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21 Subtle Signs Your Marriage Is In Trouble

by Jessica

The new era of social media and the internet has brought an increasing scope of awareness and self-reflection. Unlike the times of our parents and grandparents, marriage is more of a commitment than an obligation for the newer generation. That being said, the number of divorces in our country has increased with time. According to Divorce Rate & Statistics (2022), approximately 50% of marriages in 2022 will end in divorce. If you find yourself sitting on your couch with a hot cup of mocha questioning your relationship status, then you need to be thoroughly educated on the signs of a dying marriage. 

21 Subtle Signs Your Marriage Is In Trouble

Is there a voice in the back of your head constantly nagging you that something in your relationship needs to be fixed? Marriage problems may not necessarily mean the end of your partnership. Before it’s too late, recognizing these warning signals can actually save both you and your relationship. If maintaining your marriage is vital to you, you shouldn’t put it off for too long.

It is a known fact that marriages can be challenging. You are spending the rest of your life with this person, so there will undoubtedly be ups and downs. Some marriages, though, appear to have problems more frequently than others. These problems can range from communication problems to neglecting your appearance/health to a lack of intimacy. But don’t worry; we are here to help you spot these signs and hopefully save your marriage. Here are 21 subtle signs your marriage is in trouble. 

1. You’ve been noticing communication problems

Communication is a crucial link to the success or failure of any kind of relationship. Lack of communication is a straightforward sign of marriage trouble. One of the early signs your marriage is in trouble is when couples start communicating less and less with each other. 

“Marital therapists also rate dysfunctional communication as the most frequent and damaging problem they confront in their work with couples,” says Frank D. Fincham in his book The Routledge Handbook of Family Communication.

The top five reasons for the lack of communication in marriages are stated below:

  • Ignorance
  • Disrespect
  • Lack of love
  • Complacency
  • Lies

2. You experience the first signs of abuse in your marriage

This is one of the first things to look for when assessing if your marriage is in jeopardy. Cara, a doctor from Chicago, shares with us, “I told my friends that I think my daughter’s marriage is in trouble. But I didn’t know how to broach the topic with her. So I sent her a video on domestic abuse, and talked about how kids need to tell their parents when there are initial signs of trouble in their marriage, and that parents need to believe their kids so that it doesn’t lead to abuse of any kind.”

She adds, “That’s when she opened up. I was shocked. I immediately asked her to come back home and we arranged for couple’s counseling for them soon after.” If someone you know is going through the first few subtle signs of abuse, help them take the necessary steps toward their safety. These could be indications like:

  • Denial: Denial involves the abuser avoiding responsibility and making the victim feel like all the problems are their own fault
  • Yelling: This can become a routine in an argument and can make conversations unintelligent
  • Gaslighting: Gaslighting involves the abuser making the victim doubt their memory, judgment, and mental stability. The tactics can slowly wear down the victim and cause them to crumble

3. You’re emotionally dependent on someone else

Even though it’s healthy to have emotional connections with people outside of your relationship, yet in some cases, it could be a sign of a troubled marriage. A marriage can witness serious issues if you find yourself frequently complaining about your spouse to your child or a close friend instead of discussing your issues with your partner and looking for practical solutions.

Basically, you are robbing yourself and your partner of the potential to develop an understanding if you find that you are unloading your marital problems on someone else.

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4. There’s been withdrawal from family and friends

If you can’t let go of that gnawing feeling that your spouse is slowly pulling away from you and the family, it can be a warning sign of serious issues in your marriage. It is important to note that everyone needs breathing space in all sorts of relationships from time to time.

However, complete withdrawal from family and friends by either of you will lead to an unhappy marriage. To resolve this, spend some time talking to your spouse about what’s happening in their life and why they feel disconnected. 

Related Reading: 12 Things To Do When Your Husband Chooses His Family Over You

5. A neglect of appearance and grooming marks the start of a troubled partnership

If you’re not taking care of your appearance, it may be a sign that your marriage needs some work. You’re no longer putting in the effort to be your best self for your relationship. You may even dress purposefully so your spouse finds you unappealing to avoid intimacy. In any case, not caring about how you look is a subtle sign of your lack of interest in looking good for your spouse, or even yourself. 

6. It’s been a while since you were intimate with one another

The reduction of intimacy between you and your partner is an indication that something is amiss. It’s not even just about sex. If you no longer caress, hug, or touch each other fondly, it is one of the early signs your marriage is in trouble.

“You both need to communicate your intimacy needs to each other unhesitantly, in a congenial manner, without sounding accusatory. Your partner will not know what you expect during intimacy unless you say it clearly,” advises India’s top sexologist and professor Dr. Rajan Bhonsle, MD.

7. You’re never really ‘off’ work

According to research, short-term and long-term work overloads significantly affect marriages. If you find that you can never relax and enjoy your time off from work because you are constantly worrying about it, then you are clearly inching toward marriage trouble. You need to be able to put your work on hold and simply unwind and enjoy yourself without experiencing work stress or anxiety throughout the day.

