Have you ever felt like your relationship is being tested? Sometimes our marriage is strong and supportive. But then, life challenges it in unexpected ways, and we begin to develop a sense of distress. When a person feels overwhelmed and under-appreciated, we start searching for solutions on how to fix our marriage. Here are eight questions that you can ask yourself, and your spouse, to help maintain a healthy and happy life together.

How would you describe your communication skills?  Open lines of communication are an essential component in every relationship. On a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being the highest rating) how would you answer this question? Talking openly is a two-way street and if one person closes off their lane, it creates a road block, We all have had days where we are sitting in traffic because there’s construction, and the street has only one lane open. You feel frustrated, annoyed, and if your wait there long enough, even angry. It is actually very similar to the communication that occurs between spouses. Spend quality time talking to each. It will help prevent the road of marriage from being temporarily closed for unnecessary repairs.

Are you supportive of each other’s goals?  When your spouse decides to try something new, are you always, sometimes, or never, supportive? Maybe they want to change career paths, set new physical fitness goals, or possibly they’ve decided to write a book. The wonderful thing about ambition is that it can be basically unlimited. When a person challenges themselves to reach new heights, they grow as a person. It doesn’t matter whether they succeed or fail, it only matters that they are able to try. And in doing so, they know that their spouse is also their biggest cheerleader.

Do small things to show you care. Most of us are familiar with the expression, “It’s the little things that count” and, in fact, it is absolutely correct. Showing your love doesn’t need to be in the form of a gift that you’ve purchased at a store. It’s as simple as leaving a post-it note saying “I love you,” making dinner and doing all of the clean-up, or giving your spouse an extra-long hug when you know they’ve had a difficult day.

How is your quality time together?  Our daily lives are overflowing with more things than we can fit on our plates. And sometimes, we neglect those closest to us while assuming that they just know how we feel. A marriage requires consistent nurturing. It’s not how much time you spend together, but how you spend your time together that matters most.

Are you honest, respectful, and trustworthy?  Knowing that you are married to someone that you can trust 100 percent is nothing short of priceless. When trust is combined with mutual respect and honesty, it becomes the ultimate trifecta. Each person in a relationship deserves to be treated with honor. These building blocks provide the foundation that allows each spouse to feel comforted in the strength of their marriage. In addition, it is this powerful combination that enables them to feel protected against all of life’s trials and tribulations.

What interests do you have in common?  Although we all have individual hobbies from our spouses, maintaining a healthy relationship includes having common interests that you can share. If you feel like you are drifting apart, find a new activity that you can do together.

Do you put your spouse’s needs before your own?  This seems like such a simple question to answer, but it needs to be asked. Selfishness is a destructive tool and it serves no purpose in a marriage.

Are you forgiving towards one another?  In every relationship, there will be times that your spouse will irritate you, or even make you down right mad. The important thing to remember is that the typical lover’s spats are over things that really are insignificant in the big picture. Make it a priority to practice forgiveness in your daily lives.

Love is patient and is kind; love doesn’t envy. Love doesn’t brag, is not proud, doesn’t behave itself inappropriately, doesn’t seek its own way, is not provoked, takes no account of evil; doesn’t rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will be done away with. Where there are various languages, they will cease. Where there is knowledge, it will be done away with.—1 Corinthians 13:4-8 

There is a reason why couples choose to include this Scripture in their wedding ceremonies. It’s because it encompasses the true meaning of unconditional love. At the start of each day, make a promise to yourself that you will follow God’s Word.

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