Maybe you’ve been married for decades. Or perhaps it’s only been a few years. Regardless of the amount of time, contemplating divorce is always challenging. You may have been feeling this way for some time, or divorce as an option is a new concept to you.
Divorce may be common, but each divorce is unique. That’s because no two couples are the same. What led them down this path may have been the same issue (ex., money, infidelity). Still, the specifics of how they arrived will always be different.
In any case, you may need help determining where to turn next. Here are some helpful signs to watch that may point you in the right direction.
If you’ve noticed these signs in your marriage, discuss them with your spouse. Marriage counseling is always an option. However, if you’ve tried these methods before and the situation worsens, it may be time to call a divorce lawyer.
1. You Are No Longer Intimate
Intimacy is something that brings couples together. So, naturally, it’s an integral part of keeping them together.
Intimacy is not only about sex.
It includes a general feeling of togetherness and closeness with your spouse.
Suppose one or both of you lost interest in cuddling or sex or even just spending a quiet evening together. That’s a red flag; your marriage is slowly losing its intimacy.
Unfortunately, a lack of intimacy can lead to infidelity or be a sign that it’s already occurring. If one person in the marriage needs more intimacy than the other, they may find it elsewhere. Likewise, if they find intimacy with someone else, they can become disinterested in having it with their spouse.
2. Lack of Communication
We’ve all heard it before: Communication is key. While it may sound like a cliché, it’s true. But, unfortunately, this overused phrase doesn’t help a couple that’s already knee-deep in communication issues.
Sometimes it’s an unwillingness to talk about feelings or more challenging issues. Attempting to discuss problems within the marriage may lead to a meltdown by one or both partners. But, conversely, failure to communicate healthily may fast-track your marriage to divorce.
Why It’s Hard to Communicate with My Spouse Effectively
- Lack of awareness: we don’t know how we’re feeling, so how can we communicate that to our spouse?
- We feel we aren’t being heard: You’ve tried several times before but to no avail. It seems your spouse only hears what they want to.
- How we were taught: Years ago, discussing feelings wasn’t considered masculine. It’s gotten better, but some still have that old-school mentality.
- Scared to be vulnerable: We hesitate to put our feelings out there because we don’t want to seem weak or vulnerable and use silence as a protective measure.
3. Your Marriage Is No Longer a Priority
During the newlywed phase, you spend a lot of time together, having fun simply by watching a good movie together on a chilly evening. But, after a while, you begin to invest less time into your relationship with your spouse.
Instead, you find yourself easily distracted by work, kids, hobbies, or anything else that isn’t your spouse. While making time for those things is vital, neglecting to invest time in your relationship with your spouse is a bad sign.
It may be a case of redirecting priorities to fix this issue. However, if you purposely keep busy, so you don’t have time to focus on your spouse, it’s a clear sign you have no interest in repairing the relationship and may need to consider moving on.
5 Ways to Make Your Marriage a Priority
The newlywed part of a marriage is magnificent. It’s just the two of you, and you make all the time in the world for each other.
Then, as it so happens, life continues. You get a new job and have a couple of children. Suddenly, you’re not spending much time together. So how do you make your marriage a priority again? Read on to find out 5 ways to get your marriage mojo back.
Alone Time Should Be a Priority
When your children are babies, finding time to be alone is easy. You’ve got nap time and bedtime. Plus, they sleep twenty-three hours out of the day at that age.
But what happens when the kids get older? During the toddler years, you may have to wait until Jr. goes to bed or put him in the room early to watch an educational show he likes. Then, you’ll have moments of silence to talk (or whatever else you decide to sneak in…)
Show a Little PDA toward Each Other
Remember kissing hubby all the time? It didn’t matter where you were; you couldn’t wait to plant one on him. How about when you held each other’s hands or when he playfully patted your butt. Those moments of affection felt good, didn’t they?
Relive those moments by stealing a kiss before he walks out the door. As he’s driving, squeeze his thigh. Give him a bear hug as he’s shaving. No matter how big or small the touch, make it a point to connect more often physically.
Show a Little Appreciation
Spouses do things for each other, and that’s how it should be. That’s all fine and dandy, but how often do you let your spouse know that you appreciate their efforts? You may not mean to be ungrateful, but it sometimes happens when we get distracted by life.
So the next time your spouse does something for you, tell them how much you appreciate it. You can also show appreciation. For example, if he packs you lunch before work to help you get there on time, next week, pack his.
If your wife puts in long hours at work, tell her how much you appreciate her working hard for the family. Tell your husband you value him making dinner when you work late. Appreciation doesn’t have to be a grand gesture, either. Saying the words, I appreciate you, can make a big difference in a marriage.
Commit to Having Sex Regularly
I understand committing to having sex regularly can be difficult. He’s tired from work. She’s exhausted from dealing with the kids. But unless something physically prevents you from having sex (illness, injury), you must carve out time for physical intimacy.
