Category Archives: Preventing Divorce

5 Warning Signs That Your Marriage is in Trouble

By the time a couple comes to counseling, there are often years of painful patterns to undo and past hurts to heal and forgive.  Some research shows it the average couple waits 6 years to get help.

The sooner you catch marriage issues, the easier they are to correct. 
Sometimes the relationship is on life support, and the couple is on the verge of divorce. I often help couples save their marriage, but the truth is that things could have been much easier and less painful if they had addressed the problems sooner. Prevention is almost always easier than waiting until things get bad.

So how do you know when your marriage needs attention? There are a couple things you can do.

First, you can go to a marriage counselor every six months and clear the attic, so to speak. You can give your marriage a periodic checkup and see if your relationship has problems that are growing unnoticed. You don’t usually know that a cavity is forming unless you see a dentist every six months and have your teeth cleaned. The same goes for your marriage.

The second way you can know if your marriage needs attention is by looking for some common warning signs that trouble is brewing.

Here are five of the most common signs.

1. You’re Not Having Sex

We all go through dry spells where there is less sex than normal.

If you go a week or two without having sex, there’s probably nothing wrong with your relationship. I wouldn’t ignore the issue if you’re going months without sex, however. That’s a big warning sign. Pay attention and don’t be shy about asking for help.

There’s a reason why therapists ask about your sex life. A lack of sex in the relationship for long periods signals a break in intimacy and connection.

Repairing the underlying disconnect might not be hard, but ignoring it for months or years is like waiting until you have an abscess in your tooth before seeing the dentist.

Don’t wait!

2. There’s No Fighting

Everyone thinks that fighting is the sign of a bad marriage. That might be true depending on how you fight and how quickly you make repair. But a relationship with no fighting can be a huge red flag also.

Fighting isn’t necessarily a sign that something is wrong. In fact, it might be a sign of a good marriage. Both partners still care!

If there’s no fighting, there might be no talking.

No sharing.

No exchanging.

No connecting.

No fighting may mean someone has given up.  If one or both of you feel “what’s the point?” then that means there is trouble.

This is way scarier to me than a couple that is going at each other all the time. If there’s no fighting anymore, there’s no attempt at fixing the relationship.

3. Kids are Taking Center Stage

Raising children takes lots of time and energy. I’m a parent, so I get that. But if your world revolves exclusively around the kids, this might be a warning sign that your marriage is in trouble.

The same goes for a job that takes all of your attention. Or an all-consuming hobby. Or friends your spouse sees every night after work.

It is just so easy to replace your partner with something else when you are not getting what you need in the marriage. This is called a misery stabilizer—something that makes you feel better so you don’t have to deal with the pain.

Good marriages can take short spurts of this, but no marriage can take prolonged periods of distraction. So look for this warning sign that trouble is brewing.

4. Problems Are Going Unaddressed

One area I frequently check is whether the couple is good at making repairs in the relationship.

I told you that fighting isn’t necessarily a bad sign, but not making repairs is a big problem.

Are you having a lot of instances in your marriage where someone is short-tempered or disruptive for days and then it stops all of a sudden for no reason? Do you or your partner wake up one morning and suddenly laugh off the problem as if nothing ever happened?

If this happens a lot, take notice. It is a sign that you don’t know how to make repairs and get to the root of the problem. Instead, you are sweeping it under the rug. You are minimizing or denying it instead of dealing with what is really happening.

Unless you deal with problems in your relationship, nothing will change. Time by itself does not heal. So not truly addressing relationship problems is a sign your relationship might be in jeopardy.

5. Playfulness is Gone

A fifth sign that your marriage is in trouble is if you don’t share any hobbies.

If you don’t have fun together.

If it is all work and no play that’s a problem.

When my husband and I are alone, we’re not the same people we are in public. We’re more playful. We speak a language that nobody else would understand. We have fun with each other.

We’re playmates instead of business partners.

Are you having fun with your partner and sharing freely, or are you guarded and mostly talking about taking the kids to soccer practice and the household to-do list?

Not having fun with your partner should be a wakeup call that something is wrong.

Have That Conversation

If you have any of these warning signs, the first thing you should do is talk with your partner.

Are we who we want to be in the relationship?

Do we need to adjust work schedules? Do we need to make more time for each other? Do we need to say no more to outside influences? Do we need to stop caring that our kids are not in every sport, drama club and dance class?

And it is being very intentional and making it a priority that the time together is important enough to have its own thing, its own spot on the calendar. Its own reason to say, Sorry, can’t do that. We’re busy.