If you cannot do that, then it indicates that you’d rather be invested in work than spend time with your spouse, and it could be one of the key signs your marriage is over.

8. You don’t spend time together

Finding time for each other can be difficult if you’re both always working late hours, taking care of the kids, or just generally busy with other things. Additionally, even if you do have some free time, you might avoid spending it with your partner.

Feelings of estrangement and resentment may result from this. You can begin to feel more like a roommate than partners in your marriage. This separation could develop into an emotional affair or perhaps physical infidelity if you’re not careful.

Related Reading: How Much Space In A Relationship Is Normal? Balance Is Key!

9. There are early signs of disrespect toward each other

Your marriage is in trouble if you catch yourself treating your partner disrespectfully. It will not only harm your relationship but will also eventually lower your spouse’s self-esteem. They can begin to think they are genuinely worthless as a result of backhanded compliments or sarcasm over time. Some common signs of disrespect in marriages are stated below:

  • They are unapologetic and defensive when they are at fault
  • They constantly try to change your personality
  • They fail to keep their promises

If you discover that you, too, behave a little disrespectfully on a daily basis, it’s time to stand back and re-examine your marriage. A pleasant, healthy relationship cannot be built without respect. 

10. Resentment is a sign your marriage is in trouble

Resentment is one of the most serious issues in marriages. Love is on its way out of the relationship if you find yourself always harboring grudges against your partner. Unresolved disputes are frequently the root of resentment, which can swiftly develop into poisonous rage and bitterness.

Krista Jordan, in an article wrote, “Any kind of betrayal (financial, sexual, etc.) can lead to strong feelings of resentment.”

11. Unresolved disputes keep coming up

An unresolved dispute has the potential to end your marriage if you’re not careful. To build and maintain a healthy relationship, it’s crucial to resolve conflicts gently, quickly, and frequently. 

The following are some indications that there may be unresolved tension in your marriage:

  • You avoid conversations on certain subjects because you anticipate conflict
  • You raise the same points repeatedly without ever coming to a conclusion
  • You frequently go to sleep irritated
  • You discover that you are always watching your partner’s behavior and words for signs that they are misguided or ‘wrong’
  • It’s crucial to act toward ending the conflict(s) if any of this seems familiar.

Related Reading: 7 Expert Tips To Resolve Conflict In A Marriage

12. You both keep arguing

Arguing is an incredibly normal part of any relationship, but if it’s constant, then it can put an immense strain on couples and can lead to some serious issues in marriage. Maybe you and your spouse are constantly arguing about the same things, or you keep getting into arguments over the pettiest things, or one of you may even keep digging up past issues. Whatever the situation may be, constant arguing is one of the early signs your marriage is in trouble. 

According to Dr. Janice Kiecolt-Glaser of The Ohio State Wexner Medical Center, constant bickering in a marriage is so unhealthy that it can actually make you physically sick.

13. Boredom has set in

Real-life creeps in after the initial thrill of the wedding and honeymoon wear off, and the daily routine can begin to feel reasonably mundane. It’s crucial to let your partner know if you’re getting bored in your marriage. If ignored, boredom, which is frequently a subtle warning that something is missing in the relationship, might cause further problems.

14. Absence of support is another sign your marriage is in trouble

It’s critical to feel a strong base of support in a relationship. If you discover that you frequently turn to friends and relatives for help rather than your spouse, then it indicates the absence of support from their side.

It may be time to discuss your needs and see if anything can change if you don’t feel like your partner is supporting you emotionally. Here’s what you can say to them:

  • Instead of saying “You should do this/that”, try saying “I need you to do this/that for me”. Prioritize your need in the statement, not what they are ‘not’ doing
  • Sometimes you just need to vent, but your partner keeps giving you suggestions. In this case, say, “I just need you to listen to me”
  • Lastly, don’t forget to recognize their efforts. A simple “Thank you for doing this for me” will make all the difference

15. You’re basically leading separate lives

When the husband and wife start living different lifestyles, it is one of the most subtle signs that the marriage is failing. Although it can take many different forms, this usually entails one partner growing apart from the other. It is one of the most obvious signs your marriage is over. This can mean that you may go on for days without having a proper conversation with your partner. You may find each other looking at your phones at the dinner table instead of talki about each other’s day. This can result into one or both of you feeling lonely in your marriage.

Related Reading: The Top Rules Of Separation In Marriage To Make It Successful

16. You or your partner is flirting with others

One of the most typical signs that a marriage is over is when a partner constantly flirts with others. While casual flirting can be harmless, the said partner may be on the verge of having an affair if they are being evasive with their phone and computer use.

According to research, some of the most common reasons for flirting outside of marriage are listed below:

  • Lack of love and emotional connection between spouses
  • Issues with self-worth
  • Weak commitment
  • Neglect from the spouse
  • Unfulfilled sexual desire 

17. You’re disengaged from each other

Disengagement is one prevalent sign of a dying marriage. The central meaning of this is that one or both partners are no longer emotionally invested in the relationship. It can take various forms:

  • Couples might cease discussing their shared future plans
  • They don’t talk about their individual aspirations anymore
  • There’s no curiosity about one another’s day
  • They don’t notice things about each other, like a haircut, a new outfit, the preparation of a new dish, a new routine, a new hobby or passion, etc.
  • You don’t feel compassion toward each other

18. You’ve been keeping score

Keeping a score is a definite way to increase stress and animosity in your relationship, and it is one of the most serious issues in marriage, regardless of who does more around the house, who earns more money, or who looks after the kids better.