More often, for men, physical contact shows that their spouse is still interested. So they need to be intimate with you, and if one partner has the desire (even if you don’t), you should make an effort. Plus, regular sexual activity is great for your health and well-being, so there’s that, too.
Share Your Partner’s Interests
When you were dating, you probably engaged in so many activities together. You were willing to try new things and were excited for them to try your interests. Marriage shouldn’t change that. So keep up that same energy and take an interest in each other’s hobbies.
Since being married for years, your spouse has picked up new hobbies. So make it a point to at least try a few. Who knows, if you like it, it can be a regular thing.
4. Financial Hardship Caused by One Spouse
“To love and to hold until finances tear us apart.” While it isn’t romantic to think about marriage in terms of intermingling finances, money is a vital part of marriage.
According to marriage.com, finances are the number two reason for couples divorcing.
Emmet Burns,Brand Marketing Director for Suntrust says,
“Money really touches everything. It impacts people’s lives.” When it comes to marriage, money and stress go hand in hand.
Spouses should agree on how to spend or save money. If they can’t come to an agreement, divorce will look like a more viable option.
5. Opinions When It Comes to Children
Before we even say ‘I do,’ we should have discussed whether or not our spouse wanted children.
However, people change. What you thought you wanted may no longer be the case. If this happens, it can cause discord in the marriage.
Likewise, if you have children but disagree on how to raise them, it can cause significant challenges. For example, one parent may decide the “hands off” approach is best for rearing children. The other may see structure as the best method to raise kids. If either party is unwilling to compromise, divorce is a likely possibility.
6). The Arguing Has Stopped
Yes, you read that correctly. It is a red flag when the arguing has stopped. You may not want to argue with your spouse, but it’s completely normal and sometimes even a sign of a healthy relationship.
When a couple argues, they are passionate and care about an issue. They want their partner to hear and understand their viewpoint, and sometimes the discussion gets loud. Squabbling between spouses means you want to find the best solution for each other and the relationship.
When arguing has ceased, you should be worried, especially if it’s over an important topic. But, unfortunately, there’s a sense of apathy, so the disagreement goes unresolved, only to blow up later.
Additionally, when the arguments stop, it can mean you give up. You don’t care anymore, so you feel it’s no longer worth arguing your point. In a sense, this is also giving up on the marriage.
7). You No Longer Feel Respected by Your Spouse
When asked, several married couples stated respect was just as much a priority in a marriage as love. When one partner doesn’t feel respected by the other, you tend to feel isolated. When this happens, the result is resentment and loneliness. This hurts because, at one point, you had all these things from your spouse. Now that you don’t, you feel abandoned.
When a spouse feels disrespected and has tried every option to help their partner understand their feelings to no avail, it may be best they go their separate ways.
8 Ways to Show Respect to Your Spouse So They Feel They Matter
- Listen to them
- Don’t do anything you know will hurt them
- Communicate any issues
- Show affection
- Make important decisions together
- Don’t raise your voice
- Help provide for your family
- Make them feel secure in the marriage
Infidelity is the number one reason for divorce. When it happens, it’s a clear sign that the union isn’t solid. However, suppose cheating occurs in your marriage. In that case, it can be an opportunity for the partners to revitalize their appreciation for each other.
If trying to repair your marriage isn’t an option for you because one or both of you gave up on the marriage long before the infidelity occurred, the relationship is irreparable, and you should consider moving on.
9). Domestic Abuse
Domestic abuse is serious and involves physical violence and emotional manipulation. Understanding when to divorce in a domestic abuse situation can be confusing. You may experience episodes in between periods of what you call peace and stability. So, you think you’re OK until the following incident happens. But, you may also fear leaving the marriage will cause problems for you and the kids.
If either spouse hurts the other or the children, get help immediately. Many anonymous online sites can steer you in the right direction. The top priority is to get your family to safety. Once that has been established, it’s time to consider a divorce.
Signs of Emotional Abuse
Domestic abuse involves physical or emotional abuse. While physical abuse is easier to define, sometimes it’s more challenging to see when we are emotionally abused. Here are signs to look out for.
- Critical or judgmental toward you: They put you down or humiliate you in front of others.
- Possessive and/or controlling: They monitor your actions and always call and text when you’re not together.
- Invade your privacy or ignore boundaries: They want to mentally or physically push the relationship faster than you’re comfortable with.
- They are dismissive of your feelings: They constantly call you overly sensitive.
- They’re manipulative: They withdraw affection when they feel you’ve done something wrong.
Deciding if divorce is the right step for you can be complicated. If you feel stuck and can’t decide, get advice from trusted family and friends. If you’re still unsure, think about seeking professional help. Many law practices offer a free consultation and can help determine if moving on is the best option.