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13 Ways to Know If Your Marriage is in Trouble

By Steve Austin | relationships

Oct 17

Marriage is not a noun; it’s a verb. It isn’t something you get. It’s something you do. It’s the way you love your partner every day.

— Barbara De Angelis

I’ve been married more than ten years. I’m not a relationship expert, but I have seen the best and worst in my own marriage. I’ve also served in churches for more than a decade, and I’m currently a life coach. Here’s what I know: marriage is tricky.

“Marriage is tricky”? Really? That’s way too sweet.

Let’s cut the bullshit: marriage is the hardest job you’ll ever love. Anyone who tells you different is full of it. Marriage is the one relationship that requires the most vulnerability of all. Getting there can be scary as hell. As humans, we all crave love, respect, and belonging – but many people are also shaky scared that if they own their story and tell the truth, we’ll be abandoned or abused.

Are you wondering if your marriage is toxic? In the past ten years, Lindsey and I have done the hard work to make our relationship rock solid. During that time, I’ve identified thirteen red flags. If you want to know if you’ve got marriage trouble, check these out:

13 Ways to Know If Your Marriage is in Trouble

  1. There is no adventure. You’re stuck in the same old routine, and you haven’t been surprised in months (or years).
  2. Your partner makes all the decisions. They feel more like a boss than a friend or lover.

  3. Your sex life is strained or non-existent.

  4. You have lots of sex, but zero intimacy.

  5. Your goal in life is to appease your partner but never inconvenience them. You live in constant fear of what he or she would think if you spoke up for yourself.

  6. You don’t talk. Other than the news of the day, the to-do list, or the children, you don’t have conversations that matter.

  7. You can’t remember the last time you went out on a date.

  8. Marriage feels more like a janitorial job than a place of refuge. You clock in, sweep the floors, change the beds, stay as quiet as possible, and hope that one day when you’re old and grey, you can sit on the front porch and drink your coffee together, while bird watching.

  9. You never laugh together.

  10. Fear of divorce has you doing whatever it takes not to rock the boat. You’re unhappy, but you’d never tell a soul because you’ve heard what your friends say about divorcees.

  11. You can never question your spouse. Rather than brush against their ego, you suffer in silence.

  12. You never fight. You hold it all in and keep your head down, even when you’re mad as hell.

  13. You always compare your marriage to others. You drool over the memories other people make and share on social media, or the stories your co-workers and siblings tell of their remarkable relationships.

What else would you add to the list? Do any of these sound familiar? Do three or more ring true? If you’re ready to make a change, it would be my honor to serve as your relationship coach.

Don’t miss Episode 30 of the #AskSteveAustin Podcast – How Do I Get More Sex?

Steve Austin is a life coach, speaker, and author of Self-Care for the Wounded Soul. Steve’s goal is to help you create a lifestyle of focused emotional health and clarity. Looking for more ways to create space? Subscribe to Steve Austin’s free weekly newsletter by clicking right here.

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About the Author

Steve Austin is an author, speaker, and life coach who is passionate about helping overwhelmed people learn to catch their breath. He is the author of two Amazon bestsellers, "Catching Your Breath," and "From Pastor to a Psych Ward." Steve lives with his wife and two children in Birmingham, Alabama.

  • Lucinda says:

    When you have to check in by phone or text with every move…..When your severe illness is seen as an inconvience, although you cannot stop being injured or sick without medical intervention…When nothing you say is important and you don’t feel listened to….When many things that you find important are disliked by your spouse or even makes them embarrassed (sexual assault advocacy)….When it’s fine if you feel terrible, lonely, emotional, afraid, hurt, sad, angry, etc., so long as you never voice it for fear of their anger….When every decision that you make is controlled by that other person (where to work, where to live, what you drive, how you dress, etc.)…..When your spouse is jealous of your church attendance, yet still refuses to attend with or without you, and angrily demands that this attendance stop….

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