Nobody says "I do" hoping that their marriage will fail. Yet, even with only seven out of every 1,000 couples walking down the aisle,((OECD - Social Policy Division - Directorate of Employment, Labour and Social Affairs: Marriage and Divorce Rate
)) many marriages are still ending in divorce.
There are many signs that a relationship is on its way out, people just don’t catch them fast enough to save their marriages. This is bad news since research reveals what everyone who has been through a divorce already knows - divorce triggers psychological distress and a decline in life satisfaction.((J Fam Psychol: Breaking Up is Hard to do: The Impact of Unmarried Relationship Dissolution on Mental Health and Life Satisfaction
What are the signs that your relationship is unhappy? What can you do about a failed marriage? Is there anything you can learn from it? You will learn all of these in this article.
Signs of a Failing Marriage
You don't have to experience a divorce to learn how to save your marriage. If you feel that you need marriage advice, look no further. Here are 14 signs of a failing marriage:
- You feel annoyed to be in the same room together.
- You're always arguing.
- You fantasize about being without your partner.
- You often consider cheating on your spouse.
- Conversations are awkward or overly formal.
- You don't enjoy spending time together.
- You're not happy, ever.
- There is constant infidelity in the relationship.
- You are always blaming one another for your problems.
- You no longer communicate together.
- Your sex life is dismal.
- Your partner is verbally or physically abusive.
- There is substance abuse in the marriage.
- You're only staying together for the kids.
How to Cope with a Failing Marriage
If any of the above sounds like your relationship, your marriage is definitely on the rocks.
Seek marriage counseling, open up the lines of communication, and commit to a weekly date night together. This has been proven to improve communication, intimacy, and reduce marital boredom. Couples who have a regular date night are also 20 percent less likely to get divorced.((W. Bradford Wilcox & Jeffrey Drew : The Date Night Opportunity
The relationship advice below will be useful for you too:
What If Your Marriage Failed Already? 8 Lessons to Learn
Of course, it's always good if you can save a marriage that is falling apart. But even if you failed to save it, there're still lessons to learn from it:
1. Phones Can be a Killer
One thing that divorce will teach you is the importance of putting your phone away. Did you know that in a survey on phone use, 1 in 10 couples admitted to checking their smart device during sex?((Microsoft Word: The Attachment Problem: Cellphone Use In America
)) A further 85 percent of surveyed smartphone users say they use their device while speaking to friends and family.((Bank My Cell: Smartphone Addiction Facts & Phone Usage Statistics
Research shows that multitaskers (such as those who used their phones while watching television or trying to have a personal conversation) are less empathetic. MRI scans of their brains reveal less brain density in the anterior cingulate cortex, which controls cognitive and emotional control, as well as empathy.((EurekAlert: Brain scans reveal 'gray matter' differences in media multitaskers
People who snub their partner to play on their phone (referred to as "phubbing" or "phone snubbing") are at risk of divorce.((Personality and Individual Differences: Partner phubbing and depression among married Chinese adults: The roles of relationship satisfaction and relationship length
)) Phubbing as a term was coined as a part of campaign by Macquarie Dictionary, where phubbing is described as a habit of choosing to give more attention to mobile phone as opposed to the spouse or a friend.((Macquarie Dictionary: Ever been phubbed?
Studies show that phubbing directly contributes to a decline in marital satisfaction and an increase in depression. This behavior of snubbing someone over their mobile phone is the root cause of several relationship problems. The phubber makes the phubbee (victim of phubbing) feel ignored, disrespected and experience a stinging sense of relationship dissatisfaction and even hatred.
2. Gratitude Is Necessary
Studies reveal that partners who express gratitude for one another have greater relationship satisfaction.((Psychological Assessment: Personality strengths in romantic relationships: Measuring perceptions of benefits and costs and their impact on personal and relational well-being.
They also enjoy better communication, commitment, relationship investment, intimacy, support, and self-expansion. Gratitude in relationships promotes relationship satisfaction by prompting the partner who receives gratitude from one partner to replicate the gesture of generosity by signalling gratitude to their partner, who initiated this expression of gratitude.
Expressing gratitude also prompts a sense of responsiveness and reciprocal behavior, where both partners respond to each other’s needs, willingly.
3. Communication Is Really Important
When soliciting marriage advice, we often hear that communication is the foundation of a great relationship and this is true.
