First comes love, then comes marriage and if things don’t work out, divorce is sure to follow. South Africa’s current marriage statistics are shocking. In 2014, Stats SA reported that 21 998 couples filed for divorce at the end of September.
There is no shortage of advice on how to save your marriage, and short of going to a counsellor, auditing your marriage is a good way to prevent your happy union turning into a tearful mess.
Sometimes when couples tie the knot they think things will be smooth sailing and don’t expect difficult times. When the tough times do come they have no way of handling them and moving on effectively.
Taking stock of your arguments and disagreements can help pinpoint all the trouble spots in your marriage.
Auditing is a systematic and independent examination of books, accounts, documents and vouchers of an organisation to ascertain how far the financial statements present a true and fair view of the concern. It also attempts to ensure that the books of accounts are properly maintained.
This process can be a valuable tool in a marriage.
“Like any goal, if you are not tracking how you are doing and tracking what’s working and what’s not, and putting in place agreements about what is working and what isn’t, then you end up seven years later with a big mess and a big divorce,” says Dr Dar Hawks, an American relationship expert
Here are a few steps to take to improve your marriage:
Schedule a seven minute meeting with your spouse every three months.
Prepare for your seven minute meeting by identifying no more than three things that you argue about from your perspective or that bug you about your relationship or spouse.
Identify what you would like to request from your partner to solve this argument or bug.
Lastly and most importantly, identify three things that you appreciate about your spouse or relationship.
During your seven minute marriage audit meeting:
Share one thing that bugs you and make a request for something you’d like your partner to change.
Then share one thing you appreciate about them.
Your partner should then do the same.
Continue until you have gone through both of your lists.
Done! Call the meeting complete and thank each other for the time, the listening, and for honouring each others requests and commitment.