Marital Paradise In Trouble?
Sometimes the signs are glaringly obvious–domestic violence, conflicts on a daily basis, serious addictions, infidelity but more often, problems creep up a little at a time. A frog put in a pot of boiling water would quickly jump out, recognizing the danger instinctively. But if were put in cold water, BEING heated slowly, the frog would have no idea of the trouble brewing. So it can be with dysfunctional marriages. It seems to be OK until suddenly it doesn’t.
Sign #1: You are no longer affectionate with your partner
Happy, loving couples smile when their partner comes back home from work. They touch each other – a hug, hello or goodbye, a hand on the shoulder, or a kiss. Some people try to defend their lack of physical warmth by saying it’s not how they are built but when affection begins to wane, it points to unexpressed resentment that needs to be uncovered and worked through.
Sign #2: No time for enjoyable activities
If the only time that you spend with your spouse is doing chores, paying bills, managing child care, the relationship is longer a deep and tender friendship. Happy, loving couples need to make their friendship a priority. You need to participate in activities that bring playfulness and joy into the relationship. Work out together, take walks, play games, entertain friends and family, play sports, watch movies, or read books.
Sign #3: No sex or have it very infrequently
Married couples average between one to two times weekly after the honeymoon phase. If the time between lovemaking is growing longer, this is another symptom of decreased connect. Both men and women get a boost of oxytocin – the bonding hormone – while they indulge sexually or even when cuddling. So paradoxically, if you have sex, you will then feel closer again. It’s a bit like priming the pump.
Sign #4: Partners stop good self-care
When either person begins to take the relationship for granted, resentments often build. Both men and women get turned off when their mate puts on weight, stops dressing fashionably or grooming adequately. Since a big part of our attraction to others is visual, it is important to look good for each other.
Sign #5: Blaming your partner for your unhappiness
Couples that don’t fight or fight very rarely have the illusion that their marriage is going well. (The water is getting hotter by the minute but you and the frog are still unaware). If you feel constantly criticized or are critical of your partner on a regular basis, the issues need to be put on the table rather than pushed under the carpet.
Sign #6: Lonely in company
Loneliness is a perfectly fertile soil for affairs. Most infidelities begin more innocently as a desire for companionship. Don’t wait for the crisis and heartache of an affair. Even a desire to look outside your marriage should make the warning bells go off.
Sign #7: Creeping contempt
Contempt is a relationship killer. Contempt is criticism with judgment and bitterness thrown in. It is one of the most obvious signs of an impending crisis. Simply observing couples arguing for a few minutes can help a trained observer accurately forecast the fate of a relationship.
If you are worried because you have all seven signs or many of them, take heed but don’t panic. With problem, recognition courage and commitment, you can work together to recreate a loving relationship that makes you feel liked, loved and respected.