While most people yearn for a healthy and strong marriage, achieving a state of ongoing domestic harmony takes hard work.
Every relationship is unique, and each comes with its own challenges.
How can you tell, then, if your marriage is starting to show cracks that need repairing?
10 Common Signs Your Marriage Needs More Attention
- You feel like you are constantly burned out
- Your sex drive has dropped
- You are becoming emotionally unavailable for your spouse
- You’re spending more time alone through choice
- Dramatic mood shifts and anxiety start intruding into your life
- Social drinking or recreational drug use becomes more problematic
- You often feel like you are being controlled by your partner
- The behaviors of your partner make you feel like you’re walking on eggshells
- You are no longer arguing at all
- Increasingly, you find yourself no longer enjoying the time you spend with your partner
1) You feel like you are constantly burned out
Feeling emotionally drained from time to time is normal, particularly if you have a hectic lifestyle and you’re always crunched for time. With professional and personal commitments sapping your energy levels, you may find marriage-related issues start doing the same.
To avoid unresolved stressors simmering in your relationship, resolve to openly discuss problems with your partner. Ignoring the normal concerns that affect most people in relationships can cause animosity to build.
As an example, if your partner is placing demands on you that you find stressful, take action. Do not push yourself and then resent your spouse in return. Rather than refusing those demands, instead, look to compromise. All healthy relationships involve give and take.
2) Your sex drive has dropped
While a relationship does not need to be entirely centered around the bedroom, intimacy with your partner is crucial.
Relationships ebb and flow, so don’t expect the honeymoon stage to last forever. That said, if you find yourself wanting to spend less time between the sheets with your partner, this is a common marker for a marriage requiring some attention and TLC.
Compounding this, if you find yourself stressed by relationship issues, this can cause spikes in hormones. Altered levels of cortisol and adrenaline can potentially suppress your libido.
Set an evening aside for intimacy regularly if you find your schedules are impacting life in the bedroom.
3) You are becoming emotionally unavailable for your spouse
If your spouse comes home after a bad day and needs to vent, how do you feel about this?
At the beginning of your relationship, you would likely have done anything possible to console your partner. Maybe now your first instinct is to shut off and tune out this extra stress.
Now, you need to place your needs uppermost. If you are becoming emotionally unavailable for your partner when they need it most, though, ask yourself why. If you are unable to determine what’s making you feel this way, open up to your partner and try to come up with a solution together.
4) You’re spending more time alone through choice
Spending time alone is not a bad thing. Everyone needs some personal time, especially in response to life’s stressors.
Maybe you find yourself wanting to spend more and more time alone. The more this happens, the more you are liable to drift apart.
The crucial question to ask yourself is this: what is causing you to view “me time” as salvation or a rescue?
Ultimately, if your relationship is making you so unhappy you don’t want to be in the same room as your partner, you should take steps to resolve this. Assuming this is not the case, actively work on elevating the quality of the time you spend with your partner.
5) Dramatic mood shifts and anxiety start intruding into your life
The mood is never constant, and feeling slightly down is healthy, especially in response to life’s stressors and the demands of marriage.
Prolonged spells of depressed mood and spiraling negativity point to a deeper-rooted problem, though.
This also applies to anxiety. Feelings of anxiety before stressful life events are a normal response. Perhaps you are starting to see signs of doom everywhere, with worry possibly even triggering panic attacks.
In either of these cases, you may have a mental health disorder like MDD (major depressive disorder) or anxiety disorder. Schedule an appointment with your healthcare provider for a diagnosis.
Whether or not you feel your partner is causing your lowered mood, the issue itself needs addressing for your marriage to continue flourishing.
6) Social drinking or recreational drug use becomes more problematic
Sometimes, the stress in a relationship leads one partner to start abusing drinks or drugs.
If you are trying to help an alcoholic spouse or a loved one grappling with substance use disorder, this can place a further strain on the relationship.
Whether you or your loved one are struggling with alcoholism or drug addiction, both are treatable medical conditions rather than a sign of weakness or hedonism. Research shows that most mild and moderate addictions respond favorably to outpatient treatment. This allows you or your loved one to get affordable evidence-based help without the restrictions of inpatient rehab.
7) You often feel like you are being controlled by your partner
If you feel worried about your spouse’s reaction when you are out late with friends or spending time alone, this can start inducing feelings of stress and anxiety.
No marriage should feel like a prison, and you should meet any unreasonable demands head-on. If you find yourself being controlled by another person, you should seek to reestablish parity.
8) The behaviors of your partner make you feel like you’re walking on eggshells
Healthy marriages should induce a sense of peacefulness and calm. You should be able to relax completely around your partner, share everything with them, and feel free to be your authentic self.
Conversely, if you feel like you are walking on eggshells in the presence of your partner, it’s time to reassess things.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Do you feel nervous talking about certain subjects with your spouse for fear of their reaction?
- Do you have a sense you will get in trouble for something?
- Is your focus frequently directed at how your partner will react if you want to do something for yourself?
Rather than allowing this to continue, simply begin placing less emphasis on the imagined reactions of others, your partner included.
9) You are no longer arguing at all
While high-conflict relationships are unhealthy, a lack of arguing can also indicate potential problems forming in the relationship.
When all healthy arguments stop completely, this is often a sign that one partner has given up on the relationship.
Keep this in mind: the opposite of love is not hated but indifference.
10) Increasingly, you find yourself no longer enjoying the time you spend with your partner
When you feel like you would rather spend time with almost anyone but your spouse, this is perhaps the most blatant red flag indicating serious relationship problems.
Fortunately, like all of the stressors above, you can improve this issue through frank and open communication. Work toward increasing the quality time you spend with your partner rather than just getting through the days.
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