Can you imagine having no idea your marriage is in trouble? Many people who find out that there are issues in their marriage have no idea, or frequently say, "I didn't see it coming." Their wake up calls come in the form of finding out their spouse is thinking of calling it quits, or worse, have found another to fulfill their needs. Happy marriages don’t end in divorce, but what does it take to remain happily married? It can take a lot of work in today's world where we constantly face stress from our jobs, the pressures of child rearing, financial concerns and many other stressors, depending upon your age and where you live.
There are many yellow flags that can indicate that your relationship may be in trouble. These days, people are busier than ever before or are so wrapped up in their own lives and issues that they either don't see the warning signs, don't care, or they think their partners are happy to live life going through the normal day-to-day routine that their lives have taken on.
Never veering from day-to-day routines or patterns can actually hurt a relationship. Think about it. A lot of people get up in the morning, go to work, come home after work, make dinner, do laundry, clean up the kitchen, relax for an hour or so, go to bed, and do the same thing the next day – over and over, for at least 5 days a week. Being contented to live this sort of life can result in complacency. Complacency can lead to people getting too comfortable in your relationship. Never get too comfortable in your marriage. Every living person has needs, and not just sexual needs. Make sure to be cognizant of time spent, or time not spent, with your spouse. Make sure you do not turn into the couple who simply shares a household. People in those types of relationships are more like roommates than spouses, and this can lead to dangerous consequences.
What follows is a list of relationship yellow flags - things you need to notice before they turn into red flags. Once the red flags start showing themselves, most likely, your marriage is on the path of failure.
- If you and your spouse spend minimal time together as a couple, you are going down a dangerous path. Although the reasons for this could be due to working different schedules or other outside influences or hobbies, you should not let this continue.
- If you and your spouse spend more time with family, friends, or coworkers than you to together, those other people are taking the place of your spouse. Additionally, it is likely those people know more about what's going on in your life than your spouse does. This can cause distance to grow between the two of you.
- If there is no communication, other than arguments, you are in trouble. Additionally, if there is no eye contact or little to no telephone contact, you are also in trouble. If you notice that the only time you speak about your spouse is when you are making snide or criticizing remarks, or the smallest things annoy you about your spouse, it's time to change things in your relationship.
- If there is little or no intimacy or no physical contact, such as hugging, snuggling, and holding hands, or if you or your spouse make excuses when the other tries to initiate sex, these are huge yellow flags. If you lose the intimacy you’ll lose a critical connection that is absolutely necessary for a healthy relationship and that relationship could be doomed.
If you and your spouse are going through a difficult time, and if you are both committed to saving your marriage, it is possible to turn things around in your relationship. It will not be easy; but nothing worth doing or having comes easy. Try to remember than you chose each other, you vowed to stay together and to stick together through better or worse. Yes, this time in your marriage would definitely fall under the "worse" category.
You can read all sorts of books and articles for advice on how to get through difficult times in your marriage. However, one person cannot save a marriage. The best approach is to ensure that both people want to save the marriage and are committed to saving the marriage. Just as your marriage didn't fall apart overnight, it cannot be saved overnight. It will take hard, constant work. Start by trying to focus on the bigger issues. When you do this, the smaller issues may just disappear or not seem like such a big deal anymore.
Once upon a time, the two of you couldn't wait to be together every day after work. You couldn't wait to talk about what went on in your world and share daily stories. Once you had conversations with your eyes, not your mouths. Once you looked across a crowded room and saw the love for you in your spouse's eyes, no matter who he or she was speaking with at the moment. Once, you were devoted, committed, and connected with the person you chose to spend the rest of your life caring about.
It's hard to determine what causes so many relationships to fall apart, but remember, you obviously meant the world to each other at one point. You chose to marry your spouse. That being said, isn't it worth whatever it takes to get back on track?
If you recognize some of these yellow flags in your relationship, but you are both committed to making changes that can save your marriage, the counselors at Orange County Relationship Center can help you get your marriage back on track. Call us today at 949-220-3211 or schedule your appointment online.