Would you and your spouse consider each other to be a safe haven? Do you trust him or her to care for you and hold your heart? In your experience, has your spouse been there for you, attempted to understand you, and always treated you in a considerate and kind manner?
Your answers to these questions are vitally important as one sign of a good marriage is whether or not you perceive your spouse to be your safe haven. That is, if you experience your spouse to be trustworthy, emotionally available, and considerate.
When you feel your spouse cares, is there for you and that together you can face the difficulties of life, your spouse becomes a source of friendship, strength, comfort and love. Research shows that an important key to a happy and satisfying marriage is the quality of your emotional connection—or whether or not you perceive your marriage to be your safe haven.
The following is a quiz to help you measure the key "safe haven" ingredients in your marriage. If you perceive your spouse to be high on this safe haven scale, then you will most likely experience high marital satisfaction and happiness.
The safe haven scale is comprised of three subscales, each an essential ingredient to a safe haven marriage. The first subscale is trust. Do you trust your spouse to be caring and loving in your relationship? Second is the subscale for emotional availability. Do you perceive your spouse to be emotionally available to you? And the third subscale is for responsiveness. Does your spouse respond to you in a considerate and caring manner?
Carefully review each question, because how you rank each one (on a scale of 1-5) will give you insight into your relationship. When you consider all three areas—trust, emotional availability, and responsiveness—you'll come up with an overall picture of how you perceive your spouse (and how he or she perceives you) as a haven of safety.
1. My spouse is honest with me.
2. I can trust my spouse.
3. My spouse has the best interest of our relationship foremost in his/her mind
4. I can accept the decisions my spouse makes in important areas of our relationship.
5. My spouse is not self-centered or selfish.
6. I am certain that my spouse will not intentionally hurt me.
1. My spouse gives me his/her full attention when I need to share what's important to me.
2. I can count on my spouse to be emotionally accessible when I need him/her.
3. I am able to talk openly with my spouse about what's important to me.
4. We give and receive support from each other with ease.
5. My spouse is willing to put aside what he/she is doing to spend time with me
6. My spouse does not seem to give more time and attention to things other than our marriage.
1. Even though we might have different views, my spouse tries to take my perspective into consideration.
2. I do not have to walk on eggshells around my partner.
3. When we are in conflict, my partner is still able to respond in a considerate way.
4. When making important decisions, I know my partner will think through my point of view.
5. My spouse is understanding of my moods and feelings.
6. We are able to constructively resolve our relationship hurts.
If you scored the majority of the items as 3, 4, or 5, then most of the time, if not all the time, your spouse is trustworthy, emotionally available, and responsive. You trust your spouse will be there for you and respond in a considerate and caring manner.
If you scored any of the questions 2, 1 or 0, consider why—as those areas of your relationship should be of concern. Think over how your spouse would have answered the above questions. Consider how you both can change to make your relationship more of a safe haven. How can you be more trustworthy, more emotionally available and more responsive?
Choose to become a safe haven.
Whether you are going through a season of conflict and disconnection, or if you are in a marriage you look forward to coming home to, we invite you to enter a season of renewal and growth. It is our prayer that even if your spouse is not in this growth process with you, you will risk growing in these areas so that you can experience God's changing power in your life.
Be the best version of you. Choose to become more Christ-like in the ways you love and relate, despite what your spouse may or may not do. Discover the person God has in mind for you to be; and with courage, be that in every interaction with your spouse. Choose to become a safe haven, choose to be more trustworthy, more emotionally available and more responsive. Your willingness to grow as a person will bring you a sense of inner peace, and you will live a life of integrity.
If you find yourself stuck in a difficult marriage and unable to make changes, it would do you well to seek out help, such as counseling or a Safe Haven Marriage Intensive. Risk to reach out and find resources to help you start on a journey to heal your marriage and make it a safe haven.