Being able to rate our life makes it so much easier to know how things are going. If we know we fall below or above what is normal then it’s easier to make changes if we need to. In fact I believe we should rate everything we do in life, even ourselves! When we go to the doctor they ask us “on a scale of 1-10 how severe is your pain?” or when we buy something we are asked “on a scale of 1-10 how satisfied are you with your purchase?” We can quickly answer these questions because it’s easy to measure things this way. We know that 1 is usually bad or low, while 10 is usually high or excellent.
So I started thinking if this rating scale could also work in other areas of our lives, like in marriage happiness. I starting thinking of this after an acquaintance, who recently got divorced, told me that when his wife left him he never saw it coming. He said he worked all day and that one day out of the blue his wife comes home and says she wants to separate and just like that it was over. She had moved on with someone else and he had no idea this was going on while he was working.
Here’s the thing, do we really not see it coming? We should never be completely shocked if our spouse leaves if we claim to “work all day”. That’s red flag numero uno right there. Being gone most of the day is just a way to avoid our spouse by always having something better to do. If you are happy and thriving then there’s a good chance your spouse won’t leave or in his case cheat. I mean why would you want to end your source of happiness? It just doesn’t work that way.
If you are not happy, or you’re always doing things apart, then chances go up that the other person will find something they enjoy more or someone whom they have more in common with. Cheating doesn’t have to be physical contact either, it can merely mean a disconnect with your spouse emotionally and reconnecting with someone else. Sure you may not plan on it happening, but that’s because you choose to ignore the signs. Sometimes you think you’re “happily married” and then you find yourself falling for the first tramp that winks at you. The whole “it just happened” thing is bullshit, you are simply not paying attention.
So welcome to my fabulous Marriage Barometer! I hope it helps you understand a little bit more of where you stand in your marriage. I literally scribbled this just now so I’m so sorry for the terrible graphic. I’m a self proclaimed graphic designer so I’m a little bit ashamed, but anyways it does the trick. Here’s the thing, since we are rating marriage happiness from low to high, 1 means low happiness and 10 means high happiness.
On a scare of 1 – 10 where does your marriage stand?
Scale of 7-10 – MARRIAGE AWESOMENESS!
I would call this the perfect union with your soul mate. Everything is compatibility and getting along and harmony. You agree in almost every topic and if not, you can definitely sympathize or understand the other one’s point of view. It doesn’t bother you in the least when your spouse is right or when they have a different opinion than you. You quickly move on from a disagreement.
I don’t think there’s ever a perfect 10, to be honest. A perfect 10 happiness in a marriage is almost not possible. I sometimes call a 10 the Unicorn Stage because we’ve all heard it exists but we’ve never really seen it. Well, I actually did get a glimpse of it once. It was this older couple shopping at Marshalls and the husband was following along by his wife’s side. They were shopping together and he looked like he was enjoying just watching her shop. “Isn’t this beautiful?” she would ask him and he would reply, “Yes darling, it is beautiful.” I mean come on, it was just so adorable! He was happy just seeing her be happy? It almost made me want to cry.
SCALE OF 4-6 – YOU’RE DOING GOOD.
For the rest of us, this is where most “normal” happy marriages are. They agree with each other on many areas and not on others. They still try to find resolution to their differences and may get bothered when the other wins an argument. The closer they get to the 4 is when they may have an intense argument every once in a while but nothing that is not resolved or learned from. Conflict and resolution are big here. Whenever they don’t agree on something, they find a way to come back to resolving it and understanding each other. Resentment is very low and respect of one another is very important and paramount if you want to stay at this level. Without respect, you have left this area my friend.
SCALE OF 2-4 – YOU’RE DOING OK WITH RED FLAGS.
This is a place where a marriage can either gets back to better or get worse, much worse. This is when the whole “we’re fine” excuse begins to happen. This is the point where the scale begins to tip and get off center. Something is not right is the common sentiment. Conflicts have not been resolved and have been allowed to form resentments over time. Spouses find any means to block out the issues or just keep going as if nothing is going wrong. Insults gets swept under the rug and pretend they didn’t happen. There’s many times a person will wake up sullen and not talking to the other because of the things that were said the night before. Fights are usually more intense and hurtful. Red flags begin to appear when they start to avoid each other either to prevent a fight or to run from a previous one. There’s great chance of reviving the marriage at this stage if they only come to a realization that they are headed for disaster if they don’t do something about it now.
DANGER ZONE: 2-4 is sometimes a calm stage if there’s not much fighting going on. This is why this stage sneaks up on you and I consider it the danger zone. You no longer care. Basically things now feel like they are stale and nothing exciting is going on so we think we must be ok. Wrong! Over working as avoidance is a big clue that something is not right. Avoidance is huge and should be the first sign that things are not ok. Spending too much time away from each other only pushes couples further apart. Anything to stay away from each other is preferred at this stage. “Well, at least we’re not fighting” is an excuse as to why you think things are going good. It’s basically the CALM BEFORE THE STORM. This is the time to get counseling to get back to good before it’s too late.
SCALE OF 1-2 – DOOM-ish.
This is the end when trouble has tipped the scale way off. I believe the technical term for this is shit-has-hit-the-fan stage. Every day feels like you’re drowning and you’re just looking for a way out. You can’t stand to look at each other anymore and make smart ass remarks all the time and you can’t believe you actually said I Do. Sometimes you can’t leave because of finances or children, but you see no good end in sight. Fights are intense and violent as you get closer to the 1 or complete avoidance. You can’t stand to be near each other. Usually marriages are very difficult to repair at this stage and separation is usually the best course of action before something worse happens. Our children should never have to see their parents at this stage. Ever. Parental fighting is one of the worst traumas that we take with us into our adult life.
There’s no worst blind person
than the one who doesn’t want to see.
Please don’t wait for a 1, don’t wait for a 2 or a 3! There’s no point in that. Being blinded by your marriage situation or the red flags all over the place is only going to make things worse. Ignoring or stalling or making excuses will not make things better. Be realistic and when avoidance begins to creep his ugly face, find common ground again, go on dates and make time for each other and please, please get counseling!
So this is just my ghetto fabulous marriage barometer scale thingy-majingy. While it’s been very helpful in my life in letting me see issues I was blind to see before, our own pride can get in our way of noticing the many red flags. We tend to not want to assume any responsibility in our problems and blame the other one instead. The truth is we both do our part in hurting the marriage and we both need to do our part in fixing it. Like the saying goes: there is no worst blind person than the one who doesn’t want to see.
Please note I am no expert here, I’ve just been married for 21 years.