Warning Signs of a Troubled Marriage

older couple arguing

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Every marital relationship is unique. However, there are common warning signs and red flags that could indicate there are serious problems in a marriage. If you find yourself with these concerns, do not ignore them, and hope that they will simply go away. They usually do not and left unacknowledged, they could even get worse.

Instead, you need to have an open, honest, and respectful talk with your spouse about the problems in your marriage. It can be a difficult conversation to have, but it is necessary.

Common Warning Signs of a Marriage in Trouble

Every relationship will have its ups and downs, but there are some signs that you will want to look at closely to determine if they are the result of something that is not working well in your marriage.

Here are some common warning signs of marriage trouble to look out for:

  • One (or both) of you have become emotionally detached.
  • One (or both) of you have considered cheating or has cheated—in real life or online, and physically or emotionally.
  • Teasing has become hurtful.
  • The level of sexual intimacy in your marriage is low or there isn't any at all.
  • There is a lot of nitpicking.
  • There is inequality concerning gender roles and/or decision making.
  • There are feelings of indifference between you.
  • You are happier when your spouse is away from home for an afternoon, a meeting, or for a business trip.
  • You are withdrawing.
  • You bicker a great deal.
  • You can't agree on goals and values.
  • You don't fight fair.
  • You don't make time for each other.
  • You don't respect one another or you nag each other.
  • You don't talk about your problems or feelings.
  • You don't trust each other and feel suspicious.
  • You feel that you are getting sick or having physical complaints related to the stress in your relationship.
  • You fight in front of your kids.
  • You find yourselves repeatedly having the same arguments over the same things.
  • You have nothing nice to say to one another.
  • You no longer enjoy your time together. Your spouse prefers to spend free time away from you on a regular basis.
  • You realize that there is emotional and/or physical abuse in your marriage.
  • Your spouse is lying about money, is more frugal than usual, hides money, or controls you with money.
  • Your fights escalate out of control or to screaming matches.
  • Your partner keeps secrets.
  • Your spouse is in frequent contact with old partners via social media.
  • Your spouse prefers to talk or text on a phone they kept private.
  • Your spouse tries to isolate you from your family and friends.

Don't Wait to Seek Professional Help

If you feel that the problems in your marriage are unsolvable, it's time to enlist the help of a professional. That said, to receive the most from marriage counseling, you don't want to wait until your marriage is beyond repair. A marriage therapist can be an ally to your marriage. They will not take sides (within reason). Rather, they will guide you through the tough communication that's needed with your partner, help you create safety and connection, and teach you how to recognize (and change) negative communication patterns.

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  1. MentalHelp.net. Predictable patterns of marriage breakdown. Updated 2019.