Marriages today are ever-changing with higher stress levels and more challenges than ever before. Couples face more pressures they must deal with while simultaneously working to maintain and grow their relationship with their spouse. Too often, the pressures of parenting when both parents are working, financial concerns and a host of other issues begin to take their toll on the marriage. If you are worried about your marriage, here are some warning signs and ways to resolve each issue:
1. You no longer talk to each other. Relationship experts say that there are four levels of communication for married couples. They are: day-to-day communication, where you discuss how your day went; dream conversation, where you discuss your goals in life; life’s work communication, when you discuss various levels of sharing and laughing. Maintaining an open line of communication results in a strong friendship, which is necessary for a stronger marriage. If you find that you and your spouse are no longer communicating, it’s time to be honest with each other about your feelings, no matter how painful it might be.
2. You no longer hold hands, kiss or caress. Touching and intimacy are the ultimate forms of communication. Some experts say that the best thing married people can do is touch. When you see a couple deliberately sitting or standing apart from each other, you’re probably looking at a couple in trouble. Making a conscious effort to touch your spouse can go a long way to helping your marriage.
3. Every discussion or disagreement escalates into a major fight. Every couple has disagreements; however, if you find that you and your spouse no longer agree on anything, it’s usually a warning sign that your marriage may be in trouble. Make an effort to determine the source of the continued friction. At this juncture, it can also be helpful to seek advice from a religious leader or trusted counselor to learn to resolve disagreements in a more productive way.
4. You take your spouse for granted and no longer maintain your appearance. Relationship experts agree that it is very important for partners to keep themselves attractive for each other. While not typically communicated bluntly that one partner is no longer happy with the other’s appearance, subtle changes in behavior may speak for the dissatisfied partner. A lack of enthusiasm in the bedroom or a desire to do things you’d normally do as a couple separately may be indicators that one person is not happy with the other’s appearance. This problem is easily remedied. Remembering your courtship and the effort you put into your appearance when you were first dating should inspire. As well, keep in mind that there is no one you’d rather look good for than your spouse, as they are the most important person in your life and making an effort to maintain your appearance is more important for your self-esteem as well as for your relationship.
5. You are letting other people and stressors come between you and your spouse. There can be no higher priority than making time for each other. Couples who are parents often become caught up in the needs of their children to the detriment of their marriage. Regardless of your schedule and demands, it is imperative that you make time for your relationship whether that means taking a weekly walk together, texting each other or making some quality time together; simple things can change the direction of a failing marriage.
6. You don’t do things together anymore. One of the biggest signs of trouble is when you no longer are feeding the marriage or you become isolated and don’t do things together. If you begin to display a lack of energy or excitement concerning your partner this often manifests itself in a lack of interest in previously mutually enjoyed activities. Get together with your partner to determine interests and things you can do together or find a new interest. Try a new hobby, take a class together or simply explore a mutual interest. Your marriage and your life will both be enriched.