Are you worried that you’re headed for divorce?
It’s not always easy to tell if what you’re experiencing is normal… or if it’s a sign that your marriage is in serious jeopardy.
Here are 9 signs to look for that indicate your marriage is failing, and how to address them so that you can get back on track.
For most of us, sex is an important part of love. It’s how we express our feelings for one another, connect, and relieve tension.
A recent study published in the journal of Psychological Science found that couples who had regular sex experienced a “sexual afterglow” for up to 48 hours following the act and would report higher marital satisfaction up to six months later!
Now, this doesn’t mean that you should only be having sex once every six months. You should try to make sex a priority in your relationship if you want to make it work in the long term. It’s easy to let kids, work and life get in the way of your sex life, but sex is meant to be an escape from these everyday problems.
If you’re noticing a downward trend in the quantity and quality of your sex, talk with your partner about it and make a plan. It can feel silly at first, but if you make an effort to mix it up and try new things in the bedroom, you’ll increase your sex drives and when you work to satisfy them your marriage will improve as a result.
A lack of conflict is seen by many as a sign of a good marriage. In reality, it’s actually a very bad sign for your future together.
While intense, prolonged conflict is destructive to any relationship, a complete lack of conflict represents a problem on the other end of the spectrum.
This is because conflict is an important part of any relationship. Because a marriage is about two very different people coming together to form one whole, there is going to be friction and tension. Conflict is both the expression of this tension and, ultimately, the resolution of it.
Basically, you can’t fix your marriage problems without addressing them, and there’s no marriage in the world without its fair share of problems.
A general lack of conflict on its own is not necessarily a sign that your spouse wants a divorce. You need to look for indicators that your spouse is resigned and checked out of the marriage. So if constant fighting has turned to peace without any resolution, you may be in trouble.
This is the other side of the coin. If you or your spouse seems to be constantly on your case about the mistakes you’re making, that’s a sign that your marriage is failing. As I’ve said, conflict can be positive, but nagging is not.
If your spouse doesn’t even try to disguise their contempt for you, or they seem to be constantly looking for negatives to shame you about, then you are in serious trouble. This indicates a serious resentment has built up in your marriage, and nagging is just the pressure valve to release that tension.
Nagging can also be indicative of a seriously negative personality in one or both of you and that will eventually cause a rift in the relationship.
Separate beds is the classic sign of a troubled marriage and for good reason.
First, the marriage bed is a symbol of the intimacy you share with your spouse. When you choose marriage, you’re choosing to join your life with another person. This means living together, sharing finances, and sharing a bed. A rejection of this aspect of marriage, whatever your reason, is a rejection of marriage as a whole.
Second, it suggests a serious problem with intimacy that rarely exists in a vacuum. Basically whatever is driving you away from your marriage bed is also keeping you from fully engaging in your marriage, and when you’re not engaging in your marriage, it’s only a matter of time before it falls apart.
Third, the decision to start sleeping in separate beds is a recognition of defeat. One or both of you have decided that sleeping together is more trouble than it’s worth. This decision may be made for practical reasons and seem like a good idea at the time, but looking back, you’ll quickly realize that this decision marks a turning point for your love story. In essence, by choosing separate beds, you’re beginning to give up on your marriage.
There are exceptions, of course. If one or both of you have serious health problems or work drastically different schedules then separate beds don’t necessarily mean that your marriage is in trouble. The important thing is that you want to sleep in the same bed and make every effort to sleep together when you can.
Marriage is not just about the present moment -- it’s about looking forward to the future. Even if everything seems fine on the surface, if you and your spouse have stopped making plans for the future, then you’ve got a problem.
There are several reasons that we may find ourselves in this situation. Sometimes we subconsciously realize that our marriage is coming to an end and so we avoid making plans too far in advance, figuring that it will be over before that time comes.
In other cases, tension has become such a problem that we’re unwilling to even bring up the idea of making plans with our spouse because we’re afraid of conflict, rejection, or even mockery. In extreme cases, we avoid making plans because we simply don’t want to spend time with our spouse because we know that it won’t be very fun or exciting.
But, in most cases, the main problem is a lack of time and money. While this is the best case scenario, it will lead to the same result. If you don’t have time to spend with your spouse, even if you both have a good reason, your marriage will not survive.
You need to make time together a priority and make plans to look forward to. It doesn’t need to be a second honeymoon to Hawaii or a European vacation. It can be as simple as a walk around the block after work or buying tickets for the next big movie you both want to see.
Whatever your plans, treat them with respect and significance. Even the most simple of activities can become the traditions that keep you together.
This is an insidious sign that your marriage is failing and you’re heading for divorce. Listen to how you and your spouse talk about one another. Are you constantly making plans separately? Do you see each other as completely independent? More than anything, have you stopped saying “we” and started saying “me” more often?
While this change is subtle, it can easily creep in and destroy your marriage over time. If you find that you’re drifting apart, try to reframe your language so that you’re less focused on yourself, and more focused on your life together as a couple.
But don’t stop there. Language is only half the battle. You need to make the effort to get more involved in each other’s lives. You don’t need to be joined at the hip but you should get to know their friends and family, spend time together as a couple, and try new things together.
Conflict can be very destructive to your relationship, but I find that tension is even worse. The problem with tension is that it gets in the way of the day-to-day happiness and connection that marriage is all about.
When your time together is dominated by what’s going unsaid, resentment is building. This turns time together into a negative factor in your relationship, rather than a positive one. If you find that you or your spouse are holding something back and it feels like you’re walking on eggshells, take action to address the problem.
It only takes one of you to break that tension and reach out an olive branch. Figure out what’s on their mind or air your own grievances. Make sure you approach this conversation with love and affection so that anger and hurt feelings don’t come to dominate. Remember that you’re trying to fix your marriage above all else, because this is the person you want to spend the rest of your life with.
They say that “silence is golden”, but this is not always the case in marriage. If your spouse has turned ice cold in your presence and rarely makes the effort to converse with you, this is a sign that your marriage is collapsing.
There are several things this could mean, and none of them are good. Maybe your spouse is seriously considering divorce and doesn’t know how to bring it up. Maybe they’re giving you the silent treatment due to something you did or maybe they’re just through trying to fix what’s wrong. In any case, if your partner has gone silent on you, this is a clear sign that your marriage is in serious trouble.
Meet coldness with warmth to break down their defenses and touch their heart.
This is the strongest and most important indicator of all. If you have a gut feeling that your marriage isn’t working then chances are, you’re right
It can come as a gnawing in the pit of your stomach, a general sense of unease, or the feeling that you two are drifting further and further apart. Don’t ignore these feelings -- address them!
Be aware that if you’re a typically anxious and worrying person then you need to figure out when to listen to your gut and when to be skeptical of your first instinct. But for most people, your intuition is a clear indicator when something is wrong in your relationship, so listen up.
If you’re in this situation, there’s nothing specific you can do to make it go away. Instead, take stock of your marriage and look to the other signs in this list to turn it around. The good thing about this gut feeling is that when it finally goes away, you’ll know your marriage is back on track.