You get married, big wedding, lots of friends and family and the two of you are floating on a sea of champagne, everlasting love and boundless hope for the future.
The idea that such bliss could turn sour and slowly transform into and empty and even hostile marriage is very far from your minds. Rather like cancer, that sort of thing happens to someone else but not to us.
Hopefully that will be true. But how do you tell when the bliss of the early years is fading and the relationship is in need of repair, restoration or even resuscitation? The best advice is to watch out for five key things . Experiencing one of the five is not good, any more is a lot worse. Five out of five strongly suggests that life after divorce is where you are heading unless you both take drastic action to tackle these problems. Counselling at Relate is a good place to start as trying to resolve some of these issues by yourselves is very difficult.
Unresolved arguments are on the increase
These are the same problems that come up over and over again. The problem is not discussed but rather the same points of view are stated in exactly the same way as last time. Neither of you really listen to each other so nothing is resolved.
Knowing that the problem won't change leads to a sense of hopelessness. Any real chance of a compromise to break the log jam decreases with time and in the end you just don't care anymore.
Criticism in public
This is a critical point and is evidence of a very serious problem. It is extremely rude to do this but far more important it is deeply humiliating and destructive to your partner. Often the motivation is an expression of anger towards your partner and a desire to show publically just how bad, incompetent or whatever your partner is. This destructive behavior will just drive the wedge further between you.
Silence in a relationship is not golden
Long periods of the silent cold shoulder are usually the result of an unresolved argument which is the consequence of poor conflict resolution skills. You need these skills whether you are a UN negotiator in Gaza or a family in Gwent . The difference between the two is that the UN negotiator is highly trained and the rest of us have to learn it as we go.
You probably feel that you just can't make the other person understand what you are saying, you become angry and frustrated and so in the end you give up and say nothing. Once you stop communicating with your partner then the love and intimacy of the partnership will begin to slip away.
Focussing on the small stuff which is really about the big stuff
The day to day functioning of a marriage partnership is something taken for granted in the early days. Stuff has to be done, supermarket shopping, taking kids to Brownies or Martial Arts classes, mowing the lawn, or taking out the bins.
If the partnership is beginning to have problems then the allocation of these vital tasks can become a source of friction. Instead of just getting on with it issues of who does what and is it fair become paramount. Then up goes the cry,"If anything gets done in this house then it's me who does it!"
Once one of you feels that your contribution is unequal and not properly valued this then comes to represent other and more important inequalities within the relationship. Mutual esteem will then decline along with the chances of the marriage lasting for much longer.
If you are imagining living as a single and having a life after divorce which looks good is your mind telling you that you have given up on your marriage. Are you now coming to terms with the reality of a life without your spouse? Even now it's not too late for counselling. However, if you decide to go for the divorce then you are about to enter the most traumatic period of your life and the first thing you are going to need is a Family Law solicitor or a Family Mediator.