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Is Your Lover Loving You?

Barrington H. Brennen, 2006, 2919


Question: Dear Sir: How can I know if my marriage is healthy? I believe that I may not be getting maximum benefit from my marital relationship. Signed: Want Marital Enrichment.

Answer: Dear friend, we all want to have happy, healthy relationships. Many of us are not aware what wonderful benefits marriage can bring to the personal life. Many seem to be satisfied with their dull and mediocre marriages. Here is a quiz used in a research project by three marriage and family specialists (Howard Markman, Scott Stanley & Susan Blumberg) that can help you to decide how healthy is your marriage. These questions focus on the best predictors of marital distress and divorce:


  • Do routine discussions often erupt into destructive arguments?
  • Do you or your partner often withdraw or refuse to talk about important issues?
  • Do you or your partner often disregard what the other says, or do you often use put-downs?
  • Does it seem as if the things you say to your partner are often heard much more negatively than you intended?
  • Do you feel that there has to be a winner and loser when you disagree?
  • Does your relationship often take a back seat to other interests?
  • Do you often think about what it would be like to be with someone else?
  • Does the thought of being with your partner a few years from now disturb you?

Let me add a few more questions that have emerged from my interaction with couples.

  • Does your spouse seem to enjoy spending more time with friends than spending time with the family?
  • Does your spouse insist that you do certain tasks or household chores simply because you are of a particular gender?
  • Are the daily household chores fairly divided among all able family members?
  • Does your spouse seem to expand a considerable amount energy trying to change you or your personality?


Here is another short form quiz that let you know if your lover is loving you. Answer the questions by placing one of the following numbers in the blank the question.

1 = No at all.       2 = Some of the time.     3 = All of the time

1. ____ My partner is affectionate enough

2. ____ My partner really cares for me.

3. ____ I feel that I would choose the same partner if I had to do it over again.

4. ____ I feel that I can trust my partner.

5. ____ I feel our relationship is a good one.

6. ____ We have a lot of fun together.

7. ____ Ours is a close relationship

8. ____ I feel that we have enough interest in common.

9. ____ My partner is a real comfort to me.

10.___ I feel there is no excitement in our relationship

11.___ I feel that our sex life is lacking quality.

12.___ My partner seems to avoid sexual contact with me.

13.___ I feel that my sex life is boring.

14.___ I dream of my partner in bed with me.

Dear friends, choose a quiet time with your spouse when you can objectively answer these questions. Everyone may occasionally answer yes to some of these questions, but a persistent pattern of yes answers over time can be a warning signal that a relationship needs help. If you answered in the negative to at least thirty percent of these questions, you may need to seek professional help. Do you best to be a true lover to your partner.


Barrington H. Brennen, MA, NCP, BCCP, a marriage and family therapist and board certified clinical psychotherapist, USA. Send your questions or comments to barringtonbrennen@gmail.com   or write to P.O. Box CB-13019, Nassau, The Bahamas, or visit www.soencouragement.org   or call 242-327-1980


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April 26, 2000, TAGnet/NetAserve / Network Solutions

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