Most marriages go through difficult times but knowing some warning signs may prevent divorce.
Most marriages have times when one or both partners feel disconnected, discontented and just plain confused and overwhelmed about whether their marriage can survive. Knowing the warning signs before the relationship is too damaged can help you to step back, take an honest look at your marriage, get some professional help and hopefully, save your marriage and reconnect with your partner. Here are 5 important warning signs to pay attention to:
1) Do you spend less and less time together? When partners are spending less time together, due to work and/or parenting demands, there is a great likelihood that they will feel less connected and, therefore, less able to reach to each other when they need support, attention and love. Make sure you are able to spend at least a few hours a week together, whether it's taking a walk, going out to dinner, talking in bed at night or having a designated time to connect and discuss personal and household issues.
2) Are the times you spend together fraught with tension and anger? Obviously, two people living together and raising kids will have times when there is tension. But if you notice that most of the interactions you are having lead to arguments and fighting, then you should take care of the situation by finding time to understand what's going on and why there is fighting. Oftentimes, couples can't have these discussions, so seeking a professional marriage therapist is vital, to help you be more objective.
3) Do you find that when you really need someone to talk with, you are nervous about approaching your partner? You're not really sure if he or she can really pay attention to your needs? Most partners will describe their spouse as their best friend - the one person that knows them the best and will be there for them. However, there are times when the disconnection between partners has become so great, that instead, one or both partners feel lonely in their marriage. If you are experiencing loneliness, then take this feeling as a true sign that you and your partner aren't connecting. When couples don't connect and feel safe and calm with each other, they won't be able to open up about their needs.
4) Do you feel yourself drawn to others outside the marriage for comfort and support? If you find that you are becoming closer to another person outside the marriage, even if it's a platonic friendship, this may be a sign that you are "attaching" to another person and feeling safer, emotionally, with that person versus your spouse. It is so important to be honest with yourself about this, so that you can approach your partner and let them know that you think there is a problem in the marriage. Don't wait until your attachment to someone else outways your attachment to your spouse.
5) Do you find yourself wondering if your spouse if having an affair? Anytime someone in a marriage is worried about the other partner having an affair, it's an indication that there is an erosion of trust, connection, and the ability to reach out to your partner about your fears, longings and needs. Pay attention to this feeling and let your spouse know that you feel you need to get help in understanding why there has been such a disconnection and an increase of worries.
Getting help from a trained professional marriage therapist is so important if you find you can't let your partner know about your feelings. A Certified Emotionally Focused Couple Therapist specializes in working on the relationship attachment and helping the couple create a safe haven to begin exploring what has gotten in the way of connecting to the person you married. Most couples find that the reasons they have become disconnected is that there were too many times when one or both needed to reach out to their partner for support, but felt that it was unsafe to do so or when they did, their partner wasn't really there for them. When the couple has gotten into fights or disagreements and there was no repair done to make amends, this aggravate the issue. Remember, you married someone because you felt an intense, strong, attachment and connection, so finding that, again, can save your marriage!