April 20, 2020

Using the Quarantine to Build Quality

Gary Thomas — 

When doing premarital counseling, I’ve found that the session when I take couples through their “Prepare and Enrich” test results is often the most helpful and revealing session of all. The test tells couples where they are likely to stumble and serves as a general measure of overall compatibility.

As a tool, it can be very revealing:

“Oh, that’s why she responds that way.”

“That makes so much sense. Now I understand why he does that.”

It also warns couples where hot-button items might threaten their relationship and suggests various points in the relationship that need to be addressed.

I’ve since come across an assessment that works for couples who are already married. Lisa and I recently took the Relate test that asks you to evaluate your spouse’s personality, temperaments, and relational strengths and weaknesses. It helped give us a glimpse of what seems to be working in our relationship but also what needs to be worked on.

It’s so, so easy to just start coasting in marriage. Taking a test was a gentle wake-up call that could guide us out of our well-worn ruts.

I’ve gotten to know a couple guys on the PGA tour, and one of the things that struck me most was how many “coaches” they have: a strength and conditioning coach, a swing coach, a nutrition coach, often even a psychological coach. They seek help not because there is something “wrong” with their game—they are literally among the best players in the world—but because “good” isn’t enough in their competitive field. They want to be among the very best.

I wish we’d look at marriage the same way—not viewing counseling or tests as something to do when things have fallen apart and we need to put them back together again, but in an effort to take our marriages to the next level.

Because so many couples are spending so much more time alone during the Covid-19 shutdown, I thought, what if we took a little time to work on our marriages? In less time than it takes you to watch a single episode of Tiger King (not counting the amount of time it’ll consume to take a shower afterwards because you feel so dirty), what if you joined Lisa and I and took the Relate survey? If you use code “GARY” you get 20% off.

I suspect for many of you, you’ll intuitively know the results, even if you’ve never seen them on a graph before. Others of you may be led into a new season of discussion and discovery. Each one of you will probably come up with at least one area where you know you can grow individually.

I frequently tell my premarital couples that they shouldn’t put so much work into the relationship before marriage (we typically meet for ten to twelve hours before the wedding) and then stop cold-turkey after the wedding. Great marriages aren’t just planted; they’re cultivated and maintained. Now there’s a tool to help couples do just that.

If you do decide to take the Relate survey, would you please come back and leave your thoughts? I’d love to get feedback as to whether this is a tool we should keep promoting to help marriages continue to grow stronger. Let us know what you found out!

To take the Relate survey, go here https://relatefoundation.com/couples/ (and make sure you use code GARY to get 20% off).

If you’re interested in the book I use for premarital counseling, you can get it here:

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One response to Using the Quarantine to Build Quality

  1. Tiger King definitely leaves me feeling dirty enough to hop into the nearest shower. Perhaps that’s why I only made it halfway through the first episode. Great reference!