There are few higher highs than falling in love and committing to it for life through a giddy walk down the aisle. Fortified by the recital of deeply personal vows, this journey of a lifetime begins with promise and uncommon joy. Many couples, despite the occasional dust up, manage to successfully protect and actively engage in their union year after year. Others, however, succumb to what I describe as the “slow fade.”
To them, it feels as though they woke up one day and realized they were married to a stranger. In actuality, the signs that their marriage was in trouble had been there all along but they had failed to take notice. Slowly, gradually, trouble built upon trouble until one day, they found their relationship had reached Defcon 5.
The dates were aplenty and the loving was hot and heavy when you first became man and wife. Not so much anymore.
Before reaching the point of no return, there are early warning signs that your wedded bliss is in danger. While not exhaustive, I’ve compiled a list of irrefutable signals that there is trouble in paradise. And, while I’m no expert, from one married person to another, take heed.
Sign #1: You are Indifferent to Yourself and to Your Spouse
Remember caring about your looks, your health, your dreams, and those of the person you married? Slowly, these things matter less and less, until they no longer matter at all. Watch out for such phrases as “Do what you want!” and “Whatever!” The moment they begin to replace, “Here’s what I think” and “Let’s talk it over,” you’re headed in the wrong direction.
Sign #2: You’re Beginning to Show Your Spouse Little to No Respect Whether in Private or in Public
Whether in public or in private, it’s no thing for you to belittle, embarrass, or disrespect your spouse. In your eyes, they have started to fall short. As a result, you are beginning to find them unworthy of thoughtful acts or kind words. If it’s become more challenging to say anything nice to your spouse, it’s time to take notice and right the ship before it’s too late.
Sign #3: You Have the Same Argument, Different Day
If it’s not one thing, it’s another. Except, in your relationship, it’s pretty much always one thing…day after day. You and your spouse are at an impasse on some issue. Neither is willing to budge. Neither is willing to let it go. If you’re going at it like a dog with a bone over the same thing, trouble is afoot. Find a means of compromise and get help.
Sign #4: You Begin to Keep Secrets From Your Partner
At first, it’s a little, itty, bitty secret – the new guy at work is hitting on you, or you bought the expensive Air Jordans you said you wouldn’t. But soon, you find it’s becoming easier and easier to hold back information, excluding your spouse from areas of your life that could eventually be cause for concern in your marriage. Start bringing the itty bitty back out into the open, or else.
Sign #5: You Have No Desire to Spend Time with Your Boo and Certainly No Time for the Coochee Coo
The dates were aplenty and the loving was hot and heavy when you first became man and wife. Not so much anymore. Now, late nights at work are becoming more frequent and you’re both too tired to make romance a priority. Not only that, but after work drinks with your coworkers appears more appealing than dinner with your spouse. Uh oh! If this is becoming your life, it will lead to the eventual death of your marriage. Don’t wait to fix this one. It’s major!
Sign #6: Your Spouse has Taken a Back Seat to the Kids
This one tends to get sticky for some couples because it’s tough to see it coming. You have two competing loves, your spouse and your children. You have heard tell that your spouse comes first, but little Junior wants Mommy to tell him a bedtime story. Meanwhile, Daddy wants to rock Mommy to sleep and comes up empty…again. Though that example is meant to be funny, it’s not so funny when your spouse starts to resent becoming second fiddle to your children. Find ways to partner and ensure the kids’ needs are met without neglecting the needs in your relationship.
These early warning signs of a troubled marriage are but a precious few. But if you know what to look for, you can avert a potential disaster in your relationship. Open your eyes and pay attention before the love you share with your spouse begins to slowly fade away.
BMWK, what other early warning signs that a marriage is headed for trouble have you seen?
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