RELATE: What I Learned

May 4th, 2011

Although I feel like my relationship with my husband is strong and healthy, I realize there are still areas (like I’m sure most couples) that need improvement.

In my previous post, I talked about the RELATE questionnaire which is designed as a relationship inventory to help couples understand and improve their relationship. If I had to narrow down what I learned from the RELATE questionnaire to one message it would be this: You may think you and your spouse see each situation in the same way, but most likely you do not.

It was surprising to see my husband’s results compared to mine. He actually rated me as a better communicator than I thought I was. But not only that, he also rated himself way better at communicating compared to me whereas I only showed a slight difference.

Effective Communication Graph

It was interesting to see how two people who experience the same situation can interpret it so differently. But we took this information and used it for our benefit by trying to understand why the other might see it differently. Understanding where the other person was coming from has made all the difference.

It was important for us to see our discrepancies so we knew how to make adjustments if we needed to. At least for me, it has been helpful to see how exactly my husband sees me (especially in conflict/resolution areas) so I can fix it and make myself a better person in general. Maybe my husband would have eventually told me “I think you are a rather volatile person.” But let’s be honest, if your husband just said that to you, maybe in the heat of an argument, would you really take it well? I know I wouldn’t. It was better for me to see it laid out on paper compared next to my husband’s answers to really understand where I need to improve.

I know I didn’t want to go through my relationship thinking I was better than I really am. Or even worse than I really am! It was good to see how my husband really felt so I could know how to help the relationship progress. And vice versa.

This is what the RELATE questionnaire is really great at. Helping couples see how their partners perceive them in a way that is clear, nonjudgmental and eye-opening. By understanding how your partner views the situation, you can know what you need to do differently, do more of, or just simply come to an understanding that you are both different. By understanding each other, it can only lead to better things in your relationship!

You don’t have to be married to take the RELATE questionnaire. A lot of people who take it are engaged or just in a serious dating relationship. There is another questionnaire called READY for those not in a relationship but wanting to get a sense of their readiness for marriage.

It takes about an hour to take RELATE. To take the RELATE questionnaire, visit www.relate-institute.org. Utah residents can take the RELATE test for free these days! Visit Strongermarriage.org and click on “Engaged” and then “Online Courses.”