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Signals that the end of a marriage is on the horizon

Texas couples who are having disagreements in their marriage might not be able to differentiate between what is a minor dispute and what is a sign that the marriage is in trouble. There are signs that separate a moderate and common argument in a marriage and what could foretell the end of a marriage. Long-term studies have examined what could be signs that there are problems in the marriage. These were used to determine what the most negative signs were in a marriage.

Contempt, for example, is one of the behaviors amongst spouses that psychologists studied. If a spouse has contempt for the other spouse, it is a signal that one spouse is looking down on the other instead of seeing him or her as a partner. A minor disagreement can sprout into a personal attack. With contempt, there is a tendency to ignore the other spouse's feelings and emotional health. Feeling smarter than the other spouse, thinking that the other spouse is irrelevant and not having empathy for his or her position is a sign of contempt. Criticism can turn an innocuous act that the other spouse did into an attack on the spouse's character. Something like leaving a dirty dish in certain locations around the house could be blown out of proportion and grow into an attack. Continuous incidents of this kind can fester and cause the marriage to come undone.

Defensiveness is another issue that can be a negative sign. Playing the victim when there is a disagreement is a telltale sign of this. Blaming the other person and failing to express understanding can foster negativity. Negativity is a frequent factor that leads to divorces. Finally, stonewalling is when a spouse tries to avoid discussing a problem when there is even the hint of things getting heated. Walking away might seem like a strategy to deescalate the situation, but it is in reality a form of disrespect to the other spouse and can cause problems to remain unsettled.

While it might seem difficult to contemplate ending a marriage, these are signs that the union is no longer working. If they cannot be worked out, it is time to move forward, take account of the divorce legal issues and get on with one's life. Speaking to a divorce attorney can provide guidance with when it might be beneficial to try to salvage the marriage or if it is better to move forward with a divorce.

Source: Business Insider, "4 behaviors are the most reliable predictors of divorce," Erin Brodwin, Feb. 17, 2016

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