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EP. 134 Fourteen Warning Signs of a Troubled Marriage

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Welcome to a new week of the Hope Rescue Podcast. Last week we shared 8 signs your marriage is in trouble. This week Tim and Kimberly continue that same conversation by sharing 14 warning signs of a troubled marriage. Keep reading to find out what they are and how to move forward after discovering them.

14 Warning Signs of a Troubled Marriage

  1. You can't talk about uncomfortable issues with your spouse. There is no way to get around uncomfortable conversations in marriage. Perhaps you are worried about a particular aspect of your spouse’s behaviour, or want to suggest a major change to your lives together. These are difficult conversations that are necessary to have in a healthy manner. If you feel like you can’t talk to your spouse about uncomfortable issues, that tension will eventually build up and could become explosive.

  2. You always agree. If you and your spouse agree on everything, it likely means that one person is laying at the altar of the other person just to keep the peace. In order to avoid conflict, some will agree with everything their spouse says just to keep the peace. This is an unhealthy habit, and again, can build up over time and become explosive in a marriage.

  3. You always disagree. People grow at different speeds, and that is okay. If you are growing quicker than your spouse, be patient or assist them. But if you always disagree with your spouse, there is likely hostility and possibly contempt in your marriage.

  4. You bring up your spouse’s failures often, or vice versa. We bring up others’ failures when we are feeling insecure. It’s like when a drowning person pushes down a lifeguard to save himself. It’s not about drowning the lifeguard but about saving himself. If your spouse is drowning in life, their insecurities could cause them to put you down. Tim recommends professional counseling if this is the case in your marriage.

  5. You struggle to forgive your spouse or vice versa. Tim explains that being quick to forgive goes hand-in-hand with being quick to apologize. Love and maturity in a marriage doesn't mean that you don't make mistakes but that you repent and forgive quicker.

  6. You or your spouse use slam humor in sensitive areas. This is a passive aggressive behavior because it allows people to personally attack someone but brush it off like it's a joke. These jokes typically aren’t funny to the subject of the joke, and can be very hurtful if it is a common way spouses refer to one another.

  7. You or your spouse makes unexplained changes in their physical appearance. Tim explains that it can be a red flag if one person in a marriage suddenly begins making changes to their physical appearance without explaining why to their spouse. For example, if a spouse randomly begins going to the gym and losing weight or coloring their hair, they could be trying to impress someone besides their spouse. Tim explains that this is not always the case but this sign coupled with some of the others listed could be a red flag to look into why your spouse is changing their appearance.

  8. You and your spouse don’t trust each other. Trusting your husband or wife will allow you to feel safe, secure and supported. Without that trust factor, you likely aren’t telling each other all that you feel, which makes for poor communication in a marriage.

  9. You and your spouse shame each other in front of others. This is a major red flag in a relationship. Tim explains that it’s important to not only speak encouraging words to your spouse but also about your spouse in front of others. He calls this “third-person edification” and recommends only saying positive things about your spouse to others, whether your spouse is present or not.

  10. You and your spouse are not proud of each other. If you don’t feel proud of your spouse, think back to when you first got together. What attracted you to your spouse in the beginning? It’s unlikely that your spouse is a completely different person than when you first got together, so try to write down ways you are proud of your spouse and then tell them.

  11. Your friends are noticing problems in your marriage. Sometimes your friends may think they see a problem that is not actually present, but if a close friend comes to you and points out a red flag they are noticing, it may be worth looking into.

  12. You and your spouse are impatient with one another. It’s natural to feel impatient at times, but if you constantly don’t have patience for your spouse, you likely don’t respect them. This disrespect for your spouse can stem from bitterness and contempt, and is incredibly important to acknowledge before it’s too late.

  13. You and your spouse don’t care about each other’s special days, such as birthdays. Tim and Kimberly emphasize celebrating each other and edifying each other often but especially on special days like birthdays.

  14. You or your spouse spend more time away with friends or the children to avoid being around the other person. If you don’t like being around your spouse or vice versa, analyze why that is. Try to pinpoint why you are avoiding one another, and focus on resolving that issue.

How to Cultivate a Fresh Start with Your Spouse

  1. Pray together with your spouse. Ask the Lord to heal your marriage, bring reconciliation and restore your love for one another. If you’re not comfortable praying together with your spouse, pray alone for your spouse and your marriage.

  2. Be willing to apologize and change for your spouse. It’s one thing to apologize for a certain behavior, but it’s more impactful when change is made after the apology. Are you willing to change certain habits or behaviors for your spouse?

  3. Think about your fears that are causing the disconnect between you and your spouse. Seek to resolve those fears. Are you afraid of being betrayed? Are you afraid your spouse will leave you for someone else? Talk about these fears out loud with your spouse.

  4. Learn to express gratitude for your spouse. Be the person who highlights the little things you appreciate about your spouse. Tell them often.

  5. Cultivate safety in your marriage. Let your spouse know they are physically and emotionally safe with you. The love in your marriage cannot exist where there is a lack of safety. Where there is increased fear, there is decreased intimacy in your marriage.

  6. Don’t compete for power or control to shine the most in your marriage. When you go after your spouse’s limelight, it speaks to your personal insecurities. If you feel like you have to diminish your partner to shine brighter, you’re only hurting your spouse and displaying your own insecurities.

  7. Be honest and ask for what you really want in your relationship. Do you crave safety, love, intimacy, or connection? Don’t be afraid to express what you really desire from your spouse, and at the same time, be willing to ask what they desire as well.

Tim expresses that even if you notice these signs that your marriage is in trouble or needs a fresh start, don’t run. Allow this to be a wake up call in your marriage, and begin to lean into ways to resolve the issues you are experiencing. Join us next week to hear more on this topic!

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