When we first got married we were introduced to the 1-10 scale. Twenty years later, it is the advice that we are happy to pass on to ALL newlyweds. It has helped ease frustrations and stop arguments before they start!
This is how it works:

VB: “It’s Friday night, what do you want to do?”
KB: “I don’t know, maybe go out to dinner?”
VB: “How about a movie?”
KB: “Ok, which one?”
VB: “Definitely action movie, that new James Bond movie!”
KB: “Oh, how about a romance? There is a Jane Austen Film Fest!”
VB: “On a scale of 1-10, I’m about a 1.”
KB: “Really, I’m a 9!”
VB: “Not my favorite, but ok, I’ll watch ONE movie with you.”

All of a sudden the scale makes the activity objective. I know exactly how he feels about sitting through a “Bonnet Movie Marathon.” And, he knows exactly how much it means to me to see it. It makes me appreciate his willingness to spend time doing something that I want to do. Next time he has something that is a 9 and a 1 to me…I’m much more willing to go along.

Sometimes we are both a 5 on the scale, as were just asking to be polite or for something to do. Neither one of us wants to go to a movie, but would rather go visit friends. We’ve learned to ask before we make big plans, and to really be honest about how we spend our time together.

We’ve used the 1-10 scale with everything from movies and where to eat, to things like destinations for family vacations, baby names, money management, and parenting techniques. The scale makes it objective and a place where we can start the conversation.

Often I’ve been surprised at where my husband is on the scale and vice versa. The first time he brought home fresh flowers, he was surprised at my reaction. Flowers are about a 2 on my scale…he assumed that they would by a 10 (don’t all girls like flowers? No, to me they were a waste of money—they just die!). I truly appreciated the thought, but was honest in how I felt. Now he buys me flowers to plant in the front yard-which on the scale is a 9 to me!

I also do not expect him to take me to dinner, which is a 2 on his scale. He eats out with work a lot and prefers home cooked meals. If I really want to go to a restaurant, I’ll go with a friend for lunch. He appreciates family meals and I love to prepare his favorites.

Does this mean that he never takes me to dinner or brings me flowers… no, occasionally he does and I truly appreciate it. The scale has put out a lot of potential fires and saved buckets of tears in our marriage!

We now use the scale with our kids to find out where they are in family decisions. On a scale of 1-10, it’s a 10!


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