Divorce attorneys have an up close and personal look at the problems that ultimately tear couples apart. From experience with all kinds of cases, they tend to get an understanding of the most serious marital issues – and those same issues can be an indicator you’re at risk for divorce.
As you go through this list, be honest with yourself. Are these problems you’re currently dealing with? Even if they seem minor now, could they escalate into more serious issues down the road? Let these common signs attorneys observe serve as a warning. Get back on track to building your marriage before it’s too late!
This may sound obvious, but when you’re in the middle of a dynamic like this, you might not see how toxic it really is. Contempt is displayed not just in overt hostility, but in all of those little ways you may be treating each other with disrespect. It could be eye rolling, talking down to each other, or simply viewing differences of opinion like the other person is stupid or inherently wrong.
Check yourself from time to time, and pay attention to how your partner communicates with you. If you’re showing each other disdain, even subtly, you are chipping away at the strength of your marriage one snide remark at a time.
2. Hiding Spending
As we’ve highlighted time and time again, financial problems are at the core of many divorces – and many of those problems have to do with dishonest spending. Many couples combine their finances, but even if they are kept separate, secret spending or taking action to cover up things purchased is damaging to the trust necessary for a healthy marriage.
Without financial transparency, there’s uncertainty that the bills will be covered, that there will be enough to afford basic expenses – and worse, suspicion about what either of you are doing when the other isn’t around.
This problem has two solutions: first, be upfront about what you’re spending and where, and second, don’t make purchases you feel like you have to hide from your spouse! If there are other issues at work here, such as a disagreement about where money should go in the first place, talk about that issue directly, instead of continuing to cause problems by spending behind their back.
3. Lackluster Sex Life
While it’s certainly true that every couple will have a different “ideal” sex life, if sex and intimacy are all but nonexistent, it could spell serious trouble for the future of the relationship. A physical connection is part of what separates lovers from friends, and whether or not you realize it, your bond is strengthened unconsciously by touch and sex.
Because most of us still harbor desires even if the marriage is mostly sexless, it’s not just disconnection that is cause for concern. A lack of intimacy can also cause couples to start looking elsewhere for physical connection, even unintentionally.
4. No Arguments
This probably sounds strange, but couples who never fight at all might actually be at a huge risk for divorce. In a long-term relationship, it’s extremely unlikely that two people will see eye to eye on every topic, that they will never make a mistake or upset the other person… That’s why small conflicts are a perfectly natural (and expected) part of marriage.
If couples aren’t even discussing disagreements, however, it may be because they’re both refusing to engage – or even speak up about what’s bothering them. Eventually, that leads to buried resentment and a huge host of unspoken issues. Couples should be able to trust each other, and talk about anything under the sun – even if that means a little bit of conflict.
5. Little In Common
To enjoy each other’s company, you have to have at least a few things you can enjoy together. If there’s too much “lifestyle distance” between a couple – keeping different hours, opposite social interests, introversion vs. extroversion, etc. – it can be tough to spend the quality time together that makes marriages thrive. Even if you love each other dearly, if you don’t share any common interests, the rift between you is bound to grow.
Fortunately, this can be overcome (at least partially) by taking an active interest in your spouse’s hobbies, trying to find the middle ground between your interests, or dedicating time to learning about what each other likes (and being open to liking it yourself)!
If you notice this kind of distance in your marriage, do everything you can to find commonalities. The time spent together is essential.
Each of these problems can be a huge warning sign that you might be headed for divorce, but if you’re able to catch them early, there’s still hope! Relationship strength is something that can be built with time and effort, as long as you’re committed to making your marriage the best it can be. Don’t let yourself wander blindly toward divorce – instead, be aware of the risks and take action to avoid them.
For more advice on how to strengthen your marriage, check out the StrongMarriageNow System today!
Dr. Dana Fillmore and Amy Barnhart, co-Founders, StrongMarriageNow.com