5-Second Questions to Keep Your Marriage on Track

A friend of mine finds her husband’s used Q-Tips all over the house. She also says he lets his used coffee cups sit out so long they develop a nice thick coating of coffee gunk—and that he loads the dishwasher the “wrong” way. Even though these habits of his annoy her, she has a great way of looking at them so they don’t disrupt her peace. Are you wondering how to get a relationship back on track or how to handle these annoyances that threaten to put you over the edge? Sometimes, it just takes a new perspective.

The secret to my friend’s serenity? She asks herself a simple 5-second question. Once she answers it, she decides how to move on. Here’s that question and three others she uses to keep her marriage on track.

Is this a roommate issue or a relationship issue?

So your husband has some tendencies that drive you crazy or even make you angry. Take a deep breath and take a step back for a clearer perspective. My friend realized that her husband’s messiness is not a relationship issue. Sure, he could be tidier, but his habits don’t change the fact that he’s kind, patient, and a relationship gem.

Am I actually angry or just tired?

When I’m tired, I’m less patient, less kind, and less forgiving. So when I’m feeling out of sorts about my husband or my marriage, I consider my physical state before I vent. If I’m still upset after I’ve gotten some rest, I’m better able to address the issue calmly.

Have I given him a chance to make it right?

It is very easy to get offended in marriage. It’s also easy to get in a pattern of negative interpretation in marriage—taking everything the wrong way and assuming the worst of a husband in all his words and actions. If your husband offends you, give him the benefit of the doubt and the chance to make it right. “Hey, what you said just hurt me. Did I read it the wrong way?” Part of how to get a relationship back on track lies in asking if your spouse meant to put it off track in the first place.

What’s really important here?

“To escalate or not to escalate?” is another way of asking this question. It helps to ask myself this when a discussion about something petty or unimportant starts to get heated. Do I really have to be right or can I let it go?

Let us know if these questions help you—and share some of your own!

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