March 31, 2010
By Thomas Wright, M. Th.
IS OUR MARRIAGE IN TROUBLE?
Couples often drift into trouble without noticing any crises or turning points in their relationship. People don’t like to admit there’s anything wrong in their lives so they keep most unpleasant aspects of their situation hidden from their awareness. It’s often easier to recognize the warning signs in other people’s relationships than in their own.
The most important sign that your relationship is in trouble is avoidance. Do you find yourself avoiding real conversation with your partner? Have you noticed less eye contact when you are together? Does your partner seem preoccupied or irritable much of the time? Are most conversations about the kids or work and never about feelings? Have you stopped talking about your plans and dreams? Another important clue is the feeling of loneliness.
Symptoms of loneliness may include anxiety, depression, changes in sleeping habits, changes in eating habits, headaches, or muscle tension. Sooner or later people begin to feel lonesome for a part of them they’ve suppressed in order to keep peace. Once you believe you can’t be yourself around your partner, your relationship is in trouble.
I find that people too quickly decide to suppress certain aspects of their personalities out of fear that they will be rejected if they enjoy those aspects. In other words, it’s too easy to blame others for your decision to squelch your spontaneity.
If you find that you’re more relaxed when you’re away from your partner, and you tense up when it’s time to go home, your relationship is in trouble.
These trouble signs aren’t necessarily signs of impending disaster. You should, however, treat them as wake-up calls. Give them your attention before you drift too far apart to find your way back.