If you were to grade your marriage, what would you score?

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What you need to know:

  • As newlyweds, we start on grade A+, which is realistically impossible to sustain after the end of the honeymoon phase.
  • Wise couples know that when your grade starts dropping, just like in the academic fields, you should be concerned.

When I was in Class 2, I consistently and faithfully held number 89 out of the 90 pupils. The boy who was ranked number 90, the last, had missed school and not sat the end-of-term examinations. I repeated Class 2 but still maintained number 89, with no drop or improvement.

In that season of my life, I was more focused on survival than on learning.
What this taught me is that the greatest injustice we do to our children is to rank them against each other at home and against others in school.

Has being number one in the entire primary and secondary school helped you in life today? When you join college, you realise no one cares if you were always in the top ten or bottom 100 on the academic ladder.
School is meant to accomplish the holistic growth of a person, not compare them to other’s academic milestones.

A holistic education system will rank an individual’s performance against their previous performance. Education is about growth, and progressive learning, not competition with others.

But parents and teachers alike misunderstand ranking with grading. Grading is what helps us know if we are improving or not. Have you ever graded your marriage? You should.

As newlyweds, we start on grade A+, which is realistically impossible to sustain after the end of the honeymoon phase, because of the artificial support of the dopamine chemical and the serotonin hormone.
Wise couples know that when your grade starts dropping, just like in the academic fields, you should be concerned. You interrogate the cause of the drop, you put extra help to uplift them and when this becomes difficult, you seek extra help in the school system, when grades drop, teachers and parents agree on a change of study habits for the child.

They create time for extra support, as well as address any emotional issues that could be the result of the drop.
Committed teachers incorporate a variety of teaching styles. Do not be quick to dismiss that school trip to a farm. It might be just what your child needs to fully grasp the concept of pollination.

And so is the case with marriages. Progressively grading your marriage will help you assess whether there is growth or if you are dropping.

If you notice a drop in grades from your previous one, you will be forced or inspired, depending on your motivation to interrogate and come up with creative ways to improve your marital grade.
You will ask yourselves constructive questions like, what efforts do we both need to put in to get back to an acceptable grade?

Is our marriage above average, average, below average, or outright poor in the grading system? Remember, once again, grading is not ranking. Where we go wrong though is to compare our marriage with the outward appearance of the Jumas next door.

We do not know what happens indoors, nor do we know the kind of work and the midnight oil they have had to burn to get to where they are now. Ranking ourselves against others does not add value to our relationship. It just makes you feel less, or you get conceited if you perceive yourself as ranking higher than them.
Why do some marriages consistently maintain above average while the rest take on a sure but steady drop? The culprit is a poor team effort. When you are at grade A, is when you should put effort into remaining at that level. Coffee dates – incidentally today is Cappuccino Day – work wonders for grade-A marriages.
Words of affirmation, physical affection, service with love, and overall goodwill towards your person. Marriages that take a nosedive usually have only one person putting in the effort.

Without combined sweat, it turns out that the one working to upgrade their union will take three steps forward and their apathetic partner will pull them two steps back. Soon enough, the zealous partner will get tired and done with trying.

That marriage finds itself at Grade E and by then, it is classified as irretrievable.

Like Humpty Dumpty, not even the king's horses or king's men can put the broken pieces together again. Did you know? It takes two to build a marriage but takes one to bring it down. Ponder that as you grade yours.

To spare your union a burial at the relationship junkyard, you both need to put in equal effort to remain above average.

Karimi is a wife and mother who believes marriage is worth it.