5 Signs Your Marriage May Be In Trouble
P.S. If you see these happening in your marriage, I highly encourage you to meditate on these biblical truths (asking God for his insight into your situation) and possibly seek out a trusted friend or professional counselor for advice.
Also, physical or mental abuse are definite signs of a marriage in trouble. Seek immediate help should this describe your marriage.
1) You don’t desire to serve your spouse or to put them first
We are called to sacrificially love our spouses (Ephesians 5) everyday, whether that’s physically serving them or allowing their opinions to be as valuable as our own (Philippians 2:3-4) when making decisions.
I hear you. We think, “Why should I serve them when they do XYZ, when they don’t treat me right, or when I know they won’t serve me back in return?”
But here’s the thing: rending yourself unable to love them “until” (until they treat you correctly, etc) means that you are shortchanging the beautiful example of sacrificial love that God designed for marriage.
And bottom line, this inability to unconditionally serve your spouse will severely limit the closeness between the two of you and stifle God’s desire to use marriage to grow you in holiness.
Your spouse doesn’t have to “deserve” your unconditional love in order for you to give it. In fact, that’s the very definition of unconditional love and the foundation of grace itself.
These moments are a very real reminder that we aren’t really serving our spouses in marriage but God Himself!
If you see signs of this in your marriage, consider these verses:
- Ephesians 5:22, 24-26, 28, 33
- 1 Corinthians 7:32-34
2) You care less and less about your spouse’s opinions or desires
Let’s be frank—sometimes our spouses annoy us!
While I’m not advocating that we dismiss our feelings or don’t give validity to our emotions, it’s dangerous to a marriage when we habitually choose to not weigh our spouse’s opinions as important as our own.
Why? Because friendship is the foundation of every marriage. A strong friendship isn’t self-seeking, but seeks to bless and help the other person, which sometimes results in sacrificing our own opinions and desires in order to maintain peace or demonstrate love (1 Corinthians 13).
That’s why when we dismiss our spouse’s feelings as unimportant, we are hurting the friendship with our spouse, and by default, damaging our marriage.
Here are a few scriptures with more insight on the topic:
- 1 Corinthians 13:4-5
- 1 Corinthians 10:24
- Philippians 2:3-4
3) Unresolved conflict has built in your marriage and forgiveness seems difficult.
It’s normal for arguments to happen in marriage. But the real question is, “What do we do with those conflicts?”
I think of unresolved tension in marriage like a pair of really dirty eyeglasses. Every time we have an argument or issue between us, our glasses (the lens of how we see each other) can get clouded and covered over with smudges, dirt and other debris.
If we don’t remove those “smudges” immediately through forgiveness and reconciliation, it becomes harder to see our spouses clearly (and it certainly becomes difficult to love and serve them unconditionally)!
We must create the habit of dealing with these issues immediately and moving on so that our marriages can operate freely and not be smothered by unresolved conflict.
Consider these verses:
- Ephesians 4:2
- Ephesians 4:26-27, 31-32
- Hebrews 12:15
- Proverbs 17:9
- Proverbs 18:19
- 1 Corinthians 13:5
4) Physical intimacy is non-existent or done with a lustful heart
I’ve found in my marriage that our sex life is a good indicator of our overall marital health.
Sex can be a beautiful balm of reconciliation when couples are going through tough times. Many times, I feel like sexual intimacy “resets” the connection in my marriage.
I share this to say that sex is intended to be an emotional (not just physical) investment in each other, and when a couple reduces it down to a physical act (or they don’t make love regularly), they are short-changing their marital growth and connection.
Many of us let this aspect of marriage slowly erode, and quite frankly, it’s easy to do so!
Besides being “too busy” or “too tired,” here are some other potential reasons why physical intimacy may be lacking:
- We ignore sex because we are no longer attracted to our spouse because of physical changes they’ve undergone.
- We’ve been emotionally wounded in other areas (by our spouse or others) and sex seems unthinkable.
- Pornography or affairs have invaded the marriage and broken trust.
- We have sex with our spouse, but the intimacy is gone and sex simply has become a physical release devoid of relational connection.
We can’t allow the enemy to use our busy-ness or our emotional scars to keep our marriage from this most vital form of connection.
5) You’re no longer making regular, intentional investments in your marriage
We enter marriage with hearts full of hope and excitement because we’ve spent hours investing in our relationship (think date nights, time alone to talk, etc).
Then we get married, and suddenly as the years go by (and we become distracted by other good things like a career, kids or even ministry), our marriage may not seem as bright and shiny with optimism anymore. In fact, it may seem lackluster and simply limp along as we focus the bulk of our emotional energies toward other pursuits.
That’s why date nights and regular scheduled time alone together are so important! We must make intentional investments in our relationship should we want them to stay vibrant and growing.
Consider this: Do your thoughts, actions and schedule demonstrate that you’ve allowed a career, kids (or other potentially good things) to come before your marriage?
It’s so easy to let this happen! And we can come up with a thousand excuses, but we must find creative ways to intentionally invest in our marriages.
Here are four ideas:
- Take 15 minutes to chat each day (here’s what my husband and I do)
- Plan regular date nights
- Plan weekends away/vacations
- Invest in other intentional time together (such as participating in a hobby or home improvement projects together)
These “Strengthening Your Marriage” Resources are an incredible tool to do that! You’ll get 4 resources:
- The Rekindling Romance eKit,
- 90 Date Night Questions printables,
- How to Plan a Marriage Retreat for Two; and
- 30 Days of Loving Your Husband!
All for only 13.50 (50% off the regular price!)
I’m praying for you today, and for your marriage!
Hebrews 13:4 tells us to “give honor to marriage and remain faithful to one another in marriage.”
We must nurture our relationships in order to honor them and to stay faithful!
I pray you’ll check out the “Strengthening Your Marriage Resources” to slowly build your marriage back up! It’s a great way to nurture your marriage!
I’m praying for you today, and for your marriage!
Other Posts on Challenging Marriage Issues:
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And don’t forget to check out the “Strengthening Your Marriage” Resources!