According to relationship experts John Gray and Mark Gungor, men typically maintain scores by doing significant things (like buying expensive gifts or planning excellent vacations) and awarding themselves lots of points for each. Most things are worth no more than one point when it comes to how women count things. Men may not perform a lot of everyday duties since they think they are providing enough for their spouses. Wives continue to believe that their husbands are significantly underperforming, which is also valid.

Related Reading: 9 Signs You Are The Problem In Your Relationship

19. The marriage is making you feel confined

It’s crucial to pay attention to your feelings if you feel imprisoned in your relationship. It can indicate that you are in an unhappy marriage.

There are several reasons you could feel trapped with your spouse:

  • Your core needs aren’t being met
  • You can’t express yourself freely; there’s fear/stress of judgment or criticism
  • Your partner is being too possessive and insecure and has curbed your basic freedom
  • They don’t give you enough space or scope to explore your individuality
More on Failing Marriages

20. You’re both creating diversions to sweep problems under the rug

Many spouses who are going through a difficult marriage start looking for band-aid fixes to disguise or distract from the actual problems in the union. Couples in this situation may do the following:

  • Trying an open relationship
  • Taking an adventurous vacation
  • Talking about having a baby — bringing a child into an unhappy marriage is the worst thing one can do

21. There’s been a lack of sweet gestures

Even the smallest of sweet and romantic gestures go a long way. From taking care of your spouse when they’re sick, to holding the door open for them, every single act of affection indicates the presence of love and care in your marriage. If you find that your partner is not showing you love as they used to, then maybe that ‘spark’ just isn’t there anymore.

Immediate Steps To Take If You Think Your Marriage Is In Trouble

You should act right away if you believe your marriage is heading toward crisis. Try to address the problems as soon as you are aware of what they are. Seek out couple’s therapy if you and your spouse are having communication issues. It’s crucial to make an effort to pinpoint the underlying causes of your problems. Even if the situation seems hopeless right now, a fulfilling marriage is still attainable.

If you think your marriage is in trouble, you can attempt to salvage it by taking these immediate steps:

1. Make a list of every known issue

Any marriage that is on the verge of dissolution carries a great deal of unaddressed concerns. And if you want to keep the relationship intact, now is the moment to create a list of the issues and work toward resolving each of them. Talk to your partner and tell them how important it is to discuss the ongoing problems – before they get out of hand. This is an effective way to solve relationship problems without breaking up.

2. Improve yourself

It’s never too late to start over. So, learn how to have a compassionate and peaceful marriage and renew your commitment to one another. Learn how to show affection to your partner, reaffirm your vows to your new relationship, and say it out loud.

3. Get rid of the three A’s that lead to divorce

Anger, affairs, and addiction are the three A’s that lead to divorce. Any kind of negative habit is harmful to a marriage. If either one of you gets angry quickly, then learn to control it. Affairs are already considered the last straw in a marriage for the majority of people. Addictions come in many forms, including alcohol, substances, porn, and gambling. Work toward quitting the addiction before your spouse decides to call it quits with you. However, If it’s your spouse who’s suffering from addiction, give them a chance and help your partner get over addiction before you call quits on them.

4. Learn to voice your worries in a positive way

To be heard better, one must convey better. In an argument, make sure you have a positive approach when discussing your partner’s shortcomings. People make the mistake of being hostile and rude when it comes to an argument with their spouse. Next time, try to be as calm and collected as you can be when you argue with them, and gently voice your expectations. 

5. Increase your positive energy toward your partner

Take a step back and consider what you like most about them whenever you start to get upset. Think about the way they make you laugh or the things that made you fall with them in the first place. Reminding yourself of positive things like “he/she is always there when I need him/her” can help put out positive energy for them in your mind. Keep these traits in mind and allow them to alter the way you see the present issue. You can also make an effort to change your own attitude. It’s more likely that your spouse will return your positive energy if you are radiating it.

Key Pointers

  • Focus on the subtle signs that indicate growing trouble in your marriage
  • Every married couple faces some issues in their married life, and these issues can be solved with mutual cooperation
  • If you find your marriage to be in trouble, it is always advised to seek help from family, friends, or a professional
  • From communication problems and intimacy issues to withdrawal from family and constant arguing, these are all subtle signs of an unhappy marriage

When two people are married, they make a lifelong commitment to love and cherish one another. But sometimes this bond can deteriorate. A marriage may end for a variety of reasons, but unresolved issues between two spouses are frequently to blame. It’s crucial to get counseling if you’re experiencing marital difficulties. There are numerous services available to assist couples in resolving issues and preserving their marriage, as marriages can be saved with work and dedication.

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