Does your relationship have a chance of becoming a healthy marriage? Is it possible to predict the success rate of a marriage before it even begins? Should you wait a bit longer before deciding to get married?
Premarital counseling is designed to answer those types of questions. It might serve as the voice of reason that will save you both time and heartache if there are just too many obstacles to overcome, but it could also serve as an affirming echo of your relationship’s marriage potential. It really depends on your current marriage momentum.
A couple’s marriage momentum is an overall look at the health of their relationship. It reviews the course of the relationship to determine if it might develop into a healthy marriage. Many aspects are factored into a couple’s marriage momentum, but ultimately, it’s determined by four major components.
Mindset is the first component of marriage momentum. Your mindset is all about how you view and approach the concept of marriage. There are five types of mindsets, and each one affects a person’s behavior towards their partner and attitude about marriage.
The five mindsets are Resolute, Rational, Romantic, Restless, and Reluctant.
Someone with a resolute mindset has a determined attitude towards marriage. This type of person resonates with the statement, “Divorce is not an option.” They are steadfastly loyal and dedicated to making the marriage work as part of their duty in being a spouse.
Someone with a rational mindset has a pragmatic attitude towards marriage. They understand that it takes teamwork to make the dream work, and they are notorious for seeing a successful marriage as needing a successful formula. They see marriage as coming with specific duties for them and their spouse.
Someone with a romantic mindset has an idealistic attitude towards marriage. This type of person is likely to believe in soulmates and see their spouse as their one true love specifically made for them. They want to be wooed and do the wooing because marriage is a continual expression of passion to them.
Someone with a restless mindset has an unsettled attitude towards marriage. They tend to fluctuate between excitement and fearfulness about marriage. It goes beyond the jitters; they’re consistently going back and forth about the idea of being married. This is a red-flag mindset.
Someone with a reluctant mindset has a negative attitude towards marriage. These types of people are those hesitant to become committed or worried about missing out on other opportunities before getting married. They are characterized as willing but acting like they have some sort of unfinished business. This is another red-flag mindset.
Wellbeing is the second component of marriage momentum. It’s an overall assessment of the emotional and psychological health of each person and the relationship. A synthesis of these results helps contribute to evaluating a couple’s current compatibility.
The individual health categories of wellbeing are Self Concept, Maturity, and Independence.
A person’s self-concept is how they view themselves in relation to the world. Someone with a strong self-concept is confident in their abilities and emotionally healthy. Someone with a weaker self-concept would have self-esteem issues that hinder their behaviors and emotionally drain others.
A person’s maturity is affected by their capacity for empathy and age. Statistically, people under the age of 24 are at a drastically greater risk of divorce than their elders, and empathy is a necessary trait for marital success.
A person’s independence is directly related to parental control. Someone with high independence is autonomous from their parents and able to support themselves. Someone with medium independence is somewhat reliant on their parents for support. Someone with low independence has unresolved parental issues and needs support.
The relational health categories of wellbeing are Longevity, Stability, and Similarity.
Longevity considers the length of the dating relationship. A length of over 2 years scores highly. A length of 1-2 years gets an average score, and a relationship of less than 1 year gets a low score.
Stability considers the quality of the dating relationship. A turbulent and frictional relationship will include periodic breakups; as such, it scores low marks. A consistent and reliable relationship will be characterized by mutual dependability; as such, it scores high marks.
Similarity considers the core values that you share together across the dimensions of spiritual practices, family values, political perspectives, and various hobbies or interests. It bodes well when both people share many of the same core values in these areas. When couples share only some of these in common, it can become problematic for a future marriage. It indicates poor marriage potential when very few of these values are shared.
Context is the third component of marriage momentum. Couples considering marriage are also marrying a set of circumstances as well as their partner, and these circumstances constitute the context of the relationship. Context takes into consideration the many different aspects of life and relates them to marital compatibility.
These aspects can be grouped into four context categories: Social, Financial, Expectation, and Remarriage & Family Blending.
The Social Context of the relationship regards how each partner perceives friends and family. This context is useful for determining how each partner feels about their circle of mutual friends, faith community, and in-laws. Support from these groups contributes to a healthy marriage.
The Financial Context of the relationship regards how each partner perceives money matters. This context is useful for determining a person’s money style, budgeting skills, financial fears, and debt. Understanding how each person spends money is a huge factor in determining marital conflict down the road of marriage.
The Expectation Context of the relationship regards how each partner perceives roles and tasks. This category assesses important questions like “Who does the laundry?” and “Who pays bills and handles finances?” The purpose of the category is to evaluate if both partners are on the same page about their duties in marriage.
The Remarriage & Family Blending Context of the relationship regards how each partner perceives integrating families. It gauges a person’s unique motivations and readiness for marriage, especially related to merging families together. This category is obviously not applicable to everyone, but it’s useful for single parents and those giving marriage another try.
Dynamics is the fourth component of marriage momentum. It explores a range of marital categories that are informed by the personality of each partner. As such, the dynamics component identifies eight unique spousal personalities.
The eight types of spousal personalities are Achieving, Pioneering, Energizing, Analyzing, Deliberating, Unwavering, Cooperating, and Affirming.
The Achieving Spouse is fact-based, efficient, and logical. They have a definite task-oriented approach to life and tend to function best at a balanced pace.
The Pioneering Spouse is results-oriented, bold, and innovative. They have a mostly task-oriented approach to life and tend to function best at a quicker pace.
The Energizing Spouse is persuasive, outgoing, and enthusiastic. They have a balanced task-people approach to life and tend to function best at a fast pace.
The Analyzing Spouse is orderly, conscientious, and careful. They have a mostly people-oriented approach to life and tend to function best at a slower pace.
The Deliberating Spouse is devoted, accurate, and disciplined. They have a balanced task-people approach to life and tend to function best at an ultraslow pace.
The Unwavering Spouse is loyal, sincere, and diligent. They have a mostly people-oriented approach to life and tend to function best at a slower pace.
The Cooperating Spouse is service-oriented, peace-keeping, and patient. They have a definite people-oriented approach to life and tend to function best at a balanced pace.
Affirming Spouse is optimistic, encouraging, and verbal. They have a mostly people-oriented approach to life and tend to function best at a quicker pace.
Ultimately, the context of dynamics is all about exploring each other’s personalities. It’s helpful for determining the harmonious strengths and disorderly weaknesses that may develop as a result of working together in marriage. Different combinations of personality types will present different strengths to harness and weaknesses to mitigate.
Determining Marriage Momentum
It’s important to accurately evaluate your marriage momentum as a couple. This determination will help you understand the relationship’s potential for marriage and assist you in making a plan of action. Using these insights, you can identify and address the major concerns you expect to encounter.
Marriage momentum gets scored into one of three tiers: Low, Medium, or High.
The overlap (or lack thereof) between the four components is what determines the couple’s marriage momentum tier. This can be hard to evaluate on your own, but that’s where SYMBIS can help! SYMBIS stands for Save Your Marriage Before It Starts, and they have a network of premarital counselors ready to help you determine your marriage momentum by taking a couple’s evaluation. Sign up for the test below!