How To Improve The Outcome Of Your Marriage

By on May 2, 2012

Did you know that the worlds of aviation, engineering, and healthcare can teach us about our marriages?

They can teach us how to improve our marriage outcomes.


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These three fields can bring huge benefits to people’s lives, but the opposite is also true. When things go wrong, they go wrong in a big way. As a result, researchers in these areas have invested lots of time and money into improving outcomes.

One of of the most popular and admired of these ideas is called the Swiss Cheese Model.

And I think it can help us improve our marriages.

Here’s how it goes:

This Swiss Cheese model says that any organization or system (like marriage) is similar to a stack of Swiss cheese slices. Each slice is a barrier against possible problems. The holes are where problems could slip get through.

Yes, each slice has a hole. But the holes are in different places! By placing layer upon layer, it becomes unlikely that the holes will be able to line up. So each layer makes it less likely that a problem can slip through!

How can we use this Swiss cheese model in our marriages?

First, we must recognize that like anything else in life, our marriages will have holes in them. Then, we should grab hold of any layers of protection available.

When we start stacking these layers one on top of the other, we can make our marriages much stronger. 

Here are several layers you can begin to stack right away:

  • A layer of thoughtfulness. We can decide to carry out thoughtful act each and every day.
  • A layer of prayer. Let’s pray actively for our spouses and marriages, and place them in God’s hands.
  • A layer of fun. We can seek out fun and joyful experiences to share together regularly
  • A layer of respect. We can decide to use words and attitudes that convey respect for our spouses. It matters to them!
  • A layer of attention. We can find ways to let our spouses know that they are a priority, and place the priority of our attention towards them
  • A layer of forgiveness. We can choose to grow a spirit of forgiveness and grace into our marriages, so that our spouses know it is safe to make mistakes with us.
  • A layer of hope. We can choose to see our spouses as God’s see them, and have an attitude of optimism and hope about the person they are becoming. Just as we would want for ourselves!

When you purposefully stack these layers together, you create a wall of protection around your marriage that makes it harder for big problems to slip through.

Layers of loving actions and decisions can improve your marriage outcome!

Question: You, your spouse, and your marriage are unique. Can you identify three layers that you know will strengthen your marriage? Write them down. Carry them with you. And use them daily to strengthen and grow your marriage.


Dr. Ann


Originally posted on The Marriage Checklist.

About Dr. Ann

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, and has been featured on, 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. You can read more from Dr. Ann at

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How To Improve The Outcome Of Your Marriage