6 Signs Of A Marriage That Needs Serious Help

Marriages end every day. Catching problems while they can still be helped is crucial.

unhappy married couple NDAB Creativity / Shutterstock

It's not uncommon for people to have issues in their relationship that feel unresolvable. But have your problems gotten so bad that you suspect you may have a broken marriage?

There are some drastic behaviors that either directly leads to the end of a marriage or are symptoms of a marriage that's falling apart.

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If you're doing any of these things, you need to stop right now if you want to save your marriage before it’s too late.


6 Signs Your Marriage Needs Serious Help

1. You take someone else's side instead of your spouse's.

No matter how small or inconsequential an argument may seem, if you consistently take someone else’s side over your spouse's, this is a sign that your marriage is in serious trouble.

You see, a marriage is a powerful bond with another person. By marrying someone, you’re saying, “I’ll always be in your corner, no matter what.”

If you’re taking someone else’s side, you’re saying the exact opposite. Your spouse is going to lose faith in you because of this lack of consistency, and in the end, this contradiction will tear your marriage apart.




So whenever your spouse comes to you for an opinion, think carefully before you talk down to them or take someone else’s side.

2. You belittle each other.

Now, I’ll never tell you that you should hide your true feelings in your marriage, but belittling your spouse goes beyond just offering an unpopular opinion. It’s any act that makes your spouse feel worthless or as though you don’t care about them.

This could mean that you’re going out of your way to hurt your spouse, either to provoke a reaction or to try to gain some power over them. Alternatively — and this is even worse — you’re just being honest and you really don’t respect your spouse.


This can be a difficult place to come back from.

Belittling someone can come in many forms. It’s laughing at them for making mistakes. It’s dismissing things that they find important. It’s putting them down when you should be lifting them up.

This is especially harmful if you do it in front of other people, including friends or even your children. What happens behind closed doors is one thing, but if your spouse shows blatant disrespect to you in front of your friends and family, this is a sign that your marriage is seriously broken.

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3. You sleep in separate beds.

This is a common sign of a broken marriage, but one that can’t be overlooked. There’s a reason they call it a “marriage bed.”


You spend one-third of your life asleep. If you don't share a bed, how can you expect to share your lives?

Sharing a bed is about more than just sleep. Sex is a vital part of a healthy marriage. And when spouses stop sharing a bed, it’s often a sign of a sexless marriage.

Plus, there’s a powerful psychological effect of ending and beginning each day together that you just won’t get in your separate beds. This intimacy can be scary, and that can be the reason one of you is shying away.

If you’re not ready to share a bed with someone, you’re not ready to be married to them, and all the love in the world won’t change that.

There are certain situations in which you can have separate beds in a happy and healthy marriage:

  • You work drastically different hours
  • One of you has a medical problem
  • You need to leave town on business
  • One of you has sleep issues such as snoring or restless leg syndrome



Bottom line: If you’re wondering if your separate beds are a problem, they probably are.

4. One of you wants to take a break from the marriage.

Marriage is not something you can turn on and off. If you’ve decided as a couple or as individuals to take a break from your marriage, it means that you’re not yet ready to accept that your marriage is over.

It can be tempting. You two are in a constant state of annoyance and conflict with one another. You keep having the same fights over and over, and you’re just tired of looking at their face at the end of a long day.


Maybe if you got some distance, you’d learn to really appreciate one another? Sadly, this is almost never a good idea.

With marital problems, the only way out is through. Obviously, your current approach isn’t working. It’s going to take some serious discussion, compromise, and empathy to work through whatever problem is driving you two apart.

It may even take professional help from a counselor or a marriage coach. At the end of the day, your marriage might be beyond saving, but one thing is certain: Taking a break is never the answer.

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5. One of you stops wearing your wedding ring.

This one depends a little on the circumstance. If your marriage is otherwise perfect and you don’t wear your ring, you don’t need to worry.


The problem comes specifically when you’re going through a rough patch in your marriage, and you or your spouse take the ring off. This can be to send a message to the other person that if they don’t act right, they could lose you.

Or it could simply be to stop being reminded of your marital issues every time you look down at your hands. Whatever the case, this kind of denial of your marriage is indicative of deeper issues with love and intimacy.

You might say, "Who cares? It’s just a ring." But it’s more than that. It’s a symbol of your life together.

6. You've stopped arguing.

This may seem counterintuitive. If you aren’t fighting, isn’t that a sign your marriage is doing well? On a micro-level, maybe.


Conflict can lead to tension, which can cause all sorts of problems in your marriage. But setting aside conflict entirely is a recipe for disaster.

At best, it’s a sign that you care so much about the marriage you’re willing to completely stifle your own thoughts and feelings and let the other person get their way every time. This may feel like a kindness at first, but it will quickly lead to resentment, confusion, and hurt feelings.



The truth is, conflict is a necessary part of a healthy marriage. It’s how you settle disputes, come to understand each other, and make your priorities clear.


A complete absence of arguments can actually mean something worse. It can mean that you or your partner (or both of you) have stopped caring about one another.

If your lives have diverged so widely, it could be that there’s no conflict because there’s nothing to fight over.

Basically, you don’t share the same space, do the same activities, or even eat dinner together. So what would you fight about?

You make your own decisions and let them make theirs. You’re living totally separate lives.

This may feel empowering, but too much distance is a sign that you’re no longer in love.

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Brad Browning is a relationship coach and breakup expert from Vancouver, Canada, with over 10 years of experience working with couples to repair and improve relationships.