Your marriage is much like a car. When it's running well, it's a comfortable ride that will take you throughout life's journeys reliably. However, just like a car, occasionally the gears get a little out of place and you need to refuel and give the whole thing a tune-up. Instead of waiting for aspects of your relationship to go bad, watch for seven basic warning signs that may suggest you need a relationship overhaul today. By spotting potential red flags ahead of time, you can work to keep your marriage running smoothly before the problems grow bigger and it needs a full repair from the mechanics.
You're Spending More Time Apart
Inevitably, life is busy. After the glow of being newly married has faded, it's natural if you don't your spouse as often as you did when you were newlyweds. However, if you're spending more time apart by choice and are purposefully avoiding spending time with your partner, your relationship may require a tune-up. "Having separate interests is a good thing," says certified counselor Stephanie Sarkis in "Psychology Today" magazine. "Using separate interests as an excuse to get away from your partner is not a good thing."
You Have Unhealed Wounds
Over the years, relationship fights or things your spouse might have said or done to you may have caused you pain and hurt. Failing to discuss these and resolving any unhealed wounds can lead to resentment, bitterness and anger. This in turn can damage your relationship over the long run. "Many people mistakenly believe that harboring hurt and anger...will protect them in the future," says Dr. Susan Heitler in "Psychology Today" magazine. "Wrong idea. It's another formula for growing apart."
The Sheets Feel Cold
"The best barometer to determine if a relationship is on the rocks is the amount of heat created between the sheets," reports "Men's Fitness" magazine. There's no right or wrong number when it comes to proper sexual frequency in a marriage. Factors such as aging, poor health or a recent injury may affect how often you physically connect in this way. That said, a healthy sexual frequency is when both partners feel loved and are having their needs met. If one or both of you feel neglected, it may point to problems in your marriage.
You're No Longer Having Fun Together
A solid marriage is centered around having fun, and on being able to do enjoyable activities together that prompt smiles and laughter. Try to schedule activities that you both find fun, such as an outdoor sport or attending a comedy show.
You Feel Tense or Anxious
How do you feel when your spouse is in the room? In a long-term, healthy romantic relationship, you should feel at-ease and your spouse should feel familiar, like family. If you feel like you can only relax and breathe when your spouse is away from you, then that may be a red flag. Says counselor Stephanie Sarkis in "Psychology Today" magazine: "When you are constantly saying to yourself, 'Thank God, he’ll be gone for the rest of the day,’ then that's a problem."
Your Spouse Has Big Character Problems
Sometimes, a marriage starts to drift because one spouse exhibits character traits that are chronic or unresolvable. These problems include excessive anger, constant cheating, or addiction to substances such as drugs and alcohol. Unfortunately, sometimes these traits don't exhibit themselves fully until later in a marriage.
You Feel Bored
One common indicator for a healthy, long-lasting marriage is the ability for the couple to try new things that are completely beyond their ordinary lifestyle. This helps combat boredom and adds a spark of creativity and energy to the relationship. Examples of this include living in a new city, going on a new type of vacation, or learning a new thing together by enrolling in a community college course or taking a cooking class. If you or your spouse feels bored or stuck in a route, trying something adventurous and new could be just the tune-up your relationship needs.
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