It’s important to be on the lookout for warning signs that your marriage may be in trouble. Sometimes couples who feel like divorce could never happen to them are surprised to learn that this just isn’t the case. It is important to recognize red flags that may indicate marital problems so you can address them early on.
Of course, every relationship is different and there isn’t one single way to know the health of your marriage. It would be easy if there were a relationship thermometer or computer program that offered you some objective feedback. Since these don’t exist, it can be helpful to be on the lookout for warning signs of potential danger.
Lack of Enjoyment in Activities Together
Do you and your spouse have activities that you enjoy doing together? It’s healthy to have some interests of your own; however it is important that you have activities you enjoy together. Do you enjoy attending social engagements as a couple? Do you have any hobbies or interests that you like to do together? Do you have any activities you look forward to doing together, such as trying something new, or travelling to a new place?
Spending time together doing fun activities can help build a relationship. A lack of common interests or a lack of desire to enjoy these activities together is a red flag. It is important that you create opportunities to play together, try new activities, and go on adventures as a couple.
Continuously Arguing about the Same Subjects
Not all disagreements will result in a win-win outcome and that’s to be expected. However, if you and your spouse keep arguing about the same subjects over and over, it can be a red flag that your marriage may be in trouble. It can show that you aren’t able to solve the problem and that you aren’t willing to let it go. When you can’t agree to disagree, it can cause ongoing harm to your marriage.
Distracting Yourself with Activities Outside the Marriage
If you try to avoid being home, it’s definitely a red flag that signals marital problems. It can also be problematic if you tend to distract yourself from your marriage with other activities such as hobbies or work. Sometimes couples even use their kids to distract themselves from addressing their relationship. Staying away from the house, avoiding your spouse, and not addressing marital issues won’t make your marital problems go away. Instead, when problems aren’t addressed, they tend to get amplified.
More Criticism than Compliments
When couples bicker, complain, and criticize one another frequently, it is often a big red flag that the marriage is in trouble. In healthy marriages, couples support one another, offer praise, and provide much more positive feedback than negative feedback. If you find that you and your spouse are criticizing one another too often, make sure to take action. It can cause a lot of damage to a marriage that may already be in trouble if it isn’t addressed.
You Stop Talking
Communication is key to a happy and healthy marriage. If you and your spouse aren’t talking, it makes it impossible to have a good marriage. It is important to talk about your goals, your hopes, your dreams, and all the things in your day to day life. It is also important to be able to discuss your fears, problems, and feelings. If you aren’t able to talk openly to your spouse or your spouse isn’t talking to you, it is important to seek help. Professional help may be necessary to help you improve your communication and to help you identify underlying causes of communication problems.
Lack of Emotional and Physical Intimacy
Emotional and physical intimacy is what separates a marriage from other relationships. If you aren’t enjoying intimacy, your marriage is in trouble. Emotional intimacy includes factors such as being able to express your feelings, being comfortable in one another’s presence, and a willingness to share private information. Physical intimacy includes sexual activity as well as other signs of physical affection such as holding hands and kissing. Lack of intimacy may be a problem in itself or it may signal deeper underlying issues.
Seeking Help for a Marriage in Trouble
If you think your marriage may be in trouble, it is important to seek help right away. Don’t wait until you are certain it’s in trouble to get help. The earlier you get help, often the easier it is to repair.
A marriage counselor can often help you learn new skills and find tools to help your marriage. Remember, your marriage doesn’t have to be “unhealthy” to seek help. In fact, most marriages could likely benefit from meeting with a professional to fine tune some skills.