It’s time for a checkup; like when a warning lights up your dashboard indicating you need to check the tires, oil, engine, coolant, etc. Well, every relationship especially marriage – needs a warning light too. Unfortunately we sometimes don’t get a warning light until the relationship is far beyond repair.

In December 2013, the world shifted in Utah when Judge Shelby made a monumental decision allowing gays to marry. Everyone was in a flurry and a flutter. Was this for real? How long did we have? Why the rush and the race? Which counties are being progressive and which ones leery? Would the marriages be long-lasting or challenged? Would we finally get this huge achievement in civil rights that we had so long been fighting for? Need we be in such a hurry? Are we taking the necessary time to check against all odds before rushing into the fray?

Fast forward to 2016, many who had long-awaited, never dreaming the day would actually occur, jumped into marriage. Some having weighed all odds, others because a loophole had been opened, and it was a now or never decision with long-lasting outcomes. Hope sprung with every Facebook post, every email, every newspaper article, every online story about Utah legally allowing gays to marry. Hope was abundant and the victory, although unexpected, was upon us all. Gay and straight supporters reveled in the happiness and joy of getting closer to full equality.

I am still hopeful because I can now see so many of us and we can all see more and more of us. Closets are disappearing everywhere. Some gays fear that legal marriage will assimilate us, but I predict just the opposite. Our culture will flourish mightily and even more imaginatively. It’s no wonder our enemies are worried by such potential power. This hope excites me.

But how healthy is your relationship? The following are two lists: one with healthy relationship characteristics and the other with unhealthy ones. All relationships have a combination of both. The point is to seriously consider the traits on each list and determine where focus should be paid to keep the majority on the healthy side. Hopefully this is an excellent way to gain appreciation for the best things and collectively decide what you want to change. I suggest both members in the relationship examine the lists separately and then come together to have a civil and loving discussion about your findings.

Enduring gay marriage is societal measurement; a legacy we all have to seriously do a regular “engine” check. Marriage is a bonding. Bonds are to be taken seriously. Bonds are the first thing we should consider when it comes to marital integrity.

Healthy and Unhealthy Relationship Lists. Check mark those that are warning lights on your relationship

Is it Healthy?

  1. Have fun together more often than not.
  2. Each enjoy spending time separately, with your own friends, as well as each other’s friends.
  3. Always feel safe with each other.
  4. Trust each other.
  5. Are faithful to each other, if you have made this commitment.
  6. Support each other’s individual goals in life, like a career or going to college.
  7. Respect each other’s opinions, even when they are different.
  8. Solve conflicts without putting each other down, cursing at each other or making threats.
  9. Both accept responsibility for your actions.
  10. Both apologize when you are wrong.
  11. Have equal decision-making power about what you do in your relationship.
  12. Each control your own money.
  13. Are proud to be with each other.
  14. Encourage each other’s interests, activities.
  15. Have some privacy – your letters, emails, journal, personal phone calls are respected as your own.
  16. Have close friends and family who like the other person and are happy about your relationship.
  17. Never feel like you are being pressured for sex.
  18. Communicate about sex.
  19. Allow each other space when you need it.
  20. Always treat each other with respect.

Is it Unhealthy?

  1. Gets extremely jealous or accuses the other of cheating.
  2. Puts the other down by calling names, cursing or making the other feel bad about him or herself.
  3. Yells at and treats the other like a child.
  4. Doesn’t take the other person or things that are important to him/her seriously.
  5. Doesn’t listen when the other talks.
  6. Frequently criticizes the others friends or family.
  7. Pressures the other for sex, or makes sex hurt or feel humiliating.
  8. Has ever threatened to hurt the other or commit suicide if they leave.
  9. Cheats or threatens to cheat.
  10. Tells the other how to dress.
  11. Has ever grabbed, pushed, hit, or otherwise physically hurts the other.
  12. Blames the other for your own behavior. (If you hadn’t made me mad, I wouldn’t have…)
  13. Embarrasses or humiliates the other.
  14. Smashes, throws or destroys things.
  15. Tries to keep the other from having a job or furthering his/her education.
  16. Makes all the decisions about what the two of you do.
  17. Tries to make the other feel crazy or plays mind games.
  18. Goes back on promises.
  19. Acts controlling or possessive – like you own your partner.
  20. Uses alcohol or drugs as an excuse for hurtful behavior.
  21. Ignores or withholds affection as a way of punishing the other.
  22. Depends completely on the other to meet social or emotional needs.

Sooooo…YES or NO?

We are a happy couple.

We are a couple who fully creates and knows regular joy.

We are a couple who honestly addresses our worries and concerns.

We are a couple that evaluates our relationship and regularly communicates about it.

We are a hopeful couple regarding the future.

We are equal because we are now married.

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