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Marriage Work-Out Team Building

Chapter 2: Supportive vs Defensive Marital Climate

Marital Team-Behavior Rating Scale

Directions: Below is a 10-point scale to be used in rating your marital team partner on the use of the ten behavior traits listed below. Read the behavior descriptions and determine how it characterizes your partner’s position on the marital team. Select the value from the 10-point scale that best reflects this level and enter that number in the provided space.

10        Extremely characteristic: entirely consistent behavior

9          Very characteristic: behavior occurs 95% of the time

8          Quite characteristic: behavior occurs at least 75% of the time

7          Pretty characteristic: behavior occurs more than 50% of the time

6          Fairly characteristic: behavior occurs more than 25% of the time

5          Somewhat characteristic: occasional behavior, less than 25% of the time

4          Fairly uncharacteristic: this behavior seldom occurs, less than 15% of the time

3          Pretty uncharacteristic: this behavior rarely occurs, less than 10% of the time

2          Quite uncharacteristic: this behavior rarely occurs, less than 5% of the time

1          Extremely uncharacteristic: completely inconsistent behavior


Rate               Description of My Partner’s Behavior

_____ (1) Open and candid in dealing with me and is not closed, cautious, keeping feelings hidden.

_____ (2) Hears, respects, and accepts my comments and reactions and is not defensive, dismissing my feelings as being of little consequence

_____ (3) Readily admits to confusion and/or lack of knowledge about a topic under discussion and does not pretend to understand, bluffing all the way.

_____ (4) Tries hard to understand my feelings. Works at obtaining information to facilitate understanding. Is not indifferent nor shows superficial concern.

_____ (5) Values my input, encourages my contributions to discussions and is not selective in requesting feedback; does not consider my contributions as inferior.

_____ (6) Welcomes and appreciates my attempts to help even when my feedback is confrontational, direct, and/or critical. Is gracious in a confrontation; and does not act hurt and indifferent.

_____ (7) Is open to my opinions on team decisions and is not controlling; does not manipulate team decisions.

_____ (8) Encourages collaboration on problems and solicits my definitions of and solutions to mutual problems and is not rigid and does not apply rules mechanically; is not controlling.

_____ (9) Is spontaneous in giving opinions, freely says whatever is on his/her mind, no matter how ''far out,'' and does not keep in line with patterns of the past and is not afraid to break out of the ''rut.''

_____ (10) Is supportive both intellectually and emotionally when I'm stuck and struggling to

express myself and does not let me flounder in my inabilities and does not try to go on without me, ignoring my feelings.

Scoring and Interpretation of the Rating Scale

Add the value of the ratings you gave your spouse and enter that score below.

My spouse's score_______           The score given me _________

Score                         Interpretation

80 to 100                   Extremely supportive marital climate

60 to 79                     Very supportive marital climate

40 to 59                     Mildly  supportive somewhat defensive marital climate

20 to 39                     Very defensive marital climate

0 to 19                       Extremely defensive marital climate

The higher the score a spouse receives on this scale, the higher the level of support that spouse gives. The lower the score a spouse receives on this scale, the lower the level of support and the more defensive that spouse is with the partner. The variables that determine the marital climate are the ten behavior patterns listed:

Item    Behavior giving a supportive climate

1          Trust

2          Empathy

3          Security

4          Tolerance

5          Equality

6          Openness

7          Democracy

8          Consensus

9          Spontaneity

10        Support


Discussion Questions to cover with your partner after completing Team Behavior Rating Scale

  1. How can we improve the emotional climate of our marital team?
  2. What obstacles impede the improvement of our emotional climate?
  3. How can each of us improve the emotional tone of our marital team?
  4. In what behavior do we excel on our marital team?
  5. What corrective actions must be made before we initiate a program of Marriage Work-out?
  6. Why do the scores I’ve given you differ from the scores you gave me?
  7. What does this exercise say about our perceptions of one another?
  8. How does the current climate of our marriage affect problem solving by our marital team?
  9. What does this exercise say about the level of:(1) trust; (2) empathy; (3) security; (4) tolerance; (5) equality; (6) openness; (7) democracy; (8) consensus; (9) spontaneity; (10) support in our marital relationship
  10. Why is a supportive climate essential for us to grow closer?
  11. How does the inability to forgive and forget, interfere with a supportive climate for our team?
  12. How does vulnerability impact the supportive climate of our team?
  13. How does competition interfere with the supportive climate of our team?
  14. What part does sharing our spiritual feelings play in developing a supportive team?
  15. How could our beliefs about God and religion impact the supportive climate of our team?
  16. What have we learned about assumptions? Jumping to conclusions? Clarifying feelings and communicating without fear? Being willing to be vulnerable?