Is your married life not functioning like you thought it would? Are you unable to find the real problem?
To newlyweds, marriage could appear easy and almost seem like a fairy tale. However, after a few years, you could start to experience serious couples challenges and marriage problems. Which issues should you pay attention to the most, and when is it time to try couples therapy? Let’s reveal some signs that your marriage is falling apart and what you can do about it!
You Stopped Talking to Each Other
One of the key elements that make up a successful and happy marriage is communication. Without it, married couples do not have an active connection. If all of your conversations boil down to small talk or if you and your spouse do not communicate at all, it’s obviously a warning sign of a marriage on the rocks. Talking can solve many marriage problems, improve your daily lives, and bring you closer to your partner.
Unfortunately, many couples avoid active communication. That’s how they end up sweeping their problems under the bed. Poor communication also entails a lack of meaningful conversations that focus on mutual challenges and goals. Yet, talking isn’t only about solving problems and planning your future. It’s about strengthening your emotional connection to your partner, showing that you truly care about them, and spending time with your spouse in a meaningful way.
You Get on Each Other’s Nerves Easily
If your partner constantly annoys you or vice versa, it may be a sign that your mutual respect is fading. You might find yourself constantly sneering at your partner’s comments for example. If you’ve gotten into this cycle of habitual criticism, you could be on the fast track to divorce.
In fact, relationship experts believe that criticism, attacking/blaming a partner, and constantly getting annoyed with them can impact several aspects of your marriage. It can damage your spouse’s self-esteem, erode trust, ruin intimacy, and even lead to emotional abuse. Also, it devalues important messages during conversations and makes any feedback irrelevant.
If you frequently get on each other’s nerves and if that is often triggered by small/meaningless actions, you may need to work on your communication skills.
Obviously, non-existent emotional and sexual intimacy can point to a failed marriage. You don’t have to rip your spouse’s clothes off and have sex every night to keep your intimacy in check though. Not many couples can find the time and energy to have sex that often.
Yet, it’s definitely not a good sign if you go without it for weeks, months, and years.
Research shows that sex occurs roughly once a week in happy marriages. Also, it’s normal to experience a drop in sexual activities in the first few years of your marriage. This is due to external factors like work, children, or health.
However, the lack of sex is sometimes a sign of deeper marital problems, and that’s why you shouldn’t ignore it. What’s more, intimacy can rapidly fade if you neglect some activities that we associate with affection and closeness. That includes cuddling, holding hands, spending private time together, and romance.
Everything Feels Like an Obligation
When love dissipates, the activities within your marriage could end up feeling like an obligation. However, giving and receiving should come naturally to both sides in the relationship.
If you constantly feel that you have to do things without actually wanting to do them, it’s time for a reality check. Anything from sex, daily chores, dinners, financial support, and hobbies should be done as an act of will.
If you have to do things because you feel obligated or think that you owe something to your partner, your relationship has lost its foundations. A healthy marriage needs to be based on honesty, trust, love, and attraction, not a warped sense of duty. Moreover, if you are feeling obligated, remember that marriage does require you to fulfill some duties, and that is perfectly acceptable. However, if everything feels like a chore, you’ll need to rethink your relationship.
Talking Turns Into Shouting
While arguments can often be productive, we can also use them to emphasize some tell-tale signs of a failing marriage. If communicating with your partner constantly turns into shouting, anger, and a defensive stance, it’s a sign that one or both of you are trying to escape a fair discussion.
Shouting is also considered a form of verbal abuse. It can create a toxic environment for your children. What’s more, it devalues the meaning of respect.
Ultimately, shouting turns love into fear. This can be highly damaging. Yelling is also a way of not paying attention to self-esteem issues, bad communication skills, and expressing the need to be dominant. If your partner is unwilling to change their communication style, and if both of you can’t break this cycle, it may be too late to save your marriage.
Their Absence Makes You Happier
The majority of happily married women or men are impatient to meet their spouse after a long day at work. Married couples should enjoy each other’s company and should love to spend time together.
While it’s true that both partners should have separate interests, hobbies, friends, and some alone time, they should always want to spend quality time with their loved ones. Doing the opposite is a big sign that a relationship is falling apart.
If you feel less stressed and more relieved when your partner is away, it could be a sign that you’re actually feeling lonely and that you might be better off alone.
When Do You Need to See a Marriage Counselor?
So do all of those signs mean that you need to immediately get help and visit a marriage counselor? The behaviors and issues we’ve mentioned are triggers that could cause serious long-term damage if you do not address them. Is it possible to tackle those problems without couples therapy?
Well, if your marriage started off with a healthy relationship, you could put in the work to improve it on your own. However, marriage counseling is incredibly effective if you try it early on. If you wait too long, you could lower the success rate of couples therapy. However, if both partners are comfortable with it, talking to a marriage/relationship specialist can do much more than lower the risk of divorce.
Right now, data shows that counseling has a 70% success rate. On average, it takes 12 sessions to see the effects of counseling and put your marriage back on the right track. Of course, therapy isn’t an instant solution, and you’ll have to make an active effort to change your marriage. However, if you’re persistent and make a conscious effort to improve together with your partner, there’s a big chance that your marriage could be saved.
As mentioned, the best way to save your marriage is to tackle your issues as early as possible. So get in touch with a marriage counselor today and good luck!