Don’t you wish there was an easy way to tell what’s your relationship’s grade? And, do you wonder if there would be a difference in how you would grade your relationship and how a professional would? You can stop the guessing and read these easy to implement steps to learn what’s your relationship’s GPA.
A question I get asked a lot especially after the initial session I have with a new couple. Many of us want to know how we’re doing as a couple and, if possible, what grade it’ll be.
As a rule in my practice, I assign each couple with a full assessment so that we don’t end up looking at the relationship from a narrow problem-oriented lens. That means a professional long assessment and analysis. But, how would you grade your relationship if you had to do it yourself? What would be your relationship’s GPA (Grade Point Average)?
First, you should know that a relationship is a constant ever-changing complex system that is hard to put into a simple category. Second, your assessment may change according to different events, your mood, or stress levels. With that in mind, I want you to give some thought to the following aspects of your relationship when trying to grade it and figure out its GPA.
A Quick Note About Research
Drs. John and Julie Gottman from The Gottman Institute came up with a couples assessment tool that is best explained by The Sound Relationship House Theory. This theory, a result of over 30 years of research, presents a couple’s relationship as a house with levels. Each level represents one aspect of the relationship, that according to the Gottmans, is essential to make it work.
In accordance with the above theory and through my experience as a couples’ therapist, I came up with the following relationship fields. Each field can and should be graded separately and hopefully by both partners.
The Relationship Fields to Consider
Think about a grade from A to F in the following fields of your marriage or connection:
- General – Thinking about the overall connection, how it makes you feel, and how happy you are to be in it.
- Friendship – Think about how well you know each-other, your level of comfort sharing and responding to one another, the extent to which you like each-other as human-beings, and the extent you look up to one-other.
- Communication – Think about how you manage your communication. Does your communication make you feel heard? Do you make yourself available to your partner? How do you manage conflict? How often do you compromise?
- Trust – Think about the level of trust you have in your relationship. Trust can be looked at in two main aspects: (a) Romantic trust: trusting your partner will be faithful to you and will not engage in another relationship without sharing it with you. (b) General trust: trusting your partner to put you and the relationship as a first priority in all or most events.
To help you with this, I’ve created a worksheet: 4 EASY STEPS TO GRADE YOUR RELATIONSHIP. It will guide you through grading and calculating your relationship’s GPA. Download it here.
What to do with the grade
Great! You figured your relationship’s GPA, now what do you do with it? A few options here:
- You can just keep it or share with your partner. Maybe have a conversation about it.
- You can look into some self-help books about relationships, or blogs that talk about your specific area you might need help with.
- You can seek pro guidance.
If you chose option 3, you probably figured your relationship is in a place where it needs some level of improvement. And, you probably feel you could use some help making it better so you can enjoy your partner again.
It is actually a sign of strength when you are being resourceful about your relationship. So, be confident that you are on a path to making your relationship work.
I wish you all the best,
Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist