Danger... Your relationship may be in trouble if:
1. The two of you bicker all the time.
When couples bicker, they exchange lots of negative strokes. Over the years they remember these barbs and store them until they build a wall between themselves, referred to as "the Wall of Trivia." Once this wall is in place, couples stop feeling close and stop talking intimately.
2. You do not take time out to play, just the two of you.
Many couples know the importance of playtime with the children. They're off to the park and spring break and soccer games. What they don't do is take time to go shopping together, play golf, go fishing, or out for breakfast.
3. You no longer have an active sex life.
It's easy to get out of the habit of having sex. As one man said, "We have to pay our bills and have clean underwear. And there's only so much time."
What sex does is renew the commitment - the two of you are a couple.
4. You do not share household chores.
Some individuals like to cook. Some enjoy doing windows. But rare is the individual who wants to do it all, or who has time to do it all. Couples need to do an inventory of who does what and work toward sharing household chores.
5. You don't agree on how to parent the children.
If you tell your son he may not have the car Friday night, and your mate comes along and tells him he can have it, your mate is sending a loud message that what you say isn't important. You don't count. He also sets up a good guy/bad guy relationship between you and your child. When this happens the relationship suffers.
6. You do not have equal access to the finances.
Most often, one partner makes more money than the other. Unfortunately the one who brings in the bacon, or most of it, sometimes feels that he/she should be the one to spend more. This thinking causes a one-up one-down, out of balance relationship. The best relationships are ones where both partners have equal equity.
7. You don’t respect or value your mate.
If you don't value your mate, you're not going to want to spend time together or listen to her opinions and ideas. Once someone is of little value, that person becomes a throw-away.
8. One or both of you drink too much.
When a mate drinks too much, he's not intellectually or emotionally available, so he's hardly a companion. Too much drinking also leads to the drinking spouse justifying rude and inappropriate behaviors.
9. One or both has a bad temper.
It's OK to get angry. But if you're always spouting off about what you don't like, and always trying to control your mate with your angry feelings, aren't you really saying that you matter more?
10. Neither of you can apologize.
Apologies say, "I stepped on your feelings and I won't do that again." If you can't apologize, you're pretending you're perfect. It's a drag living with someone who thinks she never makes a mistake.
11. You never have a disagreement.
No two people are alike. When two people agree on everything, someone is not being true to himself or herself. When two people see the world from slightly different perspectives, this brings energy and a different viewing point. This is healthy.
12. You don’t have common goals for the future.
Where do you want to be in five years? In 10 years? Do you have a financial plan for the children's education, your retirement? What are your goals as a couple? When couples are in trouble, they don't think about the future as a unit.
13. One or both of you is unfaithful.
Affairs always hurt a marriage. Most marriages, however, can survive an affair, particularly if both mates do the repair work after it ends. But if one mate continues to be unfaithful, it's a marriage in name only.
14. You're sarcastic and put each other down.
Every time you are sarcastic or critical, you drive a wedge in your relationship. If you're sarcastic or critical five times a week, in 10 years you've directly 2.600 negative comments toward your mate. Would you stay with a friend that hurt you 2,600 times?
15. The two of you don’t exchange compliments and thank yous.
It's easy to forget to say, "Thanks for picking up my shirts," "Thanks for taking care of that wedding gift," "Thanks for putting in a new furnace filter." Not recognizing what your mate does translates into taking advantage of your mate's good will.
Most couples start out intending to stay together. If you hope to continue your relationship, heed the warning signs.
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