50% of marriages end in divorce, and just because you stay married doesn’t mean you’re happily married. No one sets out to have a bad marriage. They simply ignore the warning signs along the way.
Here are six warning signs that your marriage is in trouble!
#1 – You’ve Stopped Pursing Your Spouse Like You Did When You Were Dating (Ephesians 5:21)
#2 – You Have No Boundaries With Your In-Laws (Ephesians 5:31, Genesis 2:24)
When you get married, you take two lives and join them into a single new life. Unfortunately, some parents believe that marriage is more like a tricycle than a bicycle. That NEVER ends well!
We’re supposed to leave our father and mother and join with our spouse to form a new family. As an adult and as a new family, you get to choose your level of involvement with your family.
In marriage, you must establish how you will relate to your family. Parent/child dynamics are all different, and they’re also constantly shifting. Some parents are better than others at understanding boundaries once they’re child is married. If your family tends to be controlling and manipulative, you need to establish extremely clear boundaries with them, and you must not reward manipulative behavior.
#3 – You’ve Stopped Being Kind to One Another (1 Corinthians 13:4)
Virtually all of us had the following words read at our wedding:
The words are much easier to say than to live out on a daily basis. It’s easy to love someone when they’re behaving lovable, but true love loves while someone is behaving in an unlovable manner. So often, we default to treating people the way they’ve treated us, rather than choosing to love them as scripture commands.
True love is patient when they’re being a jerk.
True love is patient when they’re being lazy.
True love chooses to be kind, even when you’re feeling cranky.
True love chooses to be kind when they are unkind.
True love chooses to be kind in good times, and in bad.
True love doesn’t withhold love due to performance or behavior.
#4 – You Always Bring Up the Past in Fights (1 Corinthians 13:5)
One of the most damaging things you can do in a marriage is keep a long list of everything your spouse has done wrong, and use that list against them as often as is possible. Just using the golden rule, you most likely hate it when people do this to you. So, don’t do it to your spouse.
On a more practical level, bringing up the past compounds whatever the argument is that you’re having. Instead of simply attempting to resolve the current conflict, you’re rehashing a past argument. In addition, they’re going to be frustrated with you for bring up the past. So, you go from having one point of tension to having three points of tension, and that’s if only one of you brings up the past.
- Do save every mistake they’ve made to use as ammunition later on?
- Do you constantly bring up the past?
This one I naturally drift toward. I’m deeply analytical and notice patterns. So, when something comes up, my brain naturally starts making connections. When talking through a disagreement, I want to express the patterns I’ve noticed. But instead of helping coming to an understanding, this sort of thing just opens old wounds.
When arguments/disagreements come up, do your best to stick to the topic at hand. Bringing up the past will only escalate the emotions. If you notice a legitimate pattern, bring it up in a setting where neither one of you is emotional, and with a plan to help resolve the issues.
#5 – You Try to Hurt Each Other When There is Conflict (Proverbs 18:21)
All of us grew up repeating the phrase, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” I think, by default, we all believe it as well, but if you stop and think about it, that’s one of the dumbest phrases on the face of the planet.
Sticks and stones can break your bones, and doctors can fix you in a matter of weeks. A hurtful sentence from someone you love can cause life-long insecurities. You most likely have some insecurities based on words which were said to you over 10 years ago.
Once you’ve said something, you can never take it back. You can apologize. You can state the opposite, but once you’ve said something, it’s out there. A poorly thought out sentence or intentionally harmful word can cause a rift in your marriage that takes years to heal.
Don’t say things to hurt your spouse.
Don’t say things which you don’t mean.
#6 – You Always Assume the Worst (1 Corinthians 13:7)
There are going to be gaps between what you expect your spouse to do, and what actually occurs. It’s going to happen a lot. When there is a gap between behavior and expectation, you choose what you put in the gap. You can trust the person or you can become suspicious of the person.
Love chooses to trust.
Love believes the best!
When you’re continually suspicious of your spouse and immediately jump to accusations when there is a gap, you squeeze the joy out of your spouse. Often times, there is a reason for the gap. Your spouse knows it when you’re assuming the worst of them. Even if they’re in the wrong, this is de-moralizing. If they have a reason for the gap, it’s frustrating.
Love chooses to believe the best instead of assuming the worst.
There reason “Assuming the Worst” is major warning sign for marriage is that it indicates a deep problem with one or both of you.
There’s a number of scenarios:
- You’re suspicious of trustworthy behavior: Therefore you have trust issue.
- You’re suspicious of consistent untrustworthy behavior: Therefore they are behaving in a manor which forces you to assume the worst.
- Neither one of you communicates properly with each other: Therefore you’re suspicious of trustworthy behavior which appears to be untrustworthy.
Noticing the warning signs is only half of the way to getting back to a happy marriage. You have to be willing to do the hard work of fighting for your relationship. Always be looking for the warning signs along the way, and be willing to humble yourself and make changes.
What do you see as the biggest warning signs a marriage is in trouble? Comment below and let me!
If you liked this blog, here are two more blogs from Modern Ministry on marriage: