Dissolution of a marital union doesn’t generally come as a surprise. There are many subtle symptoms that can indicate a marriage is heading for the rocks. If you have a feeling that something just isn’t right, you could be correct. Here are several signs of a dying marriage every couple should be aware of:
When playful teasing turns into contempt
A happy couple may take great delight in ribbing one another about silly things. When that sort of gentle give-and-take evolves into downright meanness, it’s definitely a sign that a once-playful marriage is taking a turn for the very worst. When lighthearted behavior is replaced by rudeness, sarcasm, name-calling, eye-rolling and general hostility, both spouses may actually become ill.
According to a study published by the National Institutes of Health, a hostile marital environment can directly lead to suppression of the immune system in one or both partners.
Personal criticism can cut a marriage certificate to shreds as quickly and as subtly as outright contempt. Using provocative, demeaning language such as “You always do this” or “How come you never do that” during an argument does nothing to solve the issue at hand. It can, however, leave a lasting wound on a loved one’s heart.
Voicing a complaint is okay. Calling a spouse an idiot or worse while expressing one’s dissatisfaction with a situation is not. Name-calling and belittling are sure signs that the end of marriage is near.
Inability to let go of the old stuff
When couples save a list of grievances about one another and revisit them often, that’s a sign that the marriage may be beyond repair. Successful coupling is all about compromise. If either spouse demands the same apology again and again and still doesn’t forgive and forget, it may be time to consult with legal expert about how to file divorce papers.
A physical dalliance outside the marriage may be easier to forget than infidelity that involves emotions. A spouse who’d rather text a special friend about their day-to-day life than talk about their day over dinner with their legal mate may be showing signs that they are withdrawing from the marriage.
Not every thought and feeling has to be shared with a spouse, but when the majority of emotional sharing occurs with an outsider, divorce court may not be far away.
Your Tango notes that a lack of at-home sexual satisfaction is often a symptom of a sick marriage. A once-playful romantic relationship that becomes boring and predictable –or disappears altogether– might be at the end of its shelf life.
Statistics show that more than half of all American marriages end in divorce. Of course, no couple gets married with the notion that they will one day find themselves on opposite sides of a divorce proceeding, but that’s exactly how most marriages wind up. Sometimes, the best plan is for a couple to admit that they did the best they could and part ways.
James Parker works as a relationship therapist and also writes about marriage and relationships for various websites.