11 Signs Your Relationship is in Trouble And What to do About it
When things are going right between you and your partner, you can feel it and you will equally feel it when all is not well. When all is well you’re happy when you are together; you support each other; you think and talk about each other in positive ways even when you’re not together. And when things aren’t going well, you say negative things about each other.
In the beginning of your relationship, you likely overlooked your partner’s weaknesses and vice versa. Now, months or years after marriage, it’s getting harder and harder to do that. Maybe the arguments are becoming more frequent or more escalated, or one partner shuts down whenever there’s conflict. In many cases, couples become detached and eventually lose fondness, admiration, and love for one another over time. A healthy intimate relationship is built on trust and intimacy which involves sharing your innermost feelings, thoughts, and wishes. Here are eleven signs that your relationship may be in jeopardy.
Do you often criticize your partner for the way he dresses, drives, eats, speaks or even breathes? Criticism is a destructive relationship habit. Criticism means putting down your partner’s character or behavior. Constant criticism is a strong sign that your relationship is in a downward spiral; it is also a sign of underlying anger or insecurity—neither of which makes a relationship work well. Instead of criticism, healthy couples explain how they feel and make direct requests, so if you want to rid your relationship of criticism, ask your partner for what you want directly. A man confessed to Dale Carnegie, “I have also eliminated criticism from my system. I give appreciation and praise now instead of condemnation. I have stopped talking about what I want. I am now trying to see the other person’s viewpoint. And these things have literally revolutionized my life. I am a totally different man, a happier man, a richer man, richer in friendships and happiness the only things that matter much after all.” Stop criticizing your partner because if you continually harp on the negative characteristics of each other, leaving out all the positive qualities you each possess, then it’s going to be hard for the relationship to succeed.
Lack of trust
When your partner gets home late and forgets to call, do you automatically think he doesn’t love you? When your partner arrives home late, you’re likely to be cold because you believe that person has wronged you, when in fact the truth may be that he was merely stuck in traffic or closed late in his office. Where does your husband spend most of his time? At work, at home, or hanging out with friends? Does he seem happy to see you and eager to come home to you at the end of the day? Sometimes men just need a break. This is not indicative of dissatisfaction with a relationship. But if this continues for a long time, this is a sign that there’s lack of trust in the relationship, which could ultimately mean failure. It might spell disaster for your relationship.
Are your needs for sexual intimacy vastly different or sexual relationship lacking? Few sexless relationships go the distance. Every man has certain level of sexual needs. A lack of regular intimacy in a marriage is a bad sign. So if one or both of you is failing to have your most basic emotional needs addressed by your partner, then that is a definite sign that your relationship may be in jeopardy. So boost up physical affection and sex because sex is the glue that binds. Karol Ladd wrote, “Genesis 2:22-24 tells us, a man leaves his father and mother and unites with his wife, and the two become one flesh. Sexual union has great significance in God’s plan for marriage. …Sex is not reward –something we can give or withhold in order to control, manipulate, or show our husbands we are hurt about something.”
Tendency to focus on objectionable traits
The way you begin your discussion can also predict the likelihood of your relationship lasting or failing. When you two talk about how things are going between you, do you start out with negative statement? If so, your relationship might be in trouble. Is the focus always on what’s wrong, rather than what’s right. If yes, this is a sure sign that your relationship is on the rocks. Even the healthiest relationships face conflict and struggle from time to time so you two should try to resolve whatever difficulties you face together because in their contacts with others, couples tend to discover those traits that they look for. When a wife tends to look for objectionable features in her husband’s personality, she is sure to find them, for very personality includes not only favorable traits, but certain unfavorable ones.
Contempt is any form of disrespect or ridicule. When couples are contemptuous, they treat each other disrespectfully, ridicule each other, engage in name-calling, speak sarcastically or any other communication meant to show disgust, disregard or disdain. If this is happening in your relationship, it’s a big red flag. Healthy couples think in terms of other-appreciation and self-responsibility. Dennis and Barbara Rainey wrote, “Whether the storms of life by turning toward one another and building into each other rather than rejecting one another.
