Some Warning Signs Of a Troubled Marriage
What are the signs of problems that need to be addressed?
Sometimes the signs are glaring and obvious–domestic violence, high levels of conflict on a daily basis, serious addictions, repetitive infidelity–but far more often, problems seem to creep up on people a little bit at a time. So it can be with dysfunctional families, marriages, or even organizations. It seems OK until suddenly it doesn’t. Since only a precious few learned the necessary skills to weather the ups and downs of a long-term relationship, it is easy to slip into negative patterns of relating–either to oneself or to loved ones–or both.
You are no longer warm or affectionate with your partner.
Some people try to defend their lack of physical warmth by saying it’s not how they are built but when you see them with their children, they touch and tussle, smile and cuddle. Often when affection begins to wane in a marriage, it is a symptom of unexpressed resentment that needs to be uncovered and worked through.
You don’t create enough time together doing enjoyable activities.
Happy loving couples make their friendship a priority. Even on weeks when they can’t afford the time or money for a date night, they participate in activities that bring playfulness and joy into the relationship. Some couples work out together, take walks when weather permits, play cards or games, entertain other friends and family, play sports, watch movies, or read books.
You stop having sex or have it very infrequently.
One of the enjoyable activities that make marriage special is the ongoing availability of a sexual connection. Contrary to myths perpetrated by the media, married people in general have more sex than their single counterparts, averaging between one to two times weekly. If you begin to notice that the time between lovemaking is growing longer, this is another symptom of decreased connection. Both men and women get a boost of oxytocin–the bonding hormone–when sexual or even when cuddling, so paradoxically, if you have sex, you will then feel close (and more sexual) again.
One or both partners stop good self-care.
Happier couples still dress up when they go on a date night as if they were courting a new relationship. Since a big part of our attraction to others is visual, it is important to want to look good for each other.
Marriage takes commitment and caring, both for oneself and for your partner. When either person begins to take the relationship for granted, resentments often build. Recent surveys have shown that both men and women are turned off when their mate puts on weight, stops dressing fashionably or grooming adequately.
You blame your partner for your unhappiness .
Couples that don’t fight or fight very infrequently seem to have the illusion that their marriage is going well even when it isn’t. If you feel constantly criticized or are feeling critical of your partner on a regular basis, it is a sign that issues need to be put on the table rather than shoved under the rug.
You are lonely even when your partner is in the same room.
If you feel lonely in your marriage, it is time to take action. Most likely, your partner is also feeling the same thing. Loneliness is the fertile soil for affairs. Most infidelities are not due to sexual desires–although certainly sexless marriages contribute to longing–but they begin more innocently as a desire for friendship.
Contempt has crept into your conflicts.
Be on the lookout for contempt–it is a relationship killer of massive proportions. Contempt is a form of criticism with a twist of judgment and bitterness thrown in. Simply observing couples arguing for a few minutes can help a trained observer accurately forecast the fate of a relationship.
Get Help Before It’s Too Late!
It is important to know the telltale signs of a failing marriage. Pay close attention. When you witness the signs, take action. Save your relationship if you can. Having a healthy and happy marriage is one of the great success stories of life. It is not too late to save your marriage.