“Is my marriage over?”: The Only 3 Signs that Matter
A lot of people will that there are A LOT of signs if your marriage is over. They say it’s simple things like if you can’t agree on whether to have kids, or if you fight a lot. But as a marriage expert, I know that it’s possible to actually work through most issues. Yes, even these ones.
So if you’ve been asking yourself, “Is my marriage over?” – it means you’re wondering if it’s possible to solve your marriage problems. I say, with resounding confidence, NO, your marriage is probably not over. There’s only two real signs your marriage is over. Read on to learn more.
Myths about marriage troubles
You’ll hear a lot of people fear-mongering about marriage and divorce. They’ll say there’s a hundred signs you should look at for in your marriage, and if they happen you’re doomed. This is absolutely false, and I’m going to spend some time right here de-bunking common myths about marriage troubles.
Your future plans don’t include your spouse.
It’s easy to think that if you don’t want your spouse in your future, that you don’t want to be married to them anymore, right? Sure.
Except this really isn’t the whole story. Most of the time, this is just a temporary sentiment. And more importantly, it’s just a symptom of a deeper problem.
At the most surface level, if your future plans don’t include your spouse, it’s because you need to reconnect with your spouse. Start with that, and see how your future plans might change.
You don’t have sex anymore.
A lot of people think that no sex = divorce. And yes, a lack of sex in a marriage can cause serious problems. But it does not mean your marriage is over.
Research has shown that the happiest couples have sex just once a week. Now that’s not all that much is it? So it’s not like you’ve to have sex 6 nights a week to keep your marriage intact.
Once again, a lack of sex is just a symptom of a bigger problem usually. Why is sex not a priority? What’s getting in the way? If you can answer those questions, and find solutions to those problems, it’s quite likely you can add more sex into your marriage.
You (or your spouse) refuse to go to therapy.
Another myth that I’ll bust right now. Just because one spouse doesn’t want to go to marriage counseling doesn’t mean there’s no hope for improving things.
The fact of the matter is, marriage counseling gets very mixed reviews. A lot of people wait too long to seek help, or the counselor is the not a good fit for the patients, they don’t give any solutions or helpful advice, etc. There’s a hundred reasons why counseling is ineffective. But the reality is, it most likely won’t save your marriage anyway.
But just because therapy isn’t effective doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do. Saving your marriage comes down to a specific set of interpersonal skills that make up a clear path to saving your marriage.
You want to cheat. Or, your spouse has cheated on you.
Here’s one you hear all the time. You decide to confide in your friend that your spouse cheated on you. She immediately responds, without even thinking, “You should leave. Just get a divorce.”
NO. This is the worst advice ever! Yes, infidelity is incredibly painful. But surviving infidelity is absolutely possible. I’ll say it once more: infidelity (yours or your spouse’s) is just a SYMPTOM or a deeper issue.
People cheat because they aren’t fulfilled (emotionally, sexually, or both) in the relationship. If you can identify what’s missing, then you can begin to solve the problem.
You (or they) aren’t invested in working on the marriage.
This happens when a spouse loses hope. If you have no hope that the marriage can be saved, why bother working on it, right? It’s the “quit while you’re behind” attitude.
And honestly, I get it. When you’ve faced problem after problem, argument after argument, and you don’t feel like you’ve gotten anywhere, it’s hard to feel hopeful.
But here’s something most people don’t know: hope can be restored in your marriage, and one person can do it alone. It all starts with what we call The Marriage Mindset, and it’s the game-changer that saved our marriage when we were in trouble.
3 red flags your marriage is over
You might think there’d be a lot of signs if your marriage is not fixable. But there isn’t. These are the only 3 major red flags that will tell you that your marriage is over.
If your spouse is abusive, sexually or physically, you are unlikely to be able to fix the marriage. There are a lot of problems you can fix in a marriage, but abuse, unfortunately, isn’t one of them.
People wonder if it’s possible for an abuser to change. The answer to that is no, in almost every circumstance. If you are being physically or sexually taken advantage of in your marriage, it is safer for you to get out of the relationship.
You’re completely estranged
If you’re completely estranged from your spouse, you probably won’t be able to save the marriage. What do I mean by “completely estranged”?
It means, if you and your spouse are not living together, not communicating at all, and maybe haven’t even seen each other for some time. It is impossible to save the relationship if there is no contact.
They’re committed to someone else
Your marriage is probably over when your spouse commits themselves to someone else. Let’s define “commitment” in this context, though, because it’s probably not what you think.
Imagine that your spouse cheated on you, and they’re expecting a child with the other partner. They’ve decided they want a new life with this person, and will raise their love-child together. They’ve purchased a house, and have been living together in it for months.
This is what I mean by “committed”. So, if your spouse is merely dating someone, even though you’re still under the same roof, and you’re fighting a lot – it doesn’t mean they’re “committed” to someone else. They might just be looking for an escape, and there is a way back from that.
What does it mean if these signs don’t apply to me? Can my marriage be saved?
So – if you read about these 3 red flags and thought to yourself, “Nope, nope, nope, this isn’t like our situation,” then GOOD NEWS. You can fix your marriage.
Yes, you may have some significant issues to work through. And it may take a long time. But that’s okay – and it’s actually normal too! The point here is that you can work through the issues. They’re not too big to tackle. You’ve just got to have the right skills, and the right help.
How can I save my marriage?
If you tune into our live shows in our Marriage Support Group on Facebook, you’ve probably heard me say at least once, “Fixing any marriage problem starts with communication.”
Communication is the only way to shine a light on a problem. If no one says anything, how can you know that there’s something wrong?
But let me be more specific for the purpose of this post. It can’t be just any kind of communication. Senseless fighting, name-calling, blaming, etc. will not help you save your relationship. But some fighting can be effective; it all depends on how you do it.
Setting rules for fair fighting can help as well as doing exercises to help improve communication. It’s through communication that you can find the root of your marriage problems, and find mutual understanding.