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Is Your Relationship Healthy: a 5-Step Psychological Test

A man I worked with described his relationship as shaky.

Is Your Relationship Healthy: A 5-Step Psychological Test

You’re done with work for the day and approaching home. (If you’re at home during the day you’ll have to do this metaphorically). Assume whoever you share the place with (your partner/kids/others) is inside. Ask yourself the following questions:

1. Scan your body.

Do you feel calm and pleased to be home? Happy to see your partner/the kids? Or only the kids? Do you feel tense and jumpy? Do you fear what will greet you?

2. Monitor how long the feeling lasts.

Just a few moments? All evening until you’re in bed? Is the way you feel entirely dependent on your partner’s mood on whatever dynamics have been going on before you arrived? Have you begun to shape your behaviour to deal with the domestic mood? Is this in a good way?

3. What’s the vibe of your evenings?

Let’s say there’s just the two of you. Is the atmosphere light, enjoyable? Are you able to have fun together or sit in compatible silence (not just on your devices)? Do you LIKE being there (or are there other people who energise you more?) Can you get through the whole evening without bickering?

4. What’s one thing that would improve things?

Even if your relationship is okay it’s good to keep an eye on how to make it better. Could you quit checking emails? Turn off your phones at an agreed time? Agree on a movie to watch together? Not fall asleep with your mouth open after too many glasses of wine?

5. Take the weekend away test.

Time away together should be fun. Or restful. But sometimes couples have become so deadlocked in their issues that even a planned break (that once would have been fun) goes belly up. If you can’t achieve goodwill or a sense of peace when you’ve put aside time for it, take note. You’re in the red light zone.

Test Results

How’d you go? Hopefully you got a pass mark.

Clinical psychologist, writer. Editor of On the Couch: Practical psychology for everyday life. karen@onthecouch.co.nz

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