Your level of communication determines how well you and your spouse will be able to resolve arguments, how deep your marital friendship is, and how vulnerable you are willing to be with one another. Studies also prove that great communication leads to great sex and increased orgasm frequency in women.((Journal of Martial and Family Therapy: The Role of Sexual Communication in Couples’ Sexual Outcomes: A Dyadic Path Analysis
In your next relationship, find someone who isn't afraid to give you their undivided attention, listens to you without interrupting, looks for ways to solve problems as a team, and loves to talk to you about their day.
4. Your Happiness Matters
Focusing on your happiness or self-compassion is not shallow or selfish.
Of course, when you love someone, you want to spoil them emotionally and physically. You want to lavish them with attention, affection, and respect. These things come naturally. But until this happens, you must look out for your own interests.
Find someone who gets you, who respects you, and who makes you feel special. Find someone who makes you laugh. Studies show that couples who laugh together are more likely to stay together.((Evolutionary Psychology: Sexual Selection and Humor in Courtship: A Case for Warmth and Extroversion
)) They also feel more supported and satisfied in their relationship.((Laura E. Kurtz & Sara B. Algoe: Putting laughter in context: Shared laughter as behavioral indicator of relationship well‐being
However, it is important to note that you do not force laughter, and create more chances for spontaneous and shared laughter. Letting loose, revisiting places where you share laughter, playing fun couple games and creating inside jokes are few of the things to help you both break into spontaneous laughter and improve your relationship.
5. Know Your Deal Breakers
If you have experienced a failed marriage, odds are you know the exact qualities that you don't want out of a future partner.
It is good to know what your deal breakers are. Instead of going into a relationship thinking you can change the habits that you don't like, find someone who shares your passions.
For example, are you a spiritual person who wishes to be with someone who shares their beliefs? If so, don't settle. Studies show that couples who share spirituality are more likely to view their relationship as special and treat their partners better than couples who do not share a religious (or "higher power") viewpoint.((Soc Sci Res.: Living and Loving “Decent”: Religion and Relationship Quality among Urban Parents
6. You Can’t Change Someone
Big problems arise when partners believe that once they are married, their partner will change their bad habits.
Wrong! One of the biggest pieces of marriage advice is this: Bottom line, you can't force your partner to change. Only they can do that.
If you are in a new relationship with someone, make sure you love their positive qualities and are perfectly able to tolerate the ones that aren't so great. Because odds are, they aren't changing anytime soon!
7. Maintain Your Friendships
One of the biggest lessons you can learn from a breakup is the importance of maintaining your friendships.
When we get into a serious relationship, there is a tendency to push our friends and family to the side. We're in love, after all. Naturally, we want to spend all of our time with our sweetheart. But consider this piece of marriage advice - if your relationship does not work out, who will be there to support you?
Studies show that the support you receive from friends and family after a divorce, breakup, or other trauma can actually lower psychological distress.((Pers Relatsh.: Understanding Associations among Family Support, Friend Support, and Psychological Distress.
)) If you have not built and maintained strong relationships with your loved ones, you will feel very alone after a breakup.
8. Sex is Essential for a Happy Relationship
One telltale sign that your relationship was doomed was if sex was missing from your failed marriage. It may sound shallow to say that if you're not having sex, you're not having a great marriage. But consider these facts:
Sexual satisfaction is one of the highest predictors in emotional intimacy between couples.((J Sex Marital Ther. : Couple communication, emotional and sexual intimacy, and relationship satisfaction.
)) Men also report feeling happier in their marriages when their wives are sexually satisfied. This emotional intimacy contributes to marital happiness and the overall friendship, security, and vulnerability you feel with your partner.
The oxytocin released during acts of physical intimacy is essential for a lasting marriage. The oxytocin hormone is responsible for reducing stress,((J Health Soc Behav.: Is Sex Good for Your Health? A National Study on Partnered Sexuality and Cardiovascular Risk Among Older Men and Women
)) promoting bonding between partners, raising trust,((Nature: Oxytocin increases trust in humans.
)) and can reduce anxiety and act as a natural antidepressant for women.((Biol Psychol.: Blood pressure reactivity to stress is better for people who recently had penile-vaginal intercourse than for people who had other or no sexual activity.
By following this marriage advice, you can learn the telltale signs that your marriage is failing so you can try to save it earlier. You can even prevent your next relationship from falling apart again by learning the cause of a failed marriage.
A failed marriage doesn’t mean that love isn't in the cards for you, but it's important to learn from the mistakes of the past relationships.