Have you ever thought, “Wow that couple is really happy,” only to find out that they are getting divorced? Sometimes a couple may pretend to be happy in public, but behind closed doors they are miserable. Their marriage is falling apart right before their eyes, and the question is, “Are they able to save their relationship?”
What a union takes place before God, the words “I Do” apply not only to your vows, but also a promise to honor the marriage in the eyes of the Lord.
But to the married I command—not I, but the Lord—that the wife not leave her husband (but if she departs, let her remain unmarried, or else be reconciled to her husband), and that the husband not leave his wife. —1 Corinthians 7:10-11
Every marriage will go through challenging times and the depth of the couples love and commitment will be tested. It is how they handle these difficulties that can either strengthen the relationship, or cause it to unravel. What are some of the hidden signs that a marriage is failing?
Lack of Communication
If two people stop talking, the relationship is doomed. Open communication is one of the building blocks of marriage.
Stop Doing Things Together
While it’s imperative that both people take time for themselves, it’s equally important to continue having hobbies and activities to enjoy together. When a couple stops having things in common, the relationship will begin to suffer.
Lack of Respect
If a spouse starts being disrespectful, this is an early sign that the relationship is headed for stormy ground. If it’s just one time, then maybe they are just having a rough day. But if they don’t acknowledge it and apologize, or if begins to be a common occurrence, this is a red flag for future problems.
Displaying physical and emotional affection is part of a healthy marriage. If there is a sudden change in this type of behavior or if one partner becomes withdrawn, it can mark the beginning of other problems to follow. Both people need to be on the same page when it comes to intimacy.
Prior to getting married, a couple typically has an open discussion about having a family. However, one person may decide they no longer want to start a family. Or they may be unable to conceive due to a health related issue. Will the spouse be able to adjust to this large change in their life plan? If not, this could ultimately lead down the road of divorce.
Unwilling to Compromise
The definition of a successful marriage always includes compromising. When you take two individuals that have chosen to lead a united life, it’s normal for them to encounter situations that require one, or both, to compromise. Finding middle ground that accommodates both people is one of the easiest ways to help maintain a happy relationship.
Partner Doesn’t Make an Effort
Let’s truly ponder a couple’s exchange of wedding vows, “For better or worse, in sickness and in health, till death do us part”. A person must make a constant effort to honor the commitment of marriage. It means putting your partner first, every minute of every day. When one person stops trying, the other person feels neglected, gets frustrated and angry, and then may also quit trying.
Life Paths Change
When a couple gets married, they are filled with future dreams and goals. But as the years pass, one partner may decide they want something completely different. Some examples include: changing life priorities in such a way that’s unacceptable to their spouse, disagreeing on where to live, or making a life choice that they no longer wish to be in a marriage.
When a spouse cheats on his partner, he has chosen to check-out on the marital commitments he’s made. Some couples are able to get past infidelity. But in order for this to happen, two things must occur. One, the reason behind why the person was unfaithful must be fully identified and discussed. Second, is the person who was cheated on willing to forgive and move forward? They must decide if they are able to overcome this betrayal and continue with the relationship.
Change in Appearance
If a person begins exercising, loses weight, gets a new hairstyle, or alters their clothing style, we may think, “Wow good for them for making positive changes.” But the flip side is that the person may be in the beginning stages of a whole life transformation. In her mind she may be creating a new future that will eventually include dissolving her marriage. Just because a person reinvents herself doesn’t mean anything bad of course, unless it’s in conjunction with other warning signs.
While maintaining a happy and healthy marriage can be challenging, it is also very rewarding. By taking time for one another, keeping open lines of communication and being considerate, we are supporting the foundation of a successful marriage.