top of page

Relationship Triage: Diagnosing Marriage Issues

Marriage is a sacred bond between two individuals, promising love, support, and companionship through life's ups and downs. Just as medical triage is employed to prioritize and treat patients based on the severity of their conditions, the concept of relationship triage offers a valuable framework for diagnosing and addressing issues in a marriage. Drawing parallels between medical triage and relationship dynamics can provide insights into the importance of timely intervention and nurturing.

Understanding Medical Triage

In the medical field, triage is the process of assessing patients to determine the urgency of their conditions and allocate resources accordingly. This method ensures that critical cases receive immediate attention, thereby increasing the chances of successful treatment. Similarly, in a marriage, identifying and addressing issues through relationship triage can prevent minor concerns from escalating into major problems. Just as medical triage emphasizes timely intervention, couples must recognize the significance of proactive communication and support in their relationships.

Step 1: Recognize the Signs

Much like a patient's symptoms indicate the severity of their ailment, marriages exhibit signs that reflect the health of the relationship. Research by renowned psychologist Dr. John Gottman suggests that contempt, criticism, defensiveness, and stonewalling are key indicators of a troubled marriage. Scripture also encourages self-awareness and humility, urging couples to acknowledge their shortcomings and seek reconciliation.

Step 2: Prioritize and Assess

In medical triage, patients are categorized into different levels of urgency. Similarly, couples must prioritize their issues based on their impact and urgency. Regular check-ins and open conversations can help assess the emotional, spiritual, and practical aspects of the marriage.

Step 3: Provide Immediate Care

Critical medical cases receive immediate attention to stabilize the patient. Similarly, couples must address urgent issues promptly to prevent further damage. Active listening, validation, and seeking professional help if needed are crucial steps in providing immediate care to a marriage.

Step 4: Implement Long-Term Strategies

After stabilizing a patient's condition, doctors plan long-term treatments. In a marriage, couples should collaboratively develop strategies to address underlying problems. This might involve setting boundaries, improving communication skills, and investing in shared activities. Grounding these strategies in Christian values such as faith, hope, and perseverance can foster lasting change.

Step 5: Regular Check-Ups

Post-treatment, medical patients require follow-up appointments to monitor their progress. Similarly, couples should schedule regular "relationship check-ups" to evaluate the effectiveness of their strategies and make necessary adjustments. Engaging in prayer, Scripture reading, and seeking spiritual guidance can help couples maintain a strong foundation.


Just as medical triage is indispensable for saving lives, relationship triage is a vital concept for nurturing and preserving marriages. By recognizing the parallels between medical and relationship dynamics, couples can diagnose and address issues with a sense of urgency and purpose. Remember, just as patients heal with proper care, marriages flourish with intentional effort and God's grace.

33 views0 comments


bottom of page