Many relationships are cyclical. You and your spouse may go through a rough patch, only to use the difficulty of that bad point in your relationship as a springboard into increased intimacy and a more satisfying connection.
Marriage means making a long-term commitment to someone, which usually means sticking it out through the rough times because you know more good times will come in the future. Unfortunately, keeping a glass-half-full perspective on your marriage could leave you traveling to make things work when the relationship is clearly headed toward its ultimate end.
What are some common warning signs that your relationship isn’t going to rebound this time?
You can’t interact calmly anymore or you feel nothing
Do you find yourself feeling angry, irritated or even depressed every time you talk to your spouse? If you no longer interact without provoking intense negative reactions, saving the marriage likely won’t be possible without extensive rebuilding and work. On the other hand, if you don’t argue at all and feel no strong emotions about your spouse, that could also be a warning sign.
One or both of you has issues trusting the other
Every good relationship is built on a foundation of trust. If you can’t trust your spouse to do what they say they will do or stay faithful to you, you will likely have negative feelings toward them and experience anxiety and stress. Once one person has violated the trust of the other, it may only be possible to save the marriage with effort and recommitment.
There’s a lack of respect between spouses
Respect involves recognizing the value and competency and other people. Unfortunately, if you don’t respect your spouse or if they don’t respect you, your interactions are likely to be unhealthy and your dynamic will also be toxic. Discussing differences and finding ways to respect one another is of the utmost importance for a couple that hopes to make it in the long term.
There’s been a shift in values or priorities for one spouse
Maybe you were both staunchly non-religious when you first got married, but your spouse lost a parent and has suddenly found religion. Perhaps both of you initially agreed that the family should always be the primary focus, but your spouse has recently started making work the focal point of their existence.
If your values no longer match up, you are likely to disagree about how to handle many things, which can lead to constant disagreements and stress in your personal life. Additionally, you may connect and share less with one another, which doesn’t bode well for your long-term bond.
Couples dealing with these issues may find that counseling, a support group or even a retreat weekend is all that they need to start over from scratch and build a healthier dynamic. Other couples will find that despite their best intentions, their marriage isn’t working anymore. If you’re in the latter group, it may be time to start planning for a graceful exit from your marriage.