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Signs of a Marriage in Trouble

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.

Signs of a Marriage in TroubleIn 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.”

marriage trouble signs

“Signs of a Marriage in Trouble” image by kilroyart, via DeviantArt

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?


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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.

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3 thoughts on “Signs of a Marriage in Trouble”

  1. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    My prayer for all couples who are worried they’re seeing signs of marriage trouble is for hope and faith, strength and energy to keep working on their relationship. May the marriage problems bring you closer together in ways you didn’t think possible, and may your relationship be rooted in spiritual and emotional health. May you turn the marriage trouble into marriage strengths that surpass your expectations. Amen.

  2. Dear Amber,

    What is holding you back from leaving your husband, and starting over? Is the pain of staying in your marriage worse than the thought of getting a divorce?

    I can’t tell you what to you do, or if your marriage trouble is bad enough to seek a divorce. But, I do believe that circumstances don’t change on their own. It’s up to us to create the lives we want, out of the stuff we’re given.

    What kind of life do you want for yourself and your kids, and are you willing to do what it takes to get it?

  3. I have been with my husband for 11 years we have been married for 2 yrs we have 3 boys together I do love him I think but sexually if when do have sex which is rare he hasn’t satisfied me in a very long time when it comes to the kids he doesn’t help at all apart from when he is angry in general and than the kids cop it. we have nothing in common we are completely opposite we don’t really spend time together. financially he doesn’t help his wage goes to what he wants and needs and mine goes to rent food and bills and if I have a tiny bit left over some how he guilts me into giving it to him leaving with nothing. and whenever I need help with any of the bills he doesn’t help or maybe once in a blue moon when I scream and yell about him not helping. I no longer have any one to talk to because he has made us both distance ourselves from everyone all apart from my mum and I cant talk to her about this. sometimes we wakes with the shits and feel I have to walk on egg shells because at any moment he will explode and than tells me I have the shits. I don’t think we can repair this anymore but I don’t know I am scared to leave in case I make a big mistake but all I know is I am not happy and think my life would be so much more peaceful if it was just me and the kids. WHAT should I do?