Have you been married for several years and feel your relationship might be headed for divorce? John Gottman, Ph.D. professor emeritus of psychology at the University of Washington, world-renowned for his work in marital stability and divorce prediction, developed a 22-question survey that can give couples some indication as to whether or not their union is in trouble. The questions which are based on 20-years of couples research might seem simple but they will determine what couples do and don’t know about each other.

Dr. Gottman, who along with his wife Julie Schwartz Gottman, Ph. D., are co-founders of the Gottman Institute in Seattle, Washington, an ongoing program of research that increases the understanding of relationships and adds the interventions that have been widely evaluated. According to Dr. Gottman, there are four destructive feelings that will put a relationship on the skids–defensiveness, stonewalling, criticism and, worst of all, contempt.

On the flip side, Dr. Gottman believes that developing a kind of love map in your mind that memorizes all of the relevant information about your mate, can help to better secure a marriage. Knowing your partner’s worries, fears, dreams, hopes and not forgetting relevant events in each other’s histories is a definite sign of caring.

The most important element for keeping love together according to Dr. Gottman is to maintain a good friendship because this is what’s truly important to both sexes.

Do you think you know your spouse/partner, take the test and find out where your relationship stands:

1) I can name my partner’s best friends

2) I know what stresses my partner is currently facing

3) I know the names of some people who have been irritating my partner lately

4) I can tell you some of my partner’s life dreams

5) I know my partner’s basic philosophy of life

6) I can list the relatives my partner likes the least

7) I feel that my partner knows me pretty well

8) When we’re apart, I think fondly of my partner

9) I often touch or kiss my partner affectionately

10) My partner really respects me

11) There is passion in our relationship

12) Romance is still part of our relationship

13) My partner appreciates the things I do

14) My partner likes my personality

15) Our sex life is mostly satisfying

16) At the end of the day my partner is glad to see me

17) My partner is one of my best friends

18) We just love talking to each other

19) There is lots of give and take (both people have influence) in our discussions

20) My partner listens respectfully even when we disagree

21) My partner is usually a great help as a problem-solver

22) We generally mesh well with basic values and goals in life


Your score:

15 or more positive answers: You have a lot of strength in your relationship.

8 to 14: This is a pivotal time in your relationship. There are strengths you can build upon but there are weaknesses that need your attention.

7 or fewer: Your relationship may be in serious trouble and could be headed for the rocks. If this concerns you, you probably still value the relationship enough to try to get help.