Do You Really Know Your Partner?
Take This Marriage Counseling Test
Karen Gless, Ph.D.
Do you really know what your partner likes? Research shows that happy, successful couples know a lot about each other. This article will give you and your partner a chance to learn more about each other, using a quiz about areas I cover in marriage counseling. Names and circumstances have been changed to conceal patient’s identities.
“Do you think I should marry my boyfriend Jack? Ruth asked, saying, “I feel bad telling you this but sometimes I'm not sure we have the same goals for our future.” Ruth was a busy, active, ambitious young woman I had known for years. And Jack was a very laid back young man. Ruth was beginning to feel concerned that he was less ambitious than she was.
I gave them this test as part of a marriage counseling check-up. We found they had a great deal in common and Ruth assured me that they really loved each other. She realized that he was a practical kind of guy who liked working with his hands--and that was one of the things that attracted her to him. While she preferred planning and using her imagination in her work. Sometimes she saw his practicality as a lack of ambition because he wanted to have a trade instead of going on to college.
As we talked I could tell she was becoming less judgmental of her boyfriend. She was beginning to see that they had differences and that just being different wasn’t wrong. She seemed more hopeful but I reminded her that she still had to decide if those differences would eventually become a major problem between them. I told her that one of the main reasons for dating is to get to know each other.
Instead of giving up on her relationship she decided to take her time and get to know him better. They still haven’t decided what to do about getting married, but they are really getting to know each other and this is much better than finding out after the ceremony that you don’t agree on major issues and needing marriage counseling.
The Big Three
Couples in marriage counseling argue about three main things: money, sex and children. A lot of hurt, anger, resentment and arguments can be avoided when couples get to know each other better in the beginning of their relationship.
Bob and Sherry fought constantly over money. She liked to spend money and he liked to save it. She called him a tightwad and delivered her opinion with a lot of contempt. I had them share their childhood experiences with each other. When Bob met Sherry, his family was well off, but during his childhood his parents struggled to start their business and they were very poor. Bob developed a life-long habit of thrift and saving based on the early poverty he experienced.
Sherry didn’t know this about him and learning it really changed her opinion of him. Couples who know more about each other do a better job of working out their differences. And the beauty of it is that it is never too late to get to know or deepen your knowledge of each other. I’ve had couples in marriage counseling who have been married for over 20 years, but hardly seemed to know each other. By simply getting to know more about each other’s history, goals, likes and dislikes, they grew closer and started working together better.
Before marriage counseling Bob and Sherry both thought the other one had a “bad” attitude toward spending money. As they got to know each other better, they were able to appreciate each other’s differences and make adjustments. They still have occasional disputes over spending money, but now they have a basic respect for each other’s attitudes toward money and can work things out.
The following quiz covers many of the important areas for conflict and for sharing in a relationship. You and your partner can answer the questions and then compare the results. There are no correct answers. This quiz is designed to promote discussion and mutual discovery.
Take this Marriage Counseling Test
How Well Do You Know Your Partner?
1. For you, which room of the house is it most important to keep clean?
a. living room
e. other __________
2. What makes you feel most loved? __________.
3. What is the thing about marriage or a committed relationship that is most frightening to you?
4. The goals I have in life are __________.
5. In lovemaking I prefer __________.
6. When someone is angry I feel __________.
7. The best thing about the opposite sex is __________.
8. The worst thing about the opposite sex is __________.
9. To me children are __________.
10. The right way to discipline a child is__________.
11. If I could change three things about myself I would:
12. If I could change three things about my partner I would:
13. The things I want out of a love relationship are:
14. How do you believe a conflict should be resolved?
A. Discussing options rationally D. Wait and see what happens
B. Getting my feelings out E. Keep my mouth shut don't say anything
C. Do what is right F. Give in
15. The most important thing to do with money is:
a. Save it
b. Enjoy spending it
c. Spend it wisely
d. Not worry about it
e. Make as much as possible
Now, what do you do with this information? The idea isn’t to rate each other, but to get to know each other. Take some time to talk over the answers and learn about each other. To learn more about what makes for a successful relationship, go to HERE