Ever wonder if your marriage is in need of help?
Do you think it will somehow fix itself?
By the time many couples decide to get help, it’s over.
Women often give off little indicators they are not happy. Men tend not to respond at all either because we are blind, don’t care or we don’t think our wives are serious.
Finally it reaches the boiling point. We hear the words DIVORCE and then we wake up and are willing to get involved. Maybe it’s because we do really care. Maybe it’s because we see dollar signs flying out the window. (1/2 of our assets are about to be split) Whatever our motive is, we finally wake up.
The problem is, “It’s often too late”.
I see women making a final decisions to leave their husbands as it’s a very emotional decision, often irreversible. Their pain goes ten miles deep and five miles wide. Their heart passes the point of hardening and they have created a team of supporters to help them decide to leave. When they go through that door of deciding, it’s usually final. Men can do the same thing. It definitely goes both ways.
Here are 7 signs your marriage needs outside help. Don’t let it fall apart before it’s too late.
SIGN ONE: Communication Shutdown
When communication shuts down, TROUBLE is on the way. Fight through your pain and schedule a meeting. Carefully discuss your concerns in a loving and respectful way. Be considerate with your spouse and be careful with your tone. Using a humble approach always produces fruit. I like to start by blaming myself.
Dr. Emerson Eggerichs tells us to ask these two questions when we enter into combat with our spouse.
Husbands: “Did I do something un-loving that caused you to pull away?”
Wives: “Did I do something disrespectful that caused you to pull away?”
Listen to their answer to LEARN, not to REBUT. Your listening skills are crucial at this moment. Make sure your spouse’s voice mattes and they feel heard. Let your response be kind and considerate as you reply. It’s ok to share your pain as well but don’t turn it into a tic for tac. You may want to delay your response for another time. Come up with a plan on how to respond to their pain that is real, authentic and tangible.
IDEAS: Repent, create an action plan, follow through with times and dates.
SIGN TWO: Affection Shutdown
Beware of the cold shoulder. If your spouse has migrated to a place of no affection at all, take it as a wake up call. I think holding hands, hugging, kissing or any type of physical affection are all indicators that things are ok. I understand we all range in our need for affection but none would concern me.
SIGN THREE: Apathy
Apathy is a condition in which we show no emotion for anything good or bad. We simply ‘check out’. This is often the case with extreme depression. It could be chemical, physiological, spiritual or relational. Whatever the case, it is very threatening to marriage relationships. See a marriage mentor, a pastor or a doctor who can help diagnose the root cause.
SIGN FOUR: Avoidance
Avoiding ‘being together’ is another sign the relationship is suffering. Husbands can find a thousand ways to ‘escape’ the relationship. Working late, excessive hobbies or simply watching t.v. in another room for hours. Wives can also bury themselves in countless activities to avoid conflict.
There is an old saying, “You can’t fix it if you don’t face it.” Avoidance can often be the beginning to the end of a marriage. The truth is “All marriages are work”. Do the work in the marriage you are in and reap the benefits.
SIGN FIVE: Lack of Intimacy
Sexual intimacy can often be a barometer reflecting the health of a marriage. (not all cases) If you had a wonderful pattern that was mutually enjoyed but your spouse has pulled away and now avoids sexual intimacy, it’s time to schedule a chat about to sort it out.
SIGN SIX: Disconnect from God
This one should really be monitored by both parties. Fading from God invites all kinds of trouble in a marriage. The spirit of God often nudges us to push through our selfish wants and desires. He directs us to forgive often and offer love towards our spouse even when it’s hard. He gives us thousands of little nudges that help us avoid horrible decisions and directs us back into each other’s arms. When someone fades from God, they invite in all sorts of evil. Stay strong in the word. Attend your church regularly. Schedule talks centered around each other’s faith.
SIGN SEVEN: Verbal Clues
Pay attention to words being used. A wife kept telling her husband she was fed up. He paid no attention. She told him that she wanted them both to get counseling. He didn’t want to. She started talking about divorce. He didn’t notice. One day she handed him papers and for some reason he was shocked.
The truth is, she gave him many exit ramps to take off the broken highway they were on. He didn’t see the signs and by the time he did….too late.
GET HELP: Marriage Mentoring, counseling from a professional or a pastor.
Marriage is a delicate thing. Often our egos drive our decisions and we choose not to get help at all. We would rather get out of our marriage like everyone else. Many couples think their kids are resilient and will survive a divorce. Research hasn’t caught up yet with the real impact divorce has on kids.
Get help for them. Get help for you. If you don’t, you are simply dragging all your issues into the next relationship. It’s survival rate is much lower than the one you are in.
Trust in God, not yourself. He has answers. Turn to a believer in Jesus and allow them to steer your ship for a few months. God often uses people to reach people. Thousands of marriage mentors are trained and released all over the world. I have too many testimonies to tell. Just know this, God loves you so much and wants your marriage to thrive. Let Him reveal himself to you through marriage mentoring.
Galatians 6:2 “Carry each others burdens and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ”.
Let us carry your burdens for a while. You will be so glad we did.
Learn more at www.daretobedifferent.com