Relationship Fitness

S16: Assess E2: How Good Do You Think Your Relationship Is?

In “Relationship Workout for Men,” Season 16 Episode 2 titled “How Good Do You Think Your Relationship Is?”, Vince engages in a thoughtful exploration aimed at helping men assess their relationships from an analytical perspective. This episode sets the groundwork for understanding relationship quality beyond surface-level interactions, delving into the nuances of what constitutes a satisfying and fulfilling partnership. Vince reintroduces the Relationship Workout Relationship Gauge of Quality (RGQ), a conceptual tool designed to help individuals gauge the strength of their relationships, ranging from weak to strong, based on the quality of interactions, emotional connection, and overall satisfaction. By posing critical questions about the type of intimate relationship one desires, Vince encourages listeners to aim for excellence, advocating that a great relationship is a product of commitment to being an excellent partner. This episode is a call to action for listeners to reflect deeply on their relationships, identifying areas of strength and opportunities for growth.

Welcome to Relationship Workout for Men, a podcast dedicated to helping men be intentional in choosing a better partner, and being a better partner for the person they choose.

Season 16 Episode 2: How Good Do You Think Your Relationship Is?

In the next three episodes, we’ll explore answering the question: How good do you think your relationship is from an analytical, in your head point of view.

Then in episodes 5 and 6 we’ll answer the same question, but more from an emotional perspective answering how good you feel your relationship is, exploring the question from your heart’s point of view.

Note: through the Relationship Workout Program, available at RelationshipWorkout.com, in less than 10 minutes by completing Stage 1 of the Relationship Workout Program – Assess Overall Fitness — you will receive a baseline grade for how good you think and feel your relationship is.

Okay, so way back in Season 1, I introduced the Relationship Workout Relationship Gauge of Quality or RGQ. You can download the image at relationshipworkout.com/resources.

The RGQ is like a speedometer, measuring how good your relationship is at any particular time along your relationship ride – from weak to average to strong.

For instance, if a car’s motor is running on cheap gas, the drive can seem weak. We’re talking feeling like you’re limping along with frequent breakdowns, while life just passes you by. From a relationship perspective, when a relationship is RGQ weak, it’s characterized by perpetual arguing, unceasing drama, persistent problems, clinical to no sex and filled with anger, anxiety, misery and an absence of feeling loved. You essentially feel very disconnected to her.

On the other hand, if your relationship engine is finely tuned, running on racing tires and premium fuel, then hold on and prepare yourself for some fun times ahead! From a relationship perspective, a strong relationship means you’re having phenomenal fun together with little to no drama, while you’re resolving whatever issues emerge. You feel connected with lots of laughter, peace, joy, great sex and growing love.

In the middle state of the RGQ speedometer is what you can call an average relationship. This is a place where you’re more or less tolerating each other. You’re picking your battles, as you have good and bad days together. RGQ average can seem more like being roommates with a mediocre sex life at best and what can feel like a stagnant to declining love together. 

I would venture to surmise with 60% of married couples unhappy that many marriages live in this average RGQ place. Not a complete train wreck, but certainly not great either. In any case, it’s probably not a stretch to say all relationships have room for improvement.

So that said, and to help us answer the question of how good do you think your relationship is, we can take a further step back and ask a more leading question: What type of intimate relationship do you want?

Clearly, men want a relationship driving as much as possible in the strong lane — one filled with fun, joy, connection, great sex (yes, I mean really great sex on the regular), lots of laughter, and a sense of peacefulness. After all, who wants to come home after a long day fighting the office wars only to fight one’s relationship war? We want the feeling that love is growing, versus feeling like you’ve wasted too many years driving a miserable clunker.

But a great relationship doesn’t happen by accident.

Instead, I would venture to say if you want a great relationship, you need to commit yourself to relationship excellence, as also discussed in Season 1. The better the partner you are to her, the more likely you are to have a better to great relationship. In a way, it’s that simple.

Put another way, you want to be the strongest partner possible, and you want the strongest relationship possible, because life is far too short to choose to live day-to-day dealing with a seemingly never-ending stream of anxiety and anger, all triggered within your relationship.

Okay, so you want a great relationship. So, back to our question: How good do you think your relationship is?Where on the RGQ relationship speedometer are you? Strong? Average? Weak? Or asked differently, what letter grade would you give your relationship, ranging from a strong A to an average C to a very weak F?

To help truthfully and accurately answer this question regarding how good your relationship is from an analytical perspective, it helps to take a further step back and review the even more fundamental question discussed way back in season 1: “What is a relationship?” After all, how can you answer the question about relationship quality if you don’t know what a relationship is?

For starters, a relationship doesn’t exist, at least not in physical form. Relationships don’t consist of molecules, like your favorite jeans or sensuous massage oils. You can’t see one. You can’t smell one. You can’t taste one. You can’t physically feel one. You can’t hear one.

Of course, you can see, smell, taste, feel and hear the effects of being in a relationship. You can see her move toward you (barely) dressed in her sexiest naughty nightie. You can smell her skin as your bodies embrace and those silk threads fall to the floor. You can taste her mouth as your lips speak in tongues. You can feel the heat as your bodies intertwine. You can hear the mattress springs freak in frantic rhythm to the passionate mayhem. And, yes, you can feel the broad spectrum of emotions ranging from joy and appreciation to anger and frustration that a relationship can inspire. But again, all these are generated from the relationship.

Rather, relationships only exist in the mind; a relationship is an idea. Boy meets girl. Boy dates girl. After a while, boy and girl decide they are in an intimate relationship. Some people call this being boyfriend and girlfriend. Others call it being partners. Regardless, an intimate relationship is born within the minds of two consenting adults. 

