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The Stages of a Dying Marriage

There are numerous telltale signs that your marriage is in trouble, if you recognize these then there may be hope in saving it.

An intimate marriage may start to disintegrate as sexual and emotional intimacy begins to dissipate, leading to harsh words and finger-pointing.

At the final stages of a failing marriage, both partners may begin treating one another more like roommates than as husband and wife – often the final straw that leads to divorce proceedings.


Disengagement is often the first sign that a marriage is dying; this could indicate one or both spouses no longer feel committed to making it work, or could indicate they see other people as more desirable and capable than their partner. Once this stage has reached, however, it’s usually too late to save it.

Disengagement may also stem from ineffective communication between partners. At this stage, couples will either avoid discussing important topics or speak harshly towards one another; both of these tactics are detrimental to a healthy marriage and can create additional issues down the road.

Negativity is another telltale sign that your marriage may be dying. While every relationship will experience disagreements, too much negativity can quickly kill off an otherwise healthy relationship. Therefore, communication plays such an essential role in marriages; set aside a weekly conversation time with your partner to discuss what’s working well and where there may be room for improvement – John Gottman of relationship expert status states that healthy marriages have 5:1 ratio between positive interactions and negative ones!

An early sign of an unraveling marriage is losing respect for your spouse. While once admiring their unique qualities, now you might find yourself criticizing or disregarding them entirely. If this occurs to you, it is crucial that you refocus your attention back onto those qualities which attracted you to them in the first place and rediscover why your love was reciprocated by them.

Trying professional help might help restore the spark that once existed between you and your partner. An experienced marriage counselor can teach strategies for improved communication and getting past any negativity in a marriage that might be contributing to its disengagement, while they’ll identify underlying problems which might be leading to disengagement – this might just be enough to reignite it all!

Lack of Intimacy

Marriages that deteriorate often do so due to a lack of intimacy, both sexual and emotional. Without it, couples risk becoming ships passing in the night or roommates who simply coexist together without feeling connected or intimate with each other. While intimacy can be restored in various ways, couples must work on building it back up together as partners before turning their focus away from one another and on rebuilding intimacy between themselves.

Intimacy doesn’t just refer to physical intimacy; it also encompasses sharing feelings and emotional closeness. Emotional intimacy may be lost through not discussing important topics together or being open about thoughts and emotions. Lack of emotional closeness can lead to distance, frustration and anger which can disrupt any marriage.

Couples naturally experience differences of opinion from time to time; however, if these disagreements escalate into constant negativity and contempt for one another this could be a telltale sign of troubled marriages. Also be wary if conversations become heated while eye-to-eye contact or giving one-word answers becomes rare during conversations – this is called stonewalling and shows an emotional disconnection within your marriage has set in.

If you’re having difficulty communicating with your spouse, seeking marriage counseling could be beneficial. An experienced marriage counselor can teach you ways to improve communication and turn conflicts into connections more efficiently while helping identify any underlying problems that might be contributing to an insufficient level of intimacy in your marriage.

Prioritize physical intimacy in your marriage by spending quality time doing activities you both enjoy. Even small gestures like hugging before work or holding hands while watching television can have a major impact. Set a monthly date just to do activities you both find enjoyable!

Broken Trust

Differing perspectives are inevitable in any marriage, and when these differences turn toxic they must be managed responsibly to preserve a happy partnership. Negativity should never overtake positive interactions in a marriage; otherwise it will eventually fade.

One of the telltale signs of a failing marriage is broken trust, whether from infidelity, lying, or withholding information that negatively affects one of you. Once broken, it’s essential that both partners work to restore it if they hope to save their union – though this process can be painful at times.

Trust can also be broken through lack of communication, whether as the result of spending less time together or becoming busy with work and other obligations. Couples experiencing this can begin feeling like roommates instead of spouses and begin living separate lives; or worse still begin having affairs.

Couples in marriages sometimes discover secrets they simply can’t cope with, such as one partner having an addiction problem that they refuse to seek treatment for or that’s contributing to job loss. Being in such an unstable relationship is exhausting; having someone take full responsibility for their actions makes matters even worse.

Finally, some couples experience disillusionment as their marriage becomes increasingly dysfunctional. They may lose faith that their partner can ever change and begin searching for ways to escape physically or emotionally – something which is difficult on children, extended family and finances alike and must be considered carefully before taking such drastic measures.

Divorce can be an emotionally trying decision, but should only be pursued after all other options have been exhausted. While divorce can be messy and challenging, it can help both partners heal from past hurts and start fresh in life.

The Big Decision

If your marriage has reached this point, now is the time for difficult talks about its future. Couples in this stage may feel like strangers living under one roof and may have lost any sense of emotional intimacy that was once there. This feeling may be amplified by feeling that no one understands or even notices how distant you have become; every interaction becomes an opportunity to find fault with each other and revise mental scripts about how misunderstood or wronged they were treated in previous interactions.

Negative interactions are inevitable in marriage, but when they become the primary focus, that should be cause for alarm. Couples in this stage often find their fights escalate quickly into accusations, criticism, contempt, defensiveness and stonewalling; their efforts seem focused more on finding fault than on finding positive aspects to celebrate in each other.

At times, couples struggling to save their marriages come to the realization that it may no longer be salvageable and have children or financial issues complicating matters. At such a critical juncture, it’s crucial to carefully consider all available options before coming to a decision with clear-eyed thinking and reflection.

Marriage can go through ups and downs, but if you recognize these five sure signs of a dying marriage in your own, now may be the time to take action. Seeking help from marriage counseling or therapy could provide insight into what’s going on within your relationship, including whether or not it can be saved. Getting help early allows you to make better choices for the future of both parties involved.

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