June 20, 2015

A Quick Test to Evaluate Your Marriage

Gary Thomas — 

A Quick Test to Evaluate Your Marriage Final

Most of us, whether we realize it or not, evaluate our marriages almost every day.  If we’re in a social situation, we tend to wonder, “How does our marriage measure up to theirs?” When we’re by ourselves, the evaluation is often along the lines of, “Am I happier today than I was yesterday?” or “Am I as happy today as I was the day we got married?”

Some of us evaluate our marriages by evaluating our spouse: “Has she been kind to me lately?” “Has he been noticing me lately?”

Colossians 3 gives us a better evaluation tool: ten things to look out for (“die to”), and ten things to strive for (“clothe ourselves with”).

These are the things we are to “put to death.” They should never exist in any Christian home, let alone a Christian marriage. So let’s give ourselves a score of “0” (never) to “5” (a daily problem) of how often we (not our spouse) bring these into our relationship:

  • Sexual immorality
  • Impurity
  • Lust
  • Evil desires
  • Greed
  • Anger
  • Rage
  • Malice
  • Slander
  • Filthy language

Score: __________________

www.garythomas.com (3)

The following are the things that, “as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved” that we should “clothe ourselves with.” Are these positive things present in your marriage (that you are performing toward your spouse)? Give yourself a “0” if it is never present in your marriage and a “5” if you excel in it daily:

  • Compassion
  • Kindness
  • Humility
  • Gentleness
  • Patience
  • Forgiveness
  • Love
  • Thankfulness
  • Studying the Bible
  • Worshipfulness

Score: __________________


Then there’s the “bonus” question. When specifically talking to spouses, Paul urges: “Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and never treat them harshly.” (v. 18-19)

The question of what verse 18 means is so hotly debated and so outside the length of this blog post, just evaluate it based on your best current understanding of what it means. Let’s do the same thing here for the “bonus” question: a “0” or “1” if it’s something you never or rarely practice, or a “5” if it’s a daily reality.

So, for the negative list, there’s a possible “high” (which means low) score of 50, and for the positive list there’s also a possible “high” (which is good) of 50. The “bonus” question can help us “catch up” (so there’s really a potential “good” score of 55).

For the qualities that God values in a Christian life, how are you doing?

Please, don’t rate your spouse. If they want to take this test and the two of you want to talk about this on a date night, that’s one thing. But Paul would tell us to focus on ourselves—what we’re bringing into the marriage. These are the things that the inspired words of Scripture tell us to die to and to clothe ourselves with.

More important than how you think your spouse is doing, and more important than how the world thinks your marriage is doing, and also more important than how you feel about your marriage, is how God feels about the way you’re acting in your marriage. Based on this score, how are you doing, really?

I’d be interested in the comments section: what do you think the “normal” scores should be?


When you subscribe to Gary’s blog, you will receive blog posts directly to your e-mail inbox. You will be one of the first to learn about the latest in Gary’s writing.

8 responses to A Quick Test to Evaluate Your Marriage

  1. Can say not so great , I have tried to talk to share my heart in the past year of all my dreams desires and things that are important to me as well as a family , at that point very little of my needs or even to care of how I feel goes out the door even emergency things at this point it turns me as the NAG wife .’ !!! Let me say that isn’t fun for me because it turned my Sunshine of who to my spouse as not the person who he met , the world sees me as Me ! 🙂 but not him . We both play. A part but it would help if I had a partnership as a couple in marriage I live single with a document and the world sees me as well as myself beautiful witty fun laughter cute , silly playful and sexy side . Saddens me even a romance at the beach I feel like I’m with some Person I don’t even know turns ugly . Saddened in Indiana

  2. 16/23
    Thanks for this painful objective measure. May our Father continue His work to decrease the numerator and increase the denominator!

  3. It was quite hard to be honest and objective. I scored 16 for the first part, and 19 for the second part. Yet, I felt like I was being too hard on myself, but at the same time I couldn’t score differently because I felt like I was being as honest as I knew how. I would so love the second part to be much higher, and this is an excellent focal point. Thank you, Gary!

  4. I know this is a self-check type of quiz, so the first part is easy to answer. However, the second part is a more difficult issue. Although I may feel that I am treating my spouse with kindness, compassion, etc, I believe that he is the only one that can truly attest to that. The moment I say I am being humble or I am treating my husband with humility is the moment I am being prideful. The score on the first part of the quiz is a 10 currently and I am working toward that 0 more and more each day. As for the second part of the quiz,I strive for the 50 every day. I guess only God and my husband can score me on my efforts. 🙂

  5. This is a good test from God’s Word. my life has changed so much since my husband and I met over 30 years ago. I thank God that He has given me His Holy Spirit to help me so much along the way to see that ‘marriage is to make is holy not happy’ as you would say! My score was 15/40, but it is only by the grace of God that it has turned from a 40/15 not that long ago! But I still have a long way to go, and reading God’s Word and allowing the Guidance of The Spirit along with your posts, help me become the woman and wife God would have me be…

  6. I scored 20/45… There was a time in my life when that score might have been flipped and it’s liberating to experience the fruits of a life living affirmed in Christ. When the selfishness creeps in, the Holy Spirit is there to help remind me of my identity and the purpose I’ve been given in Christ Jesus.
    This quiz was great. Cuts through all of the malarkey and reveals how far I’ve come and also how far I am from righteousness.
    I don’t know what the average score might be….but I am interested in other responses.
    Have a blessed day!

  7. Odd that you requested “Website” above. I haven’t written in over a year due to the personal state of my marriage. I need to and want to but have become journaling instead.

    The “test” may show I am doing my utmost; however, the marriage is failed. I reallize we are held accountable for our own actions and reactions and that is all that is supposed to matter; however, happiness is void. I also realize our happiness is temporary and our joy is eternal so with my eyes affixed on God, I am alive and well to take this “test.” It helps nothing in my marriage…it simply reminds me, personally, to be accountable to God. The closer we walk with Him, the harder the tests.

    I appreciate your calling.