You are busy. You might not have an appointment, but you have a date with your partner.

It also is important that you see a marriage counselor if you notice any of these warning signs.

It doesn’t mean your relationship is broken, it just means that you are appropriately addressing issues in the relationship before they become something worse. Being proactive about your marriage can make a big difference both in the quality of your life and the health of your relationship.

So consider this the postcard for your semi-annual relationship checkup.

Is your relationship healthy and free from danger signs? Give us a call or schedule an appointment with us online and we can check to make sure.

Remember: A little prevention in your relationship can go a long way.

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How to make marriage last forever

how to make marriage last foreverHow do we make marriage last forever?

There is a concept with marriage in our society that I just don’t get.  

It is the idea that when attraction leaves, the marriage is over.  

Or when you don’t feel IN love anymore, it is time to move on.  

This seems crazy to me.

I have a different view of marriage that some of my clients have told me is “old fashioned.”  It is certainly not the sexiest view of matrimony, but it has saved me from multiple divorces and a shattered family.

In my opinion, the way to make a marriage last forever is to start with a certain mindset. It is the fundamental belief that when two people marry, they create a family. It’s a bond that is as strong as if you were related by blood.  Even more so, actually, because you chose each other.  Blood relatives don’t get to choose. So if you viewed your spouse as your “family”, tied together no matter what…you will stay married through the ups and downs of life.  Whether you feel like it or not.

How making a marriage last forever relates to having kids.  

When you decide to bring children into this world, you commit to loving them.  This is pretty remarkable considering you don’t have any idea what they will be like when you decide to conceive.  

You don’t even know if if you will have a boy or a girl.  You have wants and desires for your children.  But you almost always get surprises.  And yet, you love your children fiercely.  

Even when they are unlovable.

You love them when they hurt you.  

You love them when you don’t like them.  

You wouldn’t dream of leaving your children because you just didn’t feel like being their parent any longer.

Some people do this and we are shocked when we see it.  Because it isn’t natural.

Now, how would the world change if we viewed marriage the same way?

Here’s the thing:  most people end a marriage when they are in pain.  

Whether it is pain from disappointment, betrayal or unmet needs.  

Sometimes it is the misery that comes from the frustration of not feeling loved.  

And sometimes it is the pain of boredom.  

There isn’t any abuse, but there aren’t any fireworks either.  We don’t like pain.  

We try to avoid it or we numb it or run from it.  But pain is necessary for growth.  

So in all our avoidance of pain, we are also avoiding the opportunities it provides us to grow ourselves up.  

Pain is an invitation to change.  Make your Marriage Last Forever.

So if your marriage is causing you pain, let that pain teach you and guide you.  

Let it change you.  I’m not talking about suffering through an abusive relationship.  

I don’t believe every marriage should be saved.  

But the way we recycle life partners in our culture indicates we have a serious problem with avoiding and denial.  

You will have days when you don’t like your spouse.  

You will have seasons where you question your commitment and love.  

You will yearn for a simpler life with less conflict.  

You may even be tempted by greener pastures.  

But remember, you committed to love this person for the rest of your life.  

I don’t believe in saving marriage at any cost.  

But seriously, if you are miserable in your marriage and there isn’t abuse, it is growing pains.  A sign that something needs to change in you or your partner.  

We don’t seem to know how to get along with anyone anymore.  

We aren’t very good at reaching out to our neighbors or involving ourselves in other people’s worlds.  

We have become hedonistic and it is toxic to us and to our society.

A Real Life Example

I met with a client recently who was having an emotional affair.  

She was angry because she had told her husband for years she was unhappy.

He didn’t get serious about changing until he found out about the affair.  

She asked me why it took something so drastic, because now she really didn’t care anymore.  

I told her it took this long because she trained him.  

She complained, but she didn’t get his attention.  

If she was truly unhappy she should have put the marriage on hold.  

Moved out of the bedroom, gone to counseling, given him a deadline and followed through.  

She was shocked and asked me if she really should have been that direct.  

It felt so “mean” to her.  Ironically, it would have been much kinder to have gotten his attention and forced his hand sooner while she still wanted the marriage.  

If you or your spouse is unhappy, get to work.  

Stop staying silent because you think it is easier or you feel like “what’s the point.”

If you are complaining and your spouse isn’t changing anything or taking you seriously, ramp it up until you have their attention.  

Having a marriage last forever will take work.  

But the rewards will be worth your time and effort.  

Trust me!  I know these things.

Contact us today, and let’s work together to make your marriage last.


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