The biggest sign of a troubled marriage depends on the individual couple. For some couples, fighting is unhealthy – while other couples are at their happiest and healthiest when they’re venting their emotions and lungs.
In The Surprising Secrets of Highly Happy Marriages: The Little Things That Make a Big Difference, Shaunti Feldhahn shares 12 powerful habits that the happiest marriages have in common. Instead of wondering if your marriage is in trouble, you might be better off focusing on how to rebuild your relationship with your husband.
Here, I share a few ways to figure out if your married life is normal or simply “real.” Sometimes we get caught up in the Hollywood hype of fairy tale romances and happily ever after, and we don’t realize that marriage is hard. This doesn’t mean your marriage is in trouble, it just means that your marriage is normal!
A reader asked a very important question on my article about leaving your husband:
“I can’t tell the difference between normal marriage bickering and a serious deal breaker because I literally have no clue. My husband and I come from two very different families and it’s just very sad…I’m very sad…and I don’t want to waste any time if I’m supposed to leave.”
How do you know the difference between a troubled marriage and a normal marriage? This is a great question because we’re saturated with Hollywood myths about love and relationships. We think passionate love and sex standing up in the shower is normal for married couples. And it is – in the first few months of marriage!
But then reality sets in. Jobs, money, mortgages, babies, chores, health issues, parents, vacation negotiations, infertility, parenting decisions – all these normal life issues affect our marriages deeply.
Those real life problems aren’t signs of a troubled marriage. It’s how you as a couple cope with those issues that is an indication of whether your marriage is healthy.
Signs of a marriage in trouble
- Conflict and fighting without resolution
- No sex
- No emotional intimacy or communication
- No respect
- Mismatched or competing expectations and life goals
- Unfulfilled promises
- No interdependence
- Abuse and/or neglect
For a full (and depressing) list of signs of your marriage is in trouble, read 10 Signs of a Bad Relationship – It’s Time to Pack Your Bags When…
If you already know you’re in a troubled marriage, here’s the next step…
Get emotionally healthy
Here’s more of my reader’s comment:
“There are a ton of issues in our marriage, and I just don’t feel like he fully respects me. I don’t feel like I’m in an ‘adoring’ relationship. I build him up and encourage him, but I don’t get the same in return. We have no deep conversation, no sex, just living BLAH day to day. I do love him and he loves me…but I don’t know anymore? And I don’t know how to handle this. I feel defeated.”
I believe most marriage problems are caused by emotional unhealthiness in one or both partners. The happier and healthier you are as an individual, the more likely you’ll be able to recognize and save a troubled marriage.
It sounds like this reader is depressed. I don’t know if she’s depressed because of her marriage problems, or if her marriage problems are leading to depression.
Either way, I think the best thing for her (and anyone in a troubled marriage) is to focus on getting as emotionally healthy as possible. This may mean a trip to a counselor or doctor to talk about possible depression. She needs to come back to life, to get passionate and excited about where she is and what she’s doing!
What do you think – how does your emotional health affect your marriage?
If you know your marriage is in trouble but you don’t know if divorce is the answer, read How to Decide When to Leave a Relationship.