How to Save Your Relationship
In olden days there were four customary remedies when you awoke to find that your life's partner no longer inflamed you: divorce court, adultery, counselling or gin. Progress, however, has supplied a new option to reignite a relationship - all you need is a keyboard and a good memory for past grievances. Eli Finkel, a US Professor of Psychology, has devised a seven-minute audit which, when completed by couples every four months, should strengthen and lengthen their union, and there must be something in it because the results were published in the cerebral journal, Psychological Science.
A key component of this audit is a resume of a recent rows. This presents a difficulty. I've never knowingly had a row with the Vicar. He's too good-natured and apologetic and I'm too idle to rouse myself to wrath. Brief sulks, maybe and occasional peevishness, but the professor is after far meatier fare than this. Then it occurs to me that his hypothesis is flawed. Revisiting past warfare, when the wounds are half healed and the weaponry decommissioned, is going, surely, to rekindle old grievances.
I am keen, though, to test the durability of vicarage life. And so I have devised my own audit, scientifically tested, which, when completed should expose the inner core of your relationship. Take it, if you dare, and find out how long you've got left together:
You find a web of your partner's used dental floss hanging off the loo seat.
a) Waste not want not and give your own pearlies a quick once-over.
b) Use your partner's tooth brush to scrape it into the lavatory bowel.
c) Plot bloody vengeance with a Tampax.
There's one chocolate Hobnob left in the tin at coffee time.
a) Fake a digestive tract disorder and beg them to remove it from your sight as a favour.
b) Cut it in two and sneak the bigger half.
c) Tell them their subcutaneous fat layers will see them dead by fifty and swallow the whole thing yourself.
Your partner announces that they have a book inside them and require a fortnight's sabbatical in Greece to coax it out.
a) Order them a snorkel set to encourage them to relax amid their labours.
b) Book flights for them - and for both the children.
c) Screech a reminder that it's been three years since you had that one childless day off in Wolverhampton, then shred their passport.
The cat wees on your corner of your just-washed, only available duvet cover.
a) Hail a taxi to John Lewis to replenish the linen cupboard.
b) Quarantine the soaked end inside your partner's sock to keep your pyjamas dry.
c) Turn the duvet round so the corner is on your partner's side.
Your partner turns on a re-run of the footie when Mr Selfridge is about to begin.
a) Open an improving historical text and thank them for sparing you an indolent intellect.
b) Offer them a loud summary of their failings during the action, then grab the remote control at half time.
c) Dangle their iPad3 over the slow cooker until they switch over.
You are roused in the small hours by a vomiting child.
a) Creep out of the marital chamber, sluice child, sheets and carpet single-handed and implore them to throw up more quietly so as not to awake Daddy/Mummy.
b) Elbow your partner awake and tell them to scrape the sheets into the washing up bowl whilst you run a bath for the kid.
c) Remind your partner that you cleared out the last cat litter tray and leave the job to them.
Your partner asks you to accept three speeding points on their behalf to safeguard their future career.
a) Sign the forms and plan the mansion their future career may buy you.
c) Sign the forms under marital coercion.
d) Sign the forms then expose the blighter in the national media.
Mainly a): You are a doormat. Your cloying subservience could be undermining your relationship.
Mainly b): You are a cunning compromiser. But remember, compromising positions can undermine your relationship.
Mainly c): You are a loud-mouthed egotist. Your ruthless pursuit of self-gratification could be undermining your relationship.
See? You should be feeling much better about your union now and it will undoubtedly be stronger following these mutual self-revelations. For maximum effect repeat this audit every three months.* Now tell me in strictest confidence, how did you score?
* Warning: the results of this survey may cause side effects. The audit team cannot be held liable for the subsequent breakdown of a relationship.