Is your marriage in trouble? There are a myriad of ways you can tell whether or not your marriage has crossed over into a danger zone. Those danger signs vary from one relationship to the next, and they manifest for different reasons.
While it’s up to you and your spouse to determine exactly what is breaking down in your marriage, there are some basic signs and symptoms you can identify to help you discern whether your marriage needs help. If you’re wondering whether your relationship is in danger, then read on. In this post, we’ve gathered three common red flags that signal marriage SOS.
1. You feel lonely, even when you’re together.
Do you find yourself feeling increasingly lonely, even when you’re spending time with your spouse? Maybe you don’t feel seen or heard the way you need to be. Perhaps your needs aren’t being met–or worse, they aren’t being acknowledged.
Sometimes, spouses can drift apart, prioritizing outside activities and people (such as friends or in-laws) over the marriage relationship. When this happens, it becomes apparent over time. Knowing your spouse’s focus and energy are outside your marriage can make you feel deeply alone.
If you’re feeling lonely on a regular basis, it’s important to work out why you’re feeling that way. Spend time journaling or speaking to a trusted counselor if possible. You’ll want to be clear on what’s bothering you so you can articulate it well when it’s time to communicate.
2. You’re harboring deep resentment.
Troubled marriages often have an undercurrent of resentment. It might be on both of your parts, or just one of you. Resentment develops in marriage when you’ve spent time feeling hurt, dismissed, or even neglected without any resolution or closure. And the thing about resentment is, it can lead to deeper hurt feelings, such as indifference or contempt.
The first step to deciphering how you feel is to explore it. Be honest with yourself about why you’re feeling resentful. Then, think about what steps you might be able to take to lessen that resentment. For example, you might have begun to resent your spouse because of unmet expectations. Is there a way you can reframe them? Is it possible that your spouse did their best with what they had at the moment, even though they didn’t meet your expectations the way you’d envisioned?
Reframing resentment can be a helpful way to shift your emotions, even if they’re still painful. Putting your memories and knowledge in a slightly different context can also help you to cope and adapt over time. Of course, we advocate for clear and vulnerable communication wherever possible–so if you can discuss these feelings with your spouse, you should.
3. Your arguments get out of control.
Poor marital health often rises to the surface during conflict. So, are your arguments spiraling out of control? Do the two of you find that your disagreements often escalate, making constructive problem solving impossible?
Recall your most recent conflicts to get an idea of what’s going on. Take notes if you need to, and work with a counselor to unravel communication issues if possible. If you’re struggling to solve common issues in a constructive manner, then your marriage might be in trouble.
For additional information, we suggest taking a look at our book, I Love You More. This guide will help you and your spouse to contextualize the everyday issues you face, cultivating more love and understanding and helping you to shed unnecessary conflict. If you’re ready to improve communication for a happier marriage, pick up a copy here.
As always, we highly recommend a licensed therapist for help with defusing conflict in your marriage–especially if it’s severe. Don’t hesitate to seek professional help to get you back on the right track. With support and guidance, it’s possible to renew the health of your relationship–both now and in the future.
Have you ever sought help to resolve marital issues? How did it help to improve your relationship? Let us know in the comments.
These three items are spot on. I see it in couples in my practice on a regular basis. That is a major reason I always do a conflict cycle–that is how do you fight with every couple. Many times, they don’t even know what their conflict cycle looks like.