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Stop Divorce…
Ten Danger Signals to
Look for in Your Marriage

by Nancy Wasson, Ph.D.


Healthy marriages require time, energy, attention, and vigilance. It’s not realistic to think that you can have a great marriage without effort on your part. And the truth is, to stop divorce from wrecking a home, a smart spouse must be aware of the danger signals that foreshadow marriage problems.

It helps to be observant, to ask questions when you don’t understand something, and to be aware of changes in behavior, tone of voice, and attitude. Communication experts have discovered that only seven percent of our communication is verbal, while the other ninety-three percent is based on body language and tone of voice.

Marriage counselors typically tell their clients to pay attention to much more than just the words a spouse actually says.

There are ten danger signals that you should be aware of to head off trouble in your marriage before problems become more serious. Pay attention when:

  1. Your spouse acts upset but says “Nothing’s the matter” when you ask, yet you’re sure there’s more to it. Trust your gut feeling about this. Females in particular are prone to say “Nothing’s wrong” when asked “What’s the matter?” This often indicates that there is something they really want to say, but they don’t feel comfortable saying it. Work on creating a safe atmosphere for the sharing of mutual concerns.
  2. You question your spouse about something and then get a listless, barely audible “Okay, that’s fine,” but the tone doesn’t sound sincere. This answer is similar to number one. What’s usually obvious from the tone of voice and other non-verbal communication is that for sure something is wrong. Everything is not right. And if that “something” doesn’t come out into the open where it can be resolved, it will surface later and cause marital difficulties.
  3. Your spouse is unusually agitated or anxious when you walk in unexpectedly while he or she is on the computer. It could just be a coincidence, but it may also be that your partner is involved in doing something that he or she does not want you to see. To know if it’s nothing or if something is happening will take observation over a period of time. Becoming involved with someone online isn’t harmless, as some partners will claim. It robs a marriage of focused energy and commitment, plus it can lead to an affair in real time.
  4. You notice that your spouse is being secretive about text messages or cell phone calls. Sometimes a spouse will find the partner hiding in the closet or locked in the bathroom talking on the cell phone. This is certainly a sign to pay attention to, but don’t jump to conclusions. Just observe for awhile. Sometime there’s a good explanation such as a spouse who’s making secret calls to set up a surprise birthday party for the partner. But if that’s not the case, then the secret calls could be a signal that your marriage is in trouble.
  5. Your spouse has a significant change in moods, socialization patterns, enjoyment of life, or grooming/appearance. A spouse may become depressed and sometimes the mate doesn’t put the clues together to realize what’s happening. The spouse who is feeling depressed may experience changes in sleep patterns, appearance, eating, and hygiene. There may also be uncharacteristic isolation from friends and family, as well as loss of interest crying spells in things that used to bring pleasure. In these cases, it’s time to consult with your spouse’s physician.
  6. You realize that your spouse has developed a pattern of trying to avoid going to bed when you do and sleeping in the same bed with you. Numerous wives have shared in counseling that they stay up later than their husbands on purpose to avoid sex. Or they may say that a child won’t go to sleep unless they lie down with the child. Then, the parent often ends up going to sleep in the child’s room, while giving the excuse that they didn’t want to wake the partner or that the parent fell asleep without meaning to. The warning sign comes when this turns into a nightly pattern, not an occasional occurrence.
  7. You realize that you don’t know who your partner really is any more. This is certainly a wake-up alarm that it’s time to make your marriage a top priority. At this point, you’ll want to spend extra time together talking and sharing from the heart. One common complaint marital counselors hear is, “He (or she) doesn’t really know who I am. I’m just someone who keeps the house clean and takes care of the kids (or I’m just a paycheck to her). Take the time to rediscover what your spouse is really thinking and feeling.
  8. Your relationship feels dull and stale. If this feeling continues, both you and your spouse could become more susceptible to the lure of an affair. Deliberately schedule plans to save your marriage from boredom by trying new things and going to new places, and of course, look at how you could spice up your sex life with your mate. Could you trade off babysitting time with a friend so you can leave the kids and get away for a weekend with your spouse? Or leave the kids at a friend’s house while you and your partner stay home alone?
  9. You find yourself living in the same house with your partner but never really connecting. If this happens, it’s time to schedule a time each day to sit, talk, hold hands, share feelings, hug, and reconnect. You can’t afford to lose your feeling of bonding and closeness with your partner. Make your marriage your priority and immediately cut back on extra activities. Without emotional closeness, your marriage will lose its passion and momentum.
  10. You realize your sense of fun and joy has been replaced by complacency and resignation. It’s time to liven things up. Are you in a rut? Shake things up and put some variety in your marriage. Maybe you could agree to those dance lessons your wife has been begging you to take with her. Or perhaps it’s time to go on that camping trip your husband has been asking you to go with him on for months. Whatever you do, don’t just sit there—do something fun!

Use these ten tips to forestall these marital problems that have caused countless relationships to end in marriage separation and divorce. Instead you can have a great marriage starting with your awareness of what is not working and making the appropriate changes.

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Copyright © Nancy Wasson.  All rights reserved.  Nancy Wasson is co-author of Keep Your Marriage: What to Do When Your Spouse Says "I don't love you anymore!" This is available at http://www.KeepYourMarriage.com, where you can also sign up for the free weekly Keep Your Marriage Internet Magazine to get ideas and support to stop divorce.

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