If you are married, having problems and sticking your head in the sand, where is your marriage headed? Divorce court! I recently worked with a couple who were in year 21 of their marriage. According to both there had been trouble from “day one.”
Twenty-one year’s worth of problems that should have been dealt with starting at “day one.” Not dealing with their problems as the problems came up led to years of built-up resentment for both. Hurt feelings, anger and emotional detachment from each other meant it would take a lot of effort to get the marriage back on track.
If you love your spouse and are committed to your marriage, do not ignore the follow six signs of impending divorce:
1. You fantasize about a life without your spouse.
I have a friend who recently divorced. For years before the marriage fell apart completely she spent a lot of time daydreaming about how much better life would be without her husband. This isn’t unusual, but if it is something you do often and with great abandon, it is time to seek help from a marital therapist.
Talk with your spouse about whatever it is that is causing you to long for the single life. It won’t be a pleasant conversation, but your spouse should be given a heads up and your marriage (especially if you have children) deserves the second chance it might get through counseling.
2. The bad outweighs the good.
Problems in a marriage feed on inactivity. If you have problems and don’t seek solutions, the bad will soon outweigh the good. Marriages can become breeding grounds or a vicious cycle of one problem after another. Do you and your spouse a favor seek help and advice from a trained professional before the scales tip too far and you find yourself with unsolvable problems.
3. You don’t share your thoughts and feelings.
Yes, some things are sacred -- you don’t need to share every thought or feeling -- but you aren’t doing your marriage a favor if you don’t share marital unhappiness with your spouse. Unless you feel there is a threat of abuse (physical or verbal retaliation), communication is an important way to relieve stress and build a healthier bond with your spouse. And problems can’t be worked through unless you are both aware of the problem.
4. Engaging in negative defense mechanisms.
Does your spouse become overly defensive when you express a concern? Do you dismiss your spouse’s needs? Does your spouse criticize your beliefs, or engage in stonewalling tactics? If so, you are at high risk of divorce. If either of you engage in negative defense mechanisms when attempting to solve a problem, you are building more problems and solving nothing. This can be the kiss of death for your marriage.
5. You feel alone in solving marital problems.
My ex engaged in negative defense mechanisms. He avoided conflict at all cost. He was a master at walking away, refusing to communicate and dismissing my concerns over problems in the marriage. He kept his head so far up his butt he could see his tonsils!
If there were problems, I was responsible for solving those problems…with no help from him. He handed me full responsibility for our relationship on a silver platter and when I failed to solve the problems, as he saw them but failed to share with me, the marriage was over.
It takes two to make problems and two to solve problems. Hopefully you are married to someone who understands this concept.
6. One desires sex and the other doesn’t.
A marriage that lacks sexual intimacy and affection will either end up in divorce or end up being a marriage of convenience. Nothing is more damaging to a marriage or the self-esteem of a spouse than having a partner reject them sexually.
Want your marriage to die on the vine? Ignore the sexual bond with your spouse and stand back and watch it wilt.
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