Sometimes it is not obvious that your marriage is in trouble. What kinds of signs are you supposed to look for? How are you supposed to know what you are doing wrong?
Although every marriage is different, and will therefore have different problems, there are some overarching problems which can indicate that your marriage might be in trouble.
In order to fix something, you have to know what is wrong in the first place—identifying the issue is half the battle. Make sure that you are always on the look out for problems in your marriage so that you can fix them before they get too bad.
Now, just because you might struggle with some of these things in your marriage does not mean that you need to freak out, thinking you are doomed for failure. The good thing about identifying problems is that you will be able to work on them together.
If you really love each other, you will be able to work through your problems and possibly even come out as a stronger couple. Make sure that you are willing to go into things realizing that you could be the one with the problems. If you are both willing to take fault, you will be able save your marriage!
- Lack of Communication. Have you and your spouse been talking less and less? Are you talking about things that don’t really matter? Do you find yourselves on different pages about things? You might be suffering from a lack of communication. In order for you to have a successful, healthy marriage you need to talk to each other frequently. Not only do you need to talk about the normal, everyday things, but you also need to talk about deeper things, like your dreams, goals, and feelings.
If you have both been communicating with each other less than you used to, you should know that this could be a sign that your marriage is in trouble. If this is happening, try to make more intentional time for each other where you can update each other on your lives. Who knows, rekindling communication could also rekindle any lost romance! (Read: 8 Ways to Rekindle Romance in a Waning Relationship)
- Contempt. One of the most defeating things in a marriage is contempt. Basically what it means is that one person thinks they are better than the other person. So if there is constant eye rolling going on, you need to be aware that there could be something more detrimental going on than just impatience.
Beware of trouble in your marriage if one person feels contempt for the other person. This is a tricky issue to address because it requires the other person to admit fault. This issue could require a lot of talking and understand from both sides in order to repair your relationship.
- Defensiveness. Although there will always be some level of defensiveness in any relationship, especially about touchy subjects, constant defensiveness can be a sign of a deteriorating relationship (Read: 10 Steps to Saving a Broken Marriage).
Defensiveness can also be a sign of guilt. If your spouse is hiding something from you, they might be defensive because they are scared they are going to get caught. In order to get rid of defensiveness, you might want to try to address it…just get ready for your spouse to get defensive about it.
- Stonewalling. This is a pretty bad deal if your partner is stonewalling you. How do you know if you are being stonewalled? Well, if you are getting ignored and rejected, that is a pretty good indicator that you are being stonewalled. Whenever this happens, you should be worried about your marriage.
Refusing to communicate with your partner is asking for a divorce. You always want to be cooperative for the sake of your marriage. If you can learn to cooperate, you might be able to repair any damage done to your relationship—it is definitely worth a shot!
- Criticism. When there is a lot of criticizing going on in a marriage, you should be worried. Criticism can be evidence of a lot of things including discontentment with yourself or with your partner. This is something that can be fixed if you are aware of it being a problem. However, both partners have to be willing to work on this problem. Criticism, if not dealt with immediately, can destroy a marriage. Be very careful to love each other well by not being critical of each other, even if you think they deserve the criticism.
- Keeping Secrets. When couples start keeping secrets from each other, you know there is trouble brewing. One of the most important components in communication is to be open and honest. If you start keeping secrets from each other you will be greatly impaired in your relationship. Keeping secrets is so devastating to a marriage because it will create a lot of strife and it will create opportunities for bad things to happen if you have a habit of being secretive.
- Lack of Quality Time. It is very important for couples to spend quality time with each other. It is easy in a marriage for you to just become roommates. In order to avoid this, you need to spend time with each other. One of the signs that your marriage might be in trouble is that you don’t spend any quality time with each other anymore.
Do you make time for each other, or do you just see each other when you are at home? Are you intentional about spending time with each other? Be careful that you don’t just take living together for granted. Make sure that you set aside time specifically for each other so that your marriage doesn’t suffer.
- Fights. Although having fights is normal, there is a time when fighting can be an indicator that your marriage is in trouble. Sometimes fighting over a bunch of little things can indicate that there are some big things that aren’t being addressed. It is very important to discuss problems instead of letting them get to the point where you fight over everything all the time.