Marriage takes work. Hard work. The reality is that couples enter marriage with hope and excitement, not with the thought of it ending in divorce. Unfortunately, for many, divorce is the unfortunate ending. Typically, marriages that do not last, have warning signs along the way that can serve as alerts that there are some problems that need addressing. The sooner these signs are noticed they have potential to be addressed to help minimize the damage done. Counseling can help a couple address these warning signs and can aid in honest self-reflection, all in a neutral and constructive environment. Listed below are some warning signs to watch out for.
- Loss or lack of intimacy
While it is normal for the levels of physical, sexual and emotional intimacy to taper a bit after getting married, if you notice significant changes in areas of intimacy in your relationship, this may be an indication of a need for help. It can be helpful to do a mental “then vs. now” evaluation of intimacy in your relationship to determine just how significantly things may have changed.
- Transparency is missing
If your relationship lacks trust, this is a huge issue in a couple being able to move forward together in relationship. Secrecy is a very dangerous characteristic in a marriage or relationship, and should be addressed quickly in an effort to minimize the destruction it can do to a relationship.
- You’ve lost your sense of playfulness and fun as a couple
If you find that you and your significant other just don’t have fun together any longer, this is a sign that you could benefit from an outside perspective who might be able to help you discover any underlying roots of this problem and rediscover fun together in your relationship.
- You’re not talking and/or are living separate lives
If you and your spouse/significant other are not talking on a consistent basis, this is a serious warning sign that your relationship needs help. You may find that you and your spouse are simply living like roommates, without sharing in the common joys and problem solving together. Counseling can often aid in identifying root issues that may exist and help the couple to address those and regain a more healthy relationship.
- When you are contemplating, or even having, an affair
If you or your spouse are contemplating (or having) an affair, it is a sign that one partner is experiencing unmet needs or desires in the relationship. If there is a mutual commitment to honesty and openness to making changes, there is hope for salvaging the relationship. The sooner help is sought, the better; ideally, before an affair actually happens.
- You or your partner are struggling with unforgiveness toward the other
Unfortunately, hurt is a part of every relationship. At some point, people in relationships break one another’s trust. It is critical to deal with this hurt and work through it in a healthy way so the relationship can more forward.
In some cases, however, one spouse may be having more of a difficult time than normal forgiving the other person. Unresolved hurt and unforgiveness can lead to feelings of distance, isolation and even anger in a marriage. Marriage counseling can be helpful in processing the unforgiveness and communicating through the hurt to restore a healthy state of relationship.
- Stuck on the same issue
Sometimes couples come to an impasse on a certain subject or aspect of their relationship. Perhaps it is a frustration with a partner’s priorities, level of engagement in the relationship, or even a seemingly unresolvable difference in styles of parenting. If you just can’t seem to get to the other side of an issue, then perhaps marriage counseling could assist you.