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The Five Vital Signs of a Healthy Marriage

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Many couples that go through divorce could have avoided that financially, emotionally and spiritually traumatic voyage. The indicators of their impending marital collapse were clearly evident. So why don’t these men and women recognize the signs of the times and change directions?

The answer is actually quite simple. In all probability, they never knew the vital signs of a healthy marriage. This is one of the most crucial nuptial check-ups you’ll ever perform. It may very well bring you to restoration and save you from serious heartache and headache. Is your marriage healthy? Let’s go to the examination room and find out!

by Gillis Triplett

What Are Vital Signs and Why Are They So Important?
In the medical field, vital signs are used to detect and monitor medical problems. Vital signs are measurements of the body's most basic functions. These vital signs alert physicians and patients to any issues or potential health problems. Examining a person’s vital signs and implementing preventive procedures have saved many lives.

The four primary vital signs routinely monitored by healthcare providers are: (a) body temperature (b) pulse rate, (c) respiration rate, i.e., rate of breathing, and (d) blood pressure. Although blood pressure is not technically considered a vital sign, it is often measured along with the other vital signs.

What Do Vital Signs Have To Do With a Healthy Marriage?
In the same token that medical professionals measure a person’s vital signs to help determine the state of that person’s health. We can measure certain vital signs to determine the health of a marriage. Is your marriage headed into the marital danger zone? Examining these five vital signs will help you make that determination.

((((( Vital Sign #1 )))))
Do Both Spouses Feel Free To Express Themselves?

The freedom to express oneself without fear of retaliation or ridicule is a critical vital sign of a healthy marriage. When either spouse feels that expressing their feelings will result in withdrawal, hostility, a tense quarrel or fruitless verbal jousting match, they will usually start the degenerative process of refraining from communicating with their mate. In healthy marriages, both spouses have freedom of expression.

((((( Vital Sign #2 )))))
Do Both Spouses Know How To Properly Handle Conflict?

Conflict in marriage is inevitable. Regrettably, in many of our present day marriages, becoming marital combatants has become the status quo. What is the root cause of this titanic epidemic? These spouses simply don’t know how to properly handle conflict.

Dr. Markman, along with Dr. Clifford Notarius, studied 135 about-to-be-married couples. “How you handle conflict is the single most important predictor of whether your marriage will survive,” according to Dr. Markman. These researchers found that certain behavior patterns usually signaled an impending collapse in the marriage:

  • When either partner -- although it is most often the male -- withdraws from conflict.
  • The tendency to escalate conflict in the face of disagreement and the inability to stop fights before they get ugly.
  • The tendency to invalidate the relationship by hurling insults at each other. Dr. Markman says, “one ‘zinger’ counteracts 20 positive acts of kindness.”

In healthy marriages, both spouses have learned how to properly handle disagreements and differences of opinion. Without this mandatory skill, a marriage is doomed for separation or divorce.

((((( Vital Sign # 3 )))))
Do Both Spouses Value The Other’s Opinion?

A difference of opinion or perspective should not rip a marriage apart, but it often does. Usually placing a corrosive wedge between spouses. The usual culprit is not that they don’t love or care for each other, they just refuse or haven’t learned how to value their spouse’s opinion.

This is known as the silent nuptial killer! Countless individuals have developed ill feelings toward their spouse because they felt or perceived that their mate did not respect or value their opinion. In healthy marriages, both spouses esteem and regard their mate’s opinion, even if they disagree.

((((( Vital Sign # 4 )))))
Have Both Spouses Learned The Art of Communication?

Anyone who has ever monitored a mass number of divorce court proceedings, including being in the “quote” mediation rooms and counseling sessions, will emphatically come to this conclusion; most couples get an “F” for failing to know the art of communication. If either spouse has this debilitating disease, the participants will tell you that conflicts seem to keep recycling… that’s because they do!

Their marital scorecard reads like a disgruntled boxer’s resume; infused with a never-ending succession of clashes, fights, problems, disputes, arguments and unresolved issues. Regrettably, these unions teem with insults, sarcasms, unforgiveness, offensive language, disunity, anger, bitterness, discord, disharmony and disrespect.

In healthy marriages, both spouses have learned the art of communication and they are committed to engaging in nutritious relations that fosters unity. They understand that they must work at creating a harmonious and wholesome environment.

((((( Vital Sign # 5 )))))
Do Both Spouses Respect The Sacredness of Marriage?

Alarmingly, the critical truth that “Marriage is Sacred” is foreign to the average husband and wife. In the context of marriage, to be sacred means to be declared holy, worthy of respect and reserved for the exclusive use of wedlock. To respect means: to regard, to esteem and to avoid violation of.

Too often men and woman marry, yet they never esteemed the sanctityof the marriage covenant. It is relatively easy for men and women who have little or no regard for the sacredness of matrimony to violate their marital vows. Consequently, these individuals have no compunction about inflicting pain upon their spouse. They will effortlessly commit marital fraud, adultery, emotional torture, withhold sexual favors and engage in other types of abuse.

In healthy marriages, both the husband and wife - know, understand and respect the sacredness of the marriage covenant and their hearts are set on respecting their mate. Remember this point: reverencing your marriage vows is a choice and so is violating or disrespecting them! Which do you choose?

Your Test Results Are In!
This is how the scoring breaks down. Each question is worth 20 points. A score of zero means that your marital vital signs look great! If you scored 20 or more points, your vital signs are in the danger zone and you need to make some major adjustments.

The path you take to nuptial wholeness will vary. For some couples, the solution will be a simple but heart to heart talk about their vital signs or it may be reading a book that addresses their particular challenge.

Others may require marital or pastoral counseling, therapy or maybe a class on the art of communicating. Whatever path you need to take to get to a vibrant marital heartbeat, start it today!

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