Why Your Marriage Needs A Checklist

Originally published Tuesday, 06 March 2012.


Can a simple checklist really make a big difference in important situations?

In “The Checklist Manifesto,” surgeon and best selling author Atul Gawande explains how sophisticated surgeries can be tripped up.

Despite all the know-how in the operating room, it’s the small problems, such as whether hands are properly washed, that can have the biggest impact.

Gawande concludes that even with a huge growth of our knowledge base in medicine, we still have difficulty applying it.  He then then turns to businesses like construction and restaurant management for a simple yet powerful solution:

The checklist.

The basic idea behind the checklist is that all the bright ideas in the world do you no good if you can’t carry out at least one or two of your great plans.

The humble checklist can be just what is needed to take us from lofty ideas to practical, real-world action.  Gawande found it works in surgery.

How about a checklist for our marriages?

Many of us know what the right steps are in marriage, but it’s another story to take those steps!  The checklist can help us go from ideas to action.

What are some essential items for a marriage checklist?  Each marriage is unique, but here are some basics that I feel apply to all of us:

  1. Regular prayer.  A marriage grounded in God is a marriage on firm footing.  Prayer is our connection to God’s will for our lives.  Is it on our schedules?  When I fall off the wagon on this one, I can truly see and feel the difference.
  2. Proactive communication.  Every house needs preventive spring cleaning, and so do our marriages.  Make regular times during the year to go over the big issues in your lives.  For example, once a quarter you could meet to discuss topics such as your finances, use of free time, health goals. Put aside time to get back on the same page.
  3. The giving habit.  Giving to our spouses is how we show them that we care.  Keep a mental (or actual) list of things you know uplifts your spouse. And then do those things regularly!

Question:  The checklist can be a simple yet powerful tool in our marriages.  What would you put on your marriage checklist?



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I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas.  You can share in the comment box! (just below or upper left)

Dr. Ann is a Christian M.D., wife to a fantastic husband, and mom to a lively gang of three.  At The Marriage Checklist Ann blogs about marriage, motherhood, and more!  She helps women build better life balance and grow great marriages.  Ann blogs on Crosswalk.com, and has been featured on BlogHer.com, Fox news, and Good Morning America.  She loves that every day we can choose to take our best steps forward – for God, for the people in our lives, and for ourselves

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Copyright Dr. Ann 2012

(photo credit:  David Castillo Dominici)