Since a relationship exists only as a thought, rather than in physical form, what are the ethical codes to a relationship? In other words, can a relationship be good or bad? Is there a master set of relationship laws universally agreed upon by all — a set of laws that, if not followed to the precise letter, can put a couple right into some kind of relationship prison? Clearly, not.

Physics has laws though, like the law of gravity. Drop an apple from the top of your head and it will fall to the ground. This is true. However, that apple can’t be good or bad; it’s just an apple. Instead, the apple can only become good or bad by the ethical codes a person gives it. If you hate the taste of apples or God forbids you to eat one, then you might see the apple as bad. 

On the other hand, if your mouth waters uncontrollably to the smell of hot apple pie, or if a hot, bikini-leafed siren Eve tempts you to take a bite of one, then you might see apples as very good (good that is until you see your waistline explode, or God banishes you from paradise!). 

Not only that, but the ideas of good and bad sound so absolute. Can an apple really be thought of as completely bad? One might be allergic to eating an apple, but what about its color, texture, and shape? Can these perhaps not be so terrible?

The point here is one of balance. Rarely can something be thought of as completely good or completely bad. Rather, there are often many facets that describe an object’s form and function — from what the object looks like (meaning its form) to what the object does (meaning its function). 

Within each of these facets, there can be a whole host of benchmarks for how one judges the object’s performance. If the sexy lingerie looks mouth-watering on her and helps erect a yes-do-enter sign, then it may be thought of as a very good thing. On the other hand, if her granny panties only inspire watching the Disney channel, then a trip the next day to the local Victoria’s Secret may be in order.

The same can be said for a relationship. Keeping balance in mind, very rarely can a relationship be thought of as completely good or completely bad. Rather, a relationship consists of many facets. Some facets may seem downright nightmarish when they pay a visit, feeling like a constant stream of angry punches aimed right below the belt. Meanwhile, other facets may feel so amazing that you find yourself floating around with a drunken grin, thinking about tattooing her name just below your belt. 

On a related note, we can have an imbalance in our negative thoughts regarding our relationship. If you only focus on the negative stuff, then chances are you will think things are miserable. There may be 99 fantastic facets to your relationship and one not-so-fantastic one. Focusing all your attention and thoughts on the one negative aspect could rob you of appreciation for the 99 positive things.

It’s the classic glass half-empty or half-full point of view. When you talk to your buddies about her, do you only rag about the negative things, making her out as Godzilla re-born? Or do you paint a more balanced view, pointing out both the positive and negative facts?

This is also one reason a relationship can feel so confusing sometimes. We find ourselves with a mixture of positively good and negatively bad thoughts about the other person spinning in our heads, judged by an evolving and incomplete benchmark. 

And by whose benchmark do all the facets of your relationship get measured as good to bad? The answer is both of you. Both people must choose what to focus on, ultimately determining how good the relationship is and if you stay together. 

But where did this benchmark come from? It doesn’t exist in an inflexible, physical checklist form. You can’t go to the local grocery store and buy your relationship benchmarks. You can’t secure it in a safety deposit box either. Rather, it’s an idea just like your idea of being in a relationship. More accurately stated, your relationship benchmark consists of a collection of your needs, values, experiences, emotional Demons and the voices of your well-meaning family and friends all screaming for your attention.

And which of these voices do you listen to? Are some more reliable than others? Was your father really a good role model for how to be a healthy partner? Is your buddy’s advice just him projecting his own emotional Demons onto you? Do you really agree with the norms and values taught to you by your  cultural upbringing? 

How many of your ideas are just some unresolved Demons lurking within your emotional shadows? Our past conditioning heavily influences our beliefs of what’s good and bad. So, what is uniquely true for you within this collage of sometimes contradicting thoughts?

In summary, your relationship is just an idea, and the benchmarks you use to determine the health and quality of your relationship are just ideas too. 

So, given your relationship and benchmarks are all in your mind, the answer to how good is your relationship only exists only within your mind as well. In fact, all you have control over is what’s in your mind. There’s nothing else. You can’t go to the local mall and return your relationship for a full refund, nor buy a memory upgrade for better performance. 

As a side note, you can’t control what’s in her mind. You can, of course, talk to her, and perhaps she may change her thoughts by understanding yours. However, ultimately, she will have to make the call. It’s her mental journey, not yours. In some sense, you’re just along for her mental ride.

So, with that background, we bring back the Relationship Quality equation we introduced way back in Season 1, where the quality of your relationship can be analytically defined by the amount of fun, positive-filled moments you’re having together versus the amount of negative, drama-filled moments that come to play. Put simply, you’re more likely to think your relationship is good to great if you have a lot more fun than drama, and you’re comfortable with the level of drama. Likewise, you’re more likely to think you have an average to weak relationship the more drama to fun you’re having.

So, from here I want to make two points:

  1.  I believe the more important element to analytically understanding the quality of your relationship is the amount of drama. After all, if you’re having a lot of drama, then you’ll be less likely to want to do fun things together.
  2. None of us our perfect, so we’ll all contribute some level of drama into our relationship. So how do we reduce the amount of drama we contribute to help improve the quality of our relationship?

So those will be the topics of our next two episodes as we explore answering from an analytical perspective how good is your relationship.

In the next episode, episode 3, we’ll summarize areas where you can be contributing drama by reviewing the relationship core areas as described in the Relationship Workout Framework and discussed in the first 15 seasons of this podcast.

Then in episode 4, we’ll explore the question of how comfortable are you with the level of drama that is in your relationship?

 Again, on our journey to answering the question: How good do you think your relationship is?

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