Quiz: Does Your Marriage Work?

Quiz: Does Your Marriage Work?

Take This Test And Find Out If Your Marriage Is Workable — Or Not

Every marriage has its ups and downs. Most couples know this and don’t tend to throw in the towel simply because they endure some tough times. Instead, these husbands and wives often try to tough it out or work through it on their own. This is a perfectly legitimate strategy except when it becomes apparent that it’s been months (sometimes years) since they’ve felt happy — or even just OK — in their marriage and the clouds are not lifting.

Because marital problems are private and people fear being judged, they are often reticent to seek help for their relationship even after the trouble has gone beyond merely a temporary rough patch. In fact, I would surmise that over 60 percent of the couples who enter into therapy have been through so much pain and hurt that they have crossed the line of no return. They are seeking counseling not so much to work on the marriage but so they can look back and say they did everything they could to make the marriage work. Their marriage has stopped working and marital therapy is somewhat of a formality at that point.

What is such a shame is that many more marriages could be salvaged if husband and wife had gone to therapy earlier in the relationship. Maladaptive patterns of relating and ways of treating each other that had years to develop could have been undone before they set” so to speak. Some problems might even have been prevented in the first place.

There are few issues, even having completely opposite values, that cannot be worked out in a relationship if, and only if, both parties are willing and able to do so. In order to resolve a problem in a marriage, there must be an awareness that the problem exists, a willingness to look at the problem and a desire to make the necessary changes to improve the situation.

“The Workability Quiz” was created from the book “Contemplating Divorce: A Step-by-Step Guide to Deciding Whether to Stay or Go,” which discusses the “workability factors” in a marriage, including trust, respect, communication, compatibility and more. The quiz is a tool designed to help people assess in a general way how well their marriage operates.It represents a partial list of the various areas in which the marital relations either work or don’t work. This quiz is meant to be a preliminary assessment and should not be the sole basis for a decision whether to stay in the marriage or leave.

From the following scenarios, circle the letter of the answer that most closely resembles the way you and your spouse would interact in the same situation. Then enter the letters in the answer key to calculate your score. This score will tell you where your marriage falls on the workability scale.


1. Your spouse says s/he is going to be working late again. You:

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a. Believe her/him without question.

b. Don’t believe her/him.

c. Wonder if s/he’s telling the truth since s/he lied about working late at least once before.

2. You have had a tough day and that evening, you start to tell your spouse about it. In response, your spouse:

a. Turns up the volume on the television.

b. Turns the television off, sits you down and asks what happened.

c. Turns down the volume on the television and asks you about what happened.

3. When you and your spouse argue:

a. You both scream and shout at the same time trying to get the other person to hear the other.

b. Listen to each other and each have a chance to express your viewpoints.

c. One or both of you becomes emotional at first but you eventually calm down to where you can converse.

4. When an issue comes up between you and your spouse, you resolve it by:

a. One of you automatically defers to the other for the solution.

b. You have an unspoken agreement that you won’t talk about the issue and you’ll both hope it goes away.

c. You work on finding a resolution together.

5. Your spouse suggests that you go on vacation together for two weeks. You:

a. Get excited at the thought of spending two whole weeks with your spouse on your ideal vacation.

b. Get a knot in the pit of your stomach thinking about how you’ll have to suffer through his or her idea of a vacation.

c. Say yes but mean no because you don’t want to be away from the kids or work that long.

6. You and your spouse are at a dinner party. Your spouse says something derogatory to you in front of your friends. You:

a. Say nothing until you get home and then you let your spouse have it.

b. Yell at your spouse in front of the others.

c. Gently but firmly tell your spouse in front of the guests, don’t put me down, dear.

7. Something your spouse has done has upset you and you:

a. Never let your spouse forget it and bring it up every chance you can.

b. Stuff your feelings hoping that they will go away.

c. Tell him or her directly that you want to talk about what’s upsetting you.

8. Your spouse starts flirting with your good friend. You:

a. Make some excuse as to why you and your friend need to leave.

b. Tell your spouse right then and there that s/he’d better knock it off or you’ll divorce him or her.

c. Ask your spouse about it later and let him or her know that it made you feel insecure.

9. Your spouse responds to this last scenario by:

a. Going out of his/her way to make sure you feel comfortable the next time you all meet.

b. Apologizing profusely but doing it again the next time you all get together.

c. Telling you you’re crazy.

10. Your spouse partied too much one night and can’t get up to go to work the next morning. You:

a. Are shocked since this is so out of character for him/her.

b. Pray once again that s/he get sober.

c. Express concern to your spouse that s/he would risk losing her/his job over a few drinks since this happened once before two years ago.


1. a = 3 complete trust

b = 1 no trust

c = 2 questionable trust

2. a = 1 no support

b= 3 very supportive

c = 2 somewhat supportive

3. a = 1 no communication/abuse

b = 3 good communication

c = 2 sufficient communication

4. a = 2 one person resolves the issues

b = 1 issues are not addressed or resolved

c = 3 cooperative resolution to issues

5. a = 3 shared interests

b = 1 no shared interests

c = 2 some shared interests

6. a = 2 questionable esteem for self and/or other

b = 1 no esteem for self &/or other

c = 3 some esteem for self &/or other

7. a = 1 unwillingness to work on the marriage

b = 2 resistance to work on the marriage

c = 3 willingness to work on the marriage

8. a = 2 avoid conflict and never state truth

b = 1 engage in conflict and make threats

c = 3 avoid conflict but state truth appropriately

9. a = 3 sincere desire to create safe environment

b = 2 insincere desire to create safe environment

c = 1 no desire to create safe environment

10. a = 3 presumably no addiction issues present

b = 1 ongoing untreated addiction/co-addiction

c = 2 destructive tendencies but no apparent addiction


Once you have your total, refer to the scale below to determine how workable your marriage is.

10-14 Workable only if both parties are willing to work very hard to make some drastic changes to the patterns of relating

15-24 Very good chance that your marriage is workable but will require some hard work to change patterns of relating

25-30 A highly workable marriage that may or may not require that changes be made to patterns of relating

If you discover that your marriage will require hard work to change the patterns of relating, it is advisable to seek outside assistance as soon as you can.

The Workability Quiz was created as part of “Contemplating Divorce: A Step-by-Step Guide to Deciding whether to Stay or Go.” It is the property of Susan Pease Gadoua and may not be copied, distributed or used without her prior written consent. Go to www.ContemplatingDivorce.com for more information.

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