Marriage is a wonderful bond between two people who love and cherish each other. However, like any other relationship, it is not immune to problems. Sometimes, the issues in a marriage can be minor and can be resolved through communication and compromise. However, in some cases, the problems can be severe and can signal that the marriage is in deep trouble. In this article, we'll discuss five warning signs that your marriage may be in trouble.
1. Your Connection Fizzles
“As a marriage fails, resentment and contempt replace the patience and love that used to serve as the groundwork for your connection, says Dr. Elizabeth Schmitz, who co-authored Building a Love that Lasts with her husband, Dr. Charles Schmitz. “You go out of your way to avoid one another, and are happier apart than you are together.” More than just a bump in the road or the discovery of a new hobby, the choice to be away from your spouse (versus simply engaging in separate activities, which can be a healthy trait to have) shows that your connection to one another is fading.
2. You Don’t Fight Fair—or You Don’t Fight at All
“Couples who avoid conflict or sweep things under the rug are at risk of building up resentment, bitterness, and emotional disagreement, says April Eldemire, LMFT. “Couples who shy away from discord either don’t feel safe enough to talk about difficult topics with their partner or may only have a superficial connection.” Disagreeing in a healthy and safe way, where you can address issues head-on and overcome hardship together, is a skill that will help you stand the test of time. On the other end of the spectrum, some couples begin to fight constantly and don’t fight fairly.
3. You Can’t Communicate
A sign of a healthy relationship is open communication, so if you’re not talking (or are only making small talk), you should be wary. “Failing marriages lose the ability and the willingness to resolve marital problems,” says Dr. Schmitz. “There are fewer meaningful conversations, and mutual challenges are overlooked or ignored. No problem was ever resolved or disagreement broached when people refused to communicate, so if you’re not talking, you’re in trouble.
Sometimes, in an effort to avoid a fight or upset your partner, you might withhold information to try to protect them. Says Eldemire, “As good as your intentions may seem, if the withheld information is discovered later, it can cause significant turmoil and a feeling of betrayal that you might not have if you discussed things from the beginning.
5. Intimacy is Non-Existent
Yes, intimacy refers to sex, but it can also refer to more PG actions like holding hands, snuggling, hugging, or simply touching one another while you’re talking. “Sex is not the most important element of a successful marriage, but intimacy (and therefore sex) is still an important aspect,” says Dr. Schmitz. “If you and your partner feel more like roommates than a couple sharing the intimacies and the intricacies of marriage, you’ve lost a key building block of your relationship.”