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How Well Do You Know Your Spouse

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From his marriage seminars - Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work and his book by the same name, Dr. Gottman offers a test that serves as a barometer of your marriage. Take the test and see where you stand!

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The key pillar of marriage stability is friendship. The renowned marriage therapist and researcher Dr. Gottman studied thousands of couples for several years. His research concluded that no matter how much you argue or no matter how dysfunctional your relationship may seem, the key to beating the overwhelming odds of divorce is developing an enduring friendship with your spouse.

The basis of friendship is found in the intimate knowledge we have of each other. It’s like the old TV program – The Newlywed Game. Couples would compete for prizes based on how well they knew each other. The host would ask questions and couples would try to guess what their spouse’s would answer. The couple with the most matches at the end would win.

Gottman’s research concluded that marriage is like a lot like that game; if you know each other really well, you win. In this case winning is not just staying married, but being happily married.

From his marriage seminars - Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work and his book by the same name, Gottman offers a test that serves as a barometer of how well you know your spouse.

“By giving honest answers to the following questions, you will get a sense of the quality of your current love maps [how well you know your spouse]. For the most accurate reading of how your marriage is doing on this first principle, both of you should complete the following.

Read each statement and circle T for "true" or F for "false."

1. I can name my partner's best friends. T F

2. I can tell you what stresses my partner is currently facing. T F

3. I know the names of some of the people who have been irritating my partner lately. T F

4. I can tell you some of my partner's life dreams. T F

5. I am very familiar with my partner's religious beliefs and ideas. T F

6. I can tell you about my partner's basic philosophy of life. T F

7. I can list the relatives my partner likes the least. T F

8. I know my partner's favourite music. T F

9. I can list my partner's three favourite movies. T F

10. My spouse is familiar with my current stresses. T F

11. Know the three most special times in my partner's life. T F

12. I can tell you the most stressful thing that happened to my partner as a child. T F

13. I can list my partner's major aspirations and hopes in life. T F

14. I know my partner's major current worries. T F

15. My spouse knows who my friends are. T F

16. I know what my partner would want to do if he or she suddenly won the lottery. T F

17. I can tell you in detail my first impressions of my partner. T F

18. Periodically I ask my partner about his or her world right now. T F

19. I feel that my partner knows me pretty well. T F

20. My spouse is familiar with my hopes and aspirations. T F

Scoring: Give yourself one point for each "true" answer.

10 or above: This is an area of strength for your marriage. You have a fairly detailed map of your spouse's everyday life, hopes, fears, and dreams. You know what makes your spouse "tick." Based on your score you'll probably find the love map exercises that follow easy and gratifying. They will serve as a reminder of how connected you and your partner are. Try not to take for granted this knowledge and understanding of each other. Keeping in touch in this way ensures you'll be well equipped to handle any problem areas that crop up in your relationship.

Below 10: Your marriage could stand some improvement in this area. Perhaps you never had the time or the tools to really get to know each other. Or perhaps your love maps have become outdated, as your lives have changed over the years. In either case, by taking the time to learn more about your spouse now, you'll find your relationship becomes stronger.”1

1. Seven Principles of Making Marriage Work by John M. Gottman, Ph.D, and Nan Silver

Are you a Newlywed Game star or do you need a relationship tune-up?
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