One of the biggest mistakes that married couples make is to start taking their relationship for granted. They go along with the status quo, their eyes shut, to the changing equation in their marriage until one day, either of them is surprised by the delivery of divorce papers. So, if you don’t want to be caught unawares, pay attention to the health of your marital relationship and if you pick up any undesirable symptoms, make sure that you sit with your spouse and thrash things out. Here are ten key signs that will help you to take stock if your marriage is in trouble:
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You no longer seem to have anything to say to your spouse
You may be living under the same roof with your spouse and performing routine errands, but still have nothing to say to each other. Living in silence is often the first warning sign that all is not right in the relationship. However, do not confuse this with the companionable silence that couples share in a long, satisfied marriage. There, it is a case of two people knowing each other so well as to be comfortable in their silence and not having the need to make small conversation. But in the case of a disintegrating marriage, the silence makes for an arid, loveless atmosphere, where two people have nothing to share anymore.
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You no longer have any common interests
Remember the early days of marriage, when you tried out so many pursuits together? While it is natural that over time, each partner finds his or her own niche in the relationship, it is unusual for the spouses to give up all shared interests. If you find that you no longer do anything fun or interesting together, consider it as a warning sign on the health of your marriage.
You are subject to constant criticism from your spouse
One of the unmistakable signs of a troubled marriage, is that partners begin to funnel larger relationship issues into criticism of day-to-day tasks. If you find you can do no right in your partner’s eyes, consider what lies beneath the constant, unceasing criticism. Do you feel intimidated and perpetually on tenterhooks by your partner’s unrelenting negative attitude? If yes, then maybe it is time to address the underlying issues in your marriage.
You are the last person to know
A disintegrating marriage is strongly characterized by an increasingly widening communication gap between partners. In such a situation, your partner will stop sharing information about his or her social and professional lives with you. You will find out about your spouse’s achievements at work, or problems with family members, from second or third-hand sources, like your partner’s co-worker or neighbours of your partner’s parental home.
Your partner is bitter about the past
One infallible yet seemingly innocuous pointer to the state of your marriage is your partner’s response to the question on how you met each other. If your partner seems bitter about the past and makes sarcastic remarks like , “She snagged me” or “I got tired of saying no to him” before guests, consider it a sign that your spouse in deeply unhappy in the marriage. Memories of first dates and meetings should be one of the most treasured in any happy marriage and when these turn bitter, it is time to take stock of what is wrong.
Physical appearances no longer matter
In the early days of a marriage, couples take great care of how they appear to each other. Over time, as the comfort level increases in a marriage, spouses become much more relaxed about the need to look “perfect” for their partner. However, if you find that your spouse has undergone a sudden sharp decline in matters of appearance and hygiene, it could be because your partner no longer cares whether or not you find them desirable. This complete lack of interest is an indication that your spouse is no longer happy in the marriage and sooner or later is likely to opt out.
When distractions are used to avoid real issues
Your marriage may be in trouble, if you both are using distractions to avoid dealing with relationship issues. Common signs of this are a perpetually switched on television set or a constantly playing music system, which are convenient tools to avoid paying attention to your partner. Do you always have one more thing to do before you can settle down, or is your spouse always hiding behind the newspaper? If yes, then it is time you both cut out the distractions and focus on your relationship, before it is too late.
You keep arguing about the same issues in the same way
If discussions on your relationship seem to have got stuck in a rut with the same arguments again and again, it is evident that your marriage is in trouble. The inability to communicate thoughts and feelings effectively, is often the initial step towards a breakdown in a relationship. Take the help of a marriage counsellor, if you both seem unable to resolve issues on your own.
A lack of trust
You no longer trust each other. Mutual faith is the cornerstone of any meaningful relationship, including marriage. If you find yourself constantly doubting your partner’s whereabouts, or if your spouse suspects you of infidelity, clearly something is deeply wrong in your marriage.
There is no longer any intimacy in your marriage
Intimacy is the act that allows a man and woman to bond as a couple. While the absence of sex in a marriage is considered a big red flag, counsellors will tell you that the first signs of trouble crop up long before. Be warned, if you find that you both have stopped snuggling up to each other, or you no longer give your spouse a passionate kiss before leaving for work. This is because a growing physical distance between spouses is intrinsically related to a widening emotional gap.
Every marriage is unique, since it is a new relationship made by the coming together of two unique individuals. Thus its strengths and weaknesses, its pitch and personality too are bound to be unlike any other. And yet, there are some common symptoms which can warn partners that their relationship is headed for trouble. So take heed of the warning signs and if you do find them in your marriage, do not waste any more time get down to resolving all pertinent issues.