Most modern couples enter marriage with reasonable expectations, not “happily ever after” fairytales. But until you’ve lived it, you won’t realize how difficult maintaining a marriage can be. Learn these five warning signs that your marriage is failing.
You’ve been married more than a decade, but if every time you have an argument your spouse mentions some mistake you made years ago, that’s a problem. Sure, maybe you were in a small accident years ago and messed up the front of your spouse’s favorite car. Maybe your partner inadvertently insulted your Aunt Bertha nine Thanksgivings ago. Both of you should get over it and move on.
Secrets and Lies
When money routinely disappears without explanation, or you find unfamiliar receipts in your partner’s coat pockets, someone is keeping secrets. Catching your partner in lies about money, or even a seemingly trivial “little white lie,” is a problem. Lying and secretiveness erode trust and can set your marriage on a path to demise.
Believing You Can Change Your Spouse
If your spouse promised they’d give up smoking, drinking, gambling, or staying out all hours with friends once you were married, and you bought it, you may be in for a major disappointment. If it’s been years and your partner’s habits and attitudes haven’t changed at all, you’ve been living on false hope.
You Don’t Enjoy Spending Time Together
When you each retreat to your own corners after work, diving into your own activities with only a cursory “How was your day?” and “It was okay, you?” with no follow-up conversation, that’s a warning sign your marriage is in trouble.
It’s become a cliché, but it rings true: your spouse should also be your best friend, your number one supporter, and your first contact when something goes wrong. If you’re no longer talking to each other about things that matter to you, your relationship could be in trouble.
Disagreements About Childrearing
As all Moms know, raising kids is mostly about the little stuff: what they’ll eat and when, bedtimes, whose turn it is to change a diaper, and which set of grandparents get to see the kids on holidays.
But disagreeing about major life decisions that impact your children’s physical and spiritual well-being, education, and relationships is serious. If you can’t agree on whether to raise your kids in a particular religious tradition, the fraught issue of vaccinations, and common expectations about your kids’ futures (college or trade school?) you’ll have a tough time keeping your marriage together.
If your marriage breaks up, this disparity can roll over into child custody battles in divorce, and your record on how you handled resolving disputes about the kids can affect a court’s decision on who will be the primary custodial parent receiving child support payments.
If you ticked off a few of these warning signs of a failing marriage, you might have to have a frank discussion with your spouse about seeking counseling to resolve issues and save your marriage.