3 Tiny Signs You're Not Taking Good Care Of Your Marriage, According To Experts

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Couple avoiding each other

Marital dissolution does not happen in a flash, it slowly erodes over time due to tiny actions or lack of acting in a lot of cases.

Here are 3 tiny signs you're not taking good care of your marriage, according to YourTango experts:

1. You forget your partner's priorities.

When you chronically forget dates or events that are important to your spouse because they're not important to you, you come across as selfish and uncaring. Learn to accept your partner's priorities. Put their important dates on a calendar with advance reminders. Demonstrating that you respect their priorities (even if you don't share them!) can prevent much marital conflict.

Dr. Gloria Brame, Therapist

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2. You avoid your partner.

A tiny sign that you’re not taking good care of your marriage is when you find yourself avoiding your spouse. This can be caused by a plethora of reasons — maybe because you and your spouse are arguing a lot, you are dealing with shame and hiding embarrassing aspects of yourself (e.g., financial spending, weight gain, overspending, overdrinking), or you are bored. But if you find yourself looking for reasons to not “walk in the door,” it’s a sign that your marriage isn’t working. It’s common for people to want to avoid painful situations. However, avoiding the situation never makes it better. Avoiding your spouse can lead to bigger problems, and is a common reason people end up in my office for a divorce. Often, spouses who seek out a divorce find that they have been living separate lives from their spouse – including sleeping in separate rooms. If you are avoiding your spouse, you are putting one foot out of the relationship.

couple disagreement

Photo: fizkes via Shutterstock

What can you do to stop avoiding your spouse? Get real about what it is you are avoiding. If you are avoiding conflict, then think about how you can approach the situation from a place of curiosity – instead of trying to make your spouse see things from your perspective. Seek to understand their perspective. If you are avoiding shame, then individual therapy may best be able to help you deal with the behaviors that are causing you shame and the underlying motives for repeating the shame-inducing patterns. If you are bored when you are with your spouse, then try something new with them – are they interested in live music, dancing, arts/crafts? Try creating something fun and interesting that you will both enjoy together.

Marriage is a long journey. Couples are not always navigating the journey hand in hand. But it’s important to at least stay on the same path.

Jennifer Hargrave, Managing Attorney, Hargrave Family Law

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3. There's overarching negative sentiment

When couples are stuck in the negative sentiment override, they don't notice the positive things most of the time. The negative sentiment override doesn't set in overnight. This can take years to set in. But, once it sets in it's not easy to repair.

What does this mean? It means that you need to work on building a more positive relationship. Work on understanding your partner. Don't be as critical of one another.

Lianne Avila, Counselor/Therapist

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One bad thought about your forever person will not start the avalanche of negativity, just as one slip of your memory to forget an important date for your spouse won't be grounds for divorce. When we look at a single occurrence, it is not a big deal, and most couples can let it go. But when those tiny things become a habit, and you avoid your spouse, watch out! This is a good indication you need to put extra focus on your marriage to keep it healthy and vibrant.

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Will Curtis is a writer and editor for YourTango. He's been featured on the Good Men Project and taught English abroad for ten years.