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Leaders and Marriage: The 7 Question Challenge

Posted on: February 2nd, 2012 by Dr. Angela Bisignano

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What is the pulse of your marriage? This may be the most important leadership question you consider.

Marriages today are being taxed, stretched, and in far too many cases unraveling. Investing wisely in your marriage may be the best leadership decision you make today. When considering your leadership, you know that in order to have success or influence, you must spend both quality and quantity time. The same holds true for marriage. Leaders spend a lot of time with their teams engaging them about maximizing influence, sustainability, and success. Yet, how often do we engage our spouses with similar intent?

Marriage can be challenging to keep alive and strong over the course of a lifetime for any couple, let alone leaders. Anyone married for any significant length of time can attest to the fact that thriving marriages take a lot of time and energy. My husband and I have been married for 25 years and I know from experience what it takes.

Life is full of different seasons impacting our marriages, good times and certainly, more challenging ones. How we navigate them together will be the best indicator of our future together.

If you think your marriage might need some attention, consider the following 7-question challenge.

Commitment: Are you committed to do what it takes to have a good and strong marriage over the course of a lifetime? According to Merriam-Webster, the definition of a commitment is an act of committing to a charge or trust; an agreement or pledge to do something in the future. If you want a great marriage that lasts a lifetime, you need to realize that it takes dedication. Motivation is a key factor in determining the success of your marriage. Seriously, consider this question. Then do whatever it takes to ensure that you have a strong marriage.

Communication: How well do you and your spouse communicate? Good and open communication is key to a great marriage. Listening and understanding one another’s point of view is vital. Good communication skills need to be acquired, developed, and frequently used. People feel valued and respected when they feel understood. If you are not communicating well with your spouse, then take the time to learn how to effectively communicate. Many books exist on communication. If need be, hire a professional to help.

Community: Do you and your spouse have friends or a community of people that help to support and encourage you in your marriage? Most of the challenges and struggles that you and your spouse may encounter over the course of a lifetime are also experienced by many other marriages. You and your spouse are not alone. When you have others to help you navigate challenging times, the likelihood of success substantially increases. Try and find another couple or several couples to meet with on a regular basis.

Conflict: How well do you and your spouse handle conflict? How you handle conflict is a good indicator of the future success of your marriage. Every marriage, at some time or another, experiences conflict, some more so than others. If you need some help in resolving your issues with one another, seek the advice and counsel of a psychologist, pastor, or other counseling professional. It is better to seek the help earlier than to let bad habits take root in your marriage.

Compatibility: How compatible are you and your spouse? Having common interests, hobbies, or endeavors is important in sustaining a relationship. Enjoying one another’s company is also important to the well-being of your marriage. If you find that you and your spouse don’t have much in common these days, take some time to explore some new pursuits together. Find common areas of interest, hobbies, or activities. Recreating together is a great way to enhance your marriage.

Core Needs: How well do you understand each other’s core needs? Understanding the core needs of your spouse is very important. Do you know what your spouse’s needs are? In a society that prides itself on independence, often times we forget to pay attention to the things that are most important to our spouse. Try asking your spouse what their core needs are. You may be surprised by their answers.

Core Values: Do you and your spouse share similar core values in key areas? Faith, finances, and child rearing are just a few important areas regarding core values to consider.  Are you and your spouse united in important areas? You don’t need to agree on everything; however you need to have a mutual respect and understanding for each other’s core values. Take some time to discuss these areas in depth.

If you are having difficulty with two or more of these areas and you cannot move beyond the challenges together, it may be time to seek some help. I would suggest you enlist the help of a psychologist, pastor, or another counseling professional. If you are a leader and you sense that your marriage can use some TLC, now is a great time to pay attention. Generally speaking, if problematic areas are not addressed, they have a tendency to get worse. Do what it takes to make your marriage solid.

If your marriage is doing very well, I encourage you to look around. Are there any couples that you can help along in their marriage journey?

I just had my husband do the 7-question challenge. He thought it was time for a vacation. I’m all for it!

What’s the pulse of your marriage?