priority.

  6. Building a relationship with your child is one of the essential responsibilities of being a parent. Limits and standards are passed on through relationships. As the saying goes, "Rules without relationships breed rebellion." What do your children see when they look at Mom at Dad?

  7. Dads and moms have equal value and dignity but different functions and roles in the family. Are your roles clear to each other? To your children? If the roles aren't clear, list two reasons why you believe the roles aren't clear.

  8. There are three types of parenting styles: giving orders, giving choices and giving in. What did you experience as a child? What do you want your children to experience?

  9. List five core values for parenting in order of priority. If you didn't agree with your partner, discuss your top concern.

  10. Unconditional acceptance is expressed to your children through verbal affirmation and the ability to forgive. A forgiven child can fail without feeling rejected by their parents. Dr. Richard Carlson said, "The people we love unconditionally the least are the people we love the most. We can overlook things from strangers that we won't overlook with our spouses or our children." What things do you want your child to know? List three verbal affirmations. Do you and your spouse agree on your affirmations?

  11. Complete the following sentences:
    • Communication requires _____________________________.
    • Involvement takes _____________________________.
    • Involvement demands _____________________________.
    • Involvement means understanding and addressing _____________________________.
    • Involvement means you keep your _____________________________.

  12. Relationships require resolving conflict. Conflict is normal and is resolved as you pursue your relationship with your child. If you can't resolve conflict with your spouse, what message are you sending your child? List three ways you and your spouse resolve conflict.

  13. Resolving conflict demands communication, not isolation; forgiveness (giving and receiving); consequences (negotiation); and reconciliation. Practice how you say things. Three important things to watch are tone of voice; body language; and the words you choose. Are you a good listener? Does your spouse agree with this assessment?

  14. Are your relationships building memories? The romance of a relationship with your spouse should be rich and full. Define below how you create memories.
    • Memories refresh and renew _____________________________.
    • Memories are made of _____________________________ experiences.
    • Memories are made of stuff that is _____________________________ to anyone else.
    • Memories are made to be _____________________________ over and over again.
    • List a memory with your spouse that you treasure.
    • List a memory with your children that you treasure.

If you're comfortable sharing your results, Kim would love to hear from you. E-mail her at
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