Having selfish expectations
Ideally, a relationship is made up of two individuals who work to achieve a balance. On the one hand, each of you wants to make sure that your partner’s needs are being met. You should be willing to compromise, even when it goes against your own comfort, because if each of you is demanding too much attention, ordering the other around, and insisting on having your way every time a disagreement arises, then that’s a problem. Search for common ground rather than insisting on getting your way when you have a disagreement. Mark Twain remarked, “Good breeding consists in concealing how much we think of ourselves and how little we think of the other person.” The excessive self-assertion at the expense of the rights of others is wrong. Try to figure out the other person’s good points. If you stop thinking about yourself for a while and begin to think of your partners’ good points, your marriage will be blissful. Happiness is a byproduct of life. It comes as the result of living actively and unselfishly. It comes as you learn to spend your energies in the interests and for the benefit of someone else. It comes from focusing your attention on those things which are wholesome and desirable rather than looking for things which are unpleasant and disappointing.
It is right and proper that every husband or wife should hope and strive toward making his family the happiest family in the world. But Michael J. McManus wrote, “Conflict is inevitable. What matters is how it is handled.” Again, there’s nothing wrong with arguing. All couples do. And conflict, when it’s handled in a way that is respectful, relationship can still succeed. But if you feel that all you and your partner do is argue, that’s a problem. A healthy relationship is full of laughter, gratitude, kindness, and respect. If conflict is crowding out cordial relationship and leaving you with nothing but constant squabbling, then it’s going to be tough to build a meaningful and blissful relationship. Nurture fondness and admiration for your partner: Remind yourself of your partner’s positive qualities – even as you grapple with his flaws.
You are always defensive
Defensiveness means automatically defending your position. You’re dealing with defensiveness if you always feel like you have to defend yourself in an argument with your partner, or if your partner is always on the attack, even when there is no need. Defensiveness spells trouble and possibly the end of the road. Defensiveness can be regarded as making excuses for your behavior, changing the subject to what your partner did wrong, or justifying your behavior. Instead of being defensive, healthy couples try to see the others’ point of reasoning.
A frank apology, when indicated, does more to ensure the respect and devotion of the spouse than does any attempt to ignore an injustice.
Do not immediately become jealous and totally freak him out if you are suspicious because if you’re wrong, you will cause hurt feelings, make him angry, and instigate a huge unwarranted fight. There has to be a high level of trust for any relationship to work. You need to know that when you are together, you don’t have to worry about what your partner is up to. If you find yourself always wondering if your partner can be trusted, then that will be a huge hurdle for your relationship to overcome. Likewise, if your partner refuses to trust you even though you have given him no reason to doubt you, that’s another sign that the relationship is headed in a dangerous direction.
Your arguments get out of control
Conflict in any relationship is natural, but when fights start to escalate quickly and get dirty, including shouting, name-calling and blaming, it’s a sign your relationship is in jeopardy. You argue about the same things over and over again and never seem to reach a compromise. Couples who are happy together and likely to stay that way are not as prone to escalation of argument as partners who are on rocky ground. When you disagree you seldom resolve your differences; you fall into the trap of blaming each other and fail to compromise or apologize. As a result, you experience less warmth and closeness. Practice resolving conflicts as they arise. Don’t put aside resentments that can destroy your relationship.
That’s not to say we should never argue with our spouses. There are times to stand up for what we want or need. There are times to bring up a hurt or frustration and discuss it. If a particular issue is going to continue to bother us, we shouldn’t overlook it. It is better to discuss a matter than to allow it to fester and grow into a bigger problem. Making your partner aware of your interests, needs, and desires is healthy. But creating war over interests, needs, and desires is, more often than not, both unhealthy and unnecessary.
“Stonewalling” refers to one partner withdrawing from interaction, shutting down and closing himself off from the other. This could occur in the form of giving your partner the silent treatment, walking away, leaving the house, refusing to talk, or abusive mutterings. When you see it happening, it is a sign that the relationship will end soon. The solution to “stonewalling” is self-awareness and self-control when you are too upset to speak constructively, but would be willing to come back to the conversation after you have calmed down. For peace to reign, listen to his point of view and avoid stonewalling by shutting yourself off from communication.
If you are experiencing any of the above-mentioned signs in your relationship, then it is headed toward disaster, but fear not. You can reverse your path. Awareness is paramount – so talk to your partner about your concerns and see if you can do something about it. Harold Shryock wrote, “It is with marriage as with other phases of life –the end results are determined by the amount of wisdom and effort expended. When two persons agree in their determination to leave nothing in the way of their developing a happy home, there is very little chance of their being disappointed. It must be realized, however, that such a happy state of affairs is not a simple coincidence; it demands active effort on the part of both husband and wife.” The best way to create a relationship built on love, trust, and intimacy is to take responsibility for your own actions and to practice acceptance and compassion for your partner.