Marriage usually starts out sweet and full of love and prospect. The innocent and a bit naive newlywed, ready to conquer all of life’s challenges, believe that they have it all figured out and surely will never be ‘that couple’. You know the couple who’s always fighting, or the one whose marriage has gone stale, or the worst of all, the couple who is divorcing. Not a single person has those thoughts on their wedding day or even the first couple of years in their marriage. And they shouldn’t! Marriage IS sweet and should start out that way. But here’s the harshest and truest reality of all, it usually doesn’t stay that way. What starts out as ‘small differences’ turns into significant problems that drive a wedge between two people who really love each other.
Nobody quite likes to admit that their relationship is on the rocks but it happens to the best of us. The scariest part is realizing it when it’s too late and there isn’t much left to salvage. If you and your partner have picked up on any of the 5 signs below, it may be time to schedule a visit to a Professional Marriage Counselor before it’s too late.
There are different ways a couple can struggle with communication problems in their marriage. Bad communicators come in all shapes and sizes. There are some who are passive, others manipulative and toxic, ones who are completely checked out and have a hard time expressing their feelings altogether and of course the hyperactive bickering type. Miscommunication can affect your marriage in many ways. For example, something as simple as figuring out where to eat; now if you’ve had a handful of these types of arguments in your relationship, this doesn’t apply to you. But if this is something you’re having full blown arguments about every single time you have a date night, it may be a sign you’re having a hard time communicating with one another. So, don’t be surprised if every decision or situation turns into a fight. Some common behaviours to look out for: foul language and verbal aggression, silent treatments, minimal eye contact or word exchanges, avoiding addressing the problem by leaving or walking out.
- Lack of Teamwork
A lot of the time, when an individual ‘feels alone’ in their marriage it’s due to lack of teamwork from their partner. For example, if you feel like you are always the one taking care of the kids and making sure they’re picked up on time, fed, and put to bed, there’s a chance you feel alone and not to mention exhausted. Other examples include, having different hobbies and interests, which is okay, but not making any effort to jointly enjoy anything together can become a problem. Not being able to mutually agree on any decisions, big or small, which goes hand in hand with miscommunication, now you’ve got two red flags! Another classic example is when money becomes a problem; this situation typically occurs in single income households, where one person is bringing in the money and the other is recklessly spending it. A real teammate either joins in and helps or takes the situation under control but if you’ve got a financially irresponsible spouse with no regard for money management, this is a big issue, which brings me to my next point.
- Financial Problems
It is very common for a marriage to hit a rough path during financial hardship. For those of you who have been there and were able to survive these times, god bless you, because it’s not easy. Having money problems really takes a toll on the whole family, even the children. So, this is typically recommended as a preventative measure because having financial problems can set off a chain of events that may be beyond repair. Drug and alcohol abuse are very common, affairs and infidelity may very likely follow, and something as severe as self-harm and/or suicide.
- Love lessness
Continuing on with a bit lighter topic, this is actually very common but luckily, is much easier to restore. This doesn’t apply to a fizzled-out honeymoon phase, no, that’s normal. This goes a little deeper. It looks more like years and years of a stale, boring relationship that has given up on itself. You and your partner have gotten to a place of content and have stopped trying. Also, don’t let the word content fool you, I don’t exactly know when the idea of being ‘content’ became a positive thing, but it is not. Being content means there are no new excitements in your life, there are no longer butterflies, and there’s also a chance that your sex life isn’t all that great either. If your relationship exhibits any of these signs, it’s time to see someone.
And last but not least, the most detrimental event in any relationship is adultery and even thoughts of having an affair. This should really be a given but if this is an issue that you’ve been confronted with in your marriage, it’s highly recommended to attend marriage counseling. There are always couples who think they can work it out together without realizing how damaging affairs are to a relationship and a family. Affairs don’t just happen out of thin air and for no reason, whatever the root cause of the issue stems from, was never addressed and it’s time to visit a professional to work on these issues and start the process of healing and fixing your marriage.