When your marriage is in trouble, it may be tempting to overlook or deny the signs. However, ignoring your problems will not make them go away. It is healthier to address them with your spouse. Sometimes this means getting involved in counseling to try to work out your differences and salvage your relationship. Other times, it may mean separating from your spouse and taking the first steps toward divorce.
It may sometimes be difficult to tell the difference between normal marital ups and downs and ongoing problems with the potential to cause irreparable relationship damage. The following are common warning signs that your relationship is in serious trouble.
- Shifting priorities
As you get older, your perspective on life can change significantly. What was important to you when you first got married may no longer be a priority for you. The same holds true for your spouse. Agreement on the “big things” is necessary for a good relationship. If you and your spouse are no longer in consensus, you may need work to get on the same page.
- Living like roommates
It may not be healthy for you and your spouse to do everything together, but neither is it healthy for you to conduct separate lives while living in the same house. You should maintain a fairly consistent level of interaction.
- Receiving advice to leave
When it comes to relationships, sometimes family and friends have the perspective to see what you cannot. If loved ones keep advising you to get out of the relationship, it can be a sign that you should reassess the situation.
- Avoiding your spouse
If you find yourself making excuses not to spend time with your spouse, this is a major red flag. At the least, you should ask yourself why you are reacting this way.
- Interacting negatively
According to John Gottman, a marriage researcher, couples headed for divorce have an almost equal number of negative and positive interactions with each other. Happy couples have 20 times more positive interactions than negative ones. You do not need to calculate the ratio of positive and negative reactions with your spouse, but if you feel that negative reactions are at least as frequent as positive ones, your relationship is likely in trouble.