Within the comfort of our marriages is where we should feel the most secure, hopeful, and happy---free to be ourselves and supported by our respective spouses. So, the first thing to watch for as a sign of trouble in your marriage is a feeling that you are not able to relax and be yourself. You shouldn’t feel anxious in a healthy marriage. And, if you do, then that is an issue to explore (perhaps with a counselor) to determine whether the anxiety exists because you aren’t supported and getting what you need in the marriage; or, if it is due to something else, such as an anxiety disorder. In either case, that anxiety should be addressed, rather than ignored. Otherwise, the marriage is in trouble.
Next, it is worth noting that when spouses are unhappy, and feeling unsupported, they will often uncouple; i.e., operate as individuals sharing some things, like a house, and maybe children, but not as an intimate team. If marriage is anything, it is a team of two people sharing their lives with one another in an intimate partnership; if there is no team, then there is no marriage. So, uncoupling is not a good omen for the marriage.
Uncoupling often takes the form of infidelity—either emotional, physical, or both. When a spouse becomes secretly intimate with someone other than his or her spouse, then infidelity is occurring, and the marriage is in trouble. Besides having sex with someone other than your spouse, infidelity is occurring if: you are confiding your thoughts and feelings in someone other than your spouse, especially someone whom you are attracted to; you find yourself wanting to spend time with that other person; and, you are keeping the truth about that relationship hidden from your spouse. This is true, even if that relationship is not a sexual one.
People engaged in this kind of infidelity, by the way, will often attempt to justify it by saying “well, we’re not having sex,” and “my spouse is so jealous, that I don’t want to upset (him or her).” But, deception is destructive of a marriage, and so, is the crux of the problem with infidelity. You should question any relationship that you would not want your spouse to be fully knowledgeable about.
Marriages are worth fighting for when they support us and our spouses. If either or both of the issues discussed in this piece are present, then they must be appropriately addressed for the marriage to be supportive of the spouses. If the spouses are committed enough to address these issues, then the marriage is worth fighting for.
There is much more to discuss on this topic. I plan on addressing other related matters in subsequent posts. In the meantime, if you are considering divorce as an option, then you should know the 8 steps to take to prepare for your divorce.