Is My Marriage In Crisis? 6 Signs to Watch Out For
A marriage crisis is not caused by a singular event but a steady process of decline. Understand the stages in the process and you may just be able to avert it.
Let’s look at a marriage on the rocks, hopefully not your own. There’s a cast of characters (husband, wife, possibly kids, and a supporting cast of good-to-toxic relatives and friends) and good ol’ Father Time.
Yes, a failed marriage is a process: it takes time to go from happy wedding to the splits. The steady process of decline is usually punctuated by clear red flags—like the situations described below—that you ignore at your peril.
1. Keeping secrets
Is your partner cagey about where they’re going? Do they discourage you from meeting their friends or officemates? Do they keep their cellphones far from you, or otherwise locked so you can’t look at the contents?
While the worst-case scenario (cheating) isn’t necessarily true in every case, putting up high secrecy barriers against your own partner tells of an unreadiness to share lives that doesn’t square well with one’s marriage vows.
2. You can’t be yourself around them
Do you feel any level of discomfort about being yourself around your partner, warts, farts and all? Do you feel judged by your partner in any way? Do you feel like you can’t let down your guard around them?
Conversely, do you constantly feel like you need to “impress” them? Do you put up a false front of glamor, bravery, or some other version of yourself that isn’t true to what you really are? Do you find yourself trying to change what you are to meet some kind of high standard they’ve set?
To a certain extent, we all adjust our personalities around others, even our partners—mirroring their feelings of happiness, for example, or consoling them when they’re down. But being something you’re not is a totally different matter. Can you really be happily married, if one or both are only acting at being themselves?
3. Being inconsiderate
This is one of the “small” signs that, when looking back, turns out to be a big, big sign of a partnership on the rocks. Do they never help out, even with small things? Do they take it for granted that you’ll move your schedule to adjust to theirs, when they complain if you ask them to do the same?
These “minor” things add up over time: indifference or contempt in everyday matters is a brightly glowing sign of how your partner values you and the marriage in the long run. Someone who treats you badly in the little things will treat you worse when the big things roll around.
It doesn’t quite rise to the level of contempt (one of the Four Horsemen of a marriage in crisis, according to the Gottman Institute), but day-to-day thoughtlessness can certainly pave the way for it.
4. Being a Negative Nancy
Do they put down every thought you express? Do they pooh-pooh any suggestion you make, or at the very least sound off a condescending “well, actually…” when you express an opinion?
But if this happens too often—and if you feel they give your thoughts short shrift on a regular basis—then this is certainly cause for worry.
5. Turning every conversation into a fight
If even minor disagreements turn into pitched battles—or if you feel like you’re constantly walking on eggshells to prevent an eruption from happening—then you need to seriously reassess where your marriage is heading.
Disagreements are bound to happen, from incompatible TV viewing choices to clashing parenting styles. But partners with healthy communication skills and respect for one another’s positions know how to peacefully reach common ground on difficult matters.
If minor conflicts always lead to fights, it’s a sign that intervention is way past due. After years of a marriage like this, separation can end up as the best thing for everyone.
6. Sexual incompatibility
If you’ve been keeping yourself pure for marriage, this can come as a complete surprise when you both hit the honeymoon bed and… find you’re completely incompatible.
One partner may want way more action, more often than the other; another partner may have a kink the other is unwilling to cater to; or one partner may just not want it at all, or can’t perform as required.
Yes, vibrators and masturbation are a thing. But “self-service” is only going to get you so far: sexual compatibility is important in long-term relationships, and one partner feeling unsatisfied in the long term can only be corrosive to the partnership.
If you recognize yourself, your partner, or both in the signs we’ve listed here, it’s past time you had a heart-to-heart talk about the signs you’re seeing; or arrange a conversation with a marriage counselor.
Whatever you decide to do, we recommend also tuning in to Rica Cruz, RPsy, Psychologist & Sex and Relationships Therapist, as she shares a few tips on “Keeping the Romance Alive” in our parenTeam RealTalks YouTube series.
Understand the signposts along the way to a split, and you may just be able to avert it.
About The Writer
Minnette is an experienced writer in entertainment, celebrity publicity, and social media.
As a freelance writer, her work has been published in Smart Parenting, FHM, Cosmopolitan Philippines, and Preview Magazine; her extensive coverage often centers around showbiz, parenting, and food; and their interesting convergence in between.
A graduate of Ateneo de Manila University and mother to one kid and two cats, Minnette can often be found in the kitchen playing with food.
The views and opinions expressed by the writer are his/her own, and does not state or reflect those of Wyeth Nutrition and its principals.