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What Are the Warning Signs of Divorce?

Do you feel like your marriage is spiraling towards divorce? Have you experienced a previous divorce and believe your current marriage is heading in the same direction?聽Do you have a child, sibling, or friend who appears to be in a failing marriage? If so, you will want to pay close attention to the information provided to you in this blog post. There are warning signs that you can look for in almost every failing marriage. The key is to pick up on those warning signs to do something about the underlying problems in the relationship before it is too late.

Many of the warning signs of divorce can be seen before you even get married. Yes, before bad habits set in that can ruin your marriage, you can identify and deal with personality traits and characteristics that more readily lead couples to divorce. The key to this whole discussion is honest with yourself to admit to having some features or tendencies that could present problems to you and your future spouse.

Characteristic #1: Being Ego/Self Centered

Suppose you are a person who frequently concerns himself with his interests primarily. If he does not readily think of others or believes himself to be the center of the universe, you are more likely to have marital issues that can lead to divorce than other people. This probably makes sense to just about every person reading this blog post, including those of us who may have the personality defects I talked about at the outset. So if identifying the problem isn鈥檛 tricky, where do the issues come in?

Prioritizing Others in Marriage and Parenthood

The difficulty lies in taking action on the identified problem. Knowing that you concern yourself primarily is easy enough to remember but doing something about it is challenging. If you have become accustomed to looking out for yourself first and foremost, don鈥檛 have much concern about other people (other than how they can help you in some way) and generally dismiss the needs of others as being less important than your own needs. Marriage will be very tough for you. On top of that, having kids and raising a family will be even more challenging for you.

Do you have the ability to admit to yourself that focusing on your self-interests could be detrimental to your marriage? I鈥檓 willing to guess that even if you have this ability, it will take a great deal of effort to break free of this habit. The reality is that marriage is an institution requiring you to be on the same page as your spouse and work in tandem with that person for the relationship to be successful.

The Impact of Self-Interest

You can go through the motions of a so-so marriage for a relatively long time. After a while, a problem will develop, and you all won鈥檛 have the foundation to fall back on to save the relationship. That or one of you will become bored with the marriage and find it better to move on rather than work to improve your relationship. Either way, a divorce will be in your future if you cannot identify and then act on your propensity to act out of self-interest rather than your family鈥檚 interests.

Characteristic #2: You鈥檝e been divorced before

This may not be a personality trait or a character flaw, but it is something that you should be aware of as you enter into a marriage. Marrying someone who has been divorced before increases the likelihood of future divorce. However, this doesn鈥檛 necessarily mean that individuals with prior divorces are more prone to divorce a second time.聽Still, I am saying that people who have already gone through a divorce will likely have fewer hang-ups when considering divorce as a viable option.

Some families view divorce as not being an option. Other families that we come into contact with seem to have every adult in the family with a divorce or two in their history. There are a lot of reasons that can go towards explaining this phenomenon. Still, I think the families where divorce has never been an option to solve marital problems tend to create people that will never, ever consider getting a divorce. If a person鈥檚 first instinct is to look for a divorce attorney at the first sign of trouble, you can view this as a warning sign for a divorce.

Characteristic #3: You are not a person who likes to work to solve a problem

Another simpler way of saying this is that you are lazy. The common trait that I have identified with you this morning that people who have successful marriages tend to have is motivation to work on problems. Work = effort. Effort = something that most lazy people do not like to put forth. Lazy does not necessarily equal dumb or misguided. You may have a healthy view of relationships and have no problem identifying your weaknesses and how to deal with them. However, if you are incapable of dealing with those challenges through effort, you may have never identified the problems in the first place.

Understanding and Overcoming Laziness

Identifying whether or not you are lazy takes effort in and of itself. You may be willing to put forth a great deal of effort at work because you are good at what you do. Focusing significant effort on upper body workouts can be beneficial if your arms are already in good shape.聽However, you seem to skip leg days with some regularity because your legs are weaker, and therefore, it is more difficult for you to work those muscles out. Use whatever metaphors you like; the bottom line is that if you struggle with something, you are less likely to work on that thing,

So, if you have noticed that something is not quite right in your relationship but that you or your spouse are not willing to work on that thing (preferably together), you can certainly take that as a warning sign that you are moving towards a divorce. A divorce is not something that has to occur or is inevitable. There are not countless factors working against you in a relationship. On the contrary, if you and your spouse (by far the two most important factors) are willing to work to fix your problems, you can save your marriage from divorce. If not, then this is maybe the most crucial warning sign that you should take heed of.

Money fights and money problems

Money can鈥檛 buy happiness in a marriage, but the lack of money or a plan to build financial peace can certainly be a warning sign of an impending divorce. This doesn鈥檛 imply that wealthy individuals don鈥檛 experience divorce鈥攖hey do. Nor does it suggest that earning less money increases the likelihood of divorce compared to making $20,000 more per year.聽However, you do need to have the same goals with money that your spouse does.

Divergent Views on Debt

For instance, do you and your spouse have different views about debt and how to utilize debt to build personal wealth? If this is the case, it could be a warning sign that your marriage is heading towards divorce.聽I see families where one spouse is keen on paying off debt, cutting up credit cards, and staying away from other loans. When one spouse doesn鈥檛 mind using debt for everyday purchases, regularly takes out car loans, and readily opens store credit cards for discounts, it can pose a significant problem.

I would recommend that you talk to your spouse early in your marriage about what you want to focus on in your family. If your spouse wants their credit score to be as high as possible, this may not be a good thing for your marriage. After all, a credit score allows you to take more debt easier in a vicious cycle. A high credit score is not a sign of great personal wealth or even a good plan for growing financial security in your family. A high credit score can often signify that you lack personal wealth or a method to obtain it. Talk to your spouse about how they were raised to treat debt and how they have interacted with debt to this point.

Navigating Budgeting Challenges in Marriage

Another issue that I have observed some families struggle with during marriages is getting on a budget. A budget may seem like just another way to keep you from being able to live life according to your terms. It may be that. However, a budget permits you to spend money in a particular area rather than wondering where all your hard-earned money went at the end of the month.

Marriage and family counselors will often use budgeting as a means by which spouses can begin to work on family problems together. Something as simple as defining the family goals, where the money goes towards accomplishing those goals, and then set limits on the other areas of your life can be a soothing practice for people experiencing marital problems. If you have a spouse unwilling to submit to any financial planning/budgeting exercises, then I would argue that you don鈥檛 have financial problems- you have marital issues.

Infidelity as a warning sign

Finally, I wanted to touch on infidelity as a warning sign for divorce. This is probably the first warning sign that most of us consider why people ultimately get divorced. The advent of social media and the internet, in general, has made engaging in extramarital affairs easier than ever. The sad part is that these affairs can destroy a marriage easier than any other factor or warning sign that I have listed for you so far. There is something visceral about being cheated on that can rob you of any remaining trust you have in your spouse. Without that trust, the marriage fades away on its own.

If you suspect that your spouse is engaging in inappropriate behavior, you should address the problem head-on. There is no use in guessing a problem, acting suspiciously towards your spouse, yet not directly identifying the concern with them. Your fears may be unfounded, yet there may still be communication or trust issues underlying your initial suspicions that need to be worked on. Whatever the case is, there is no use in acting suspiciously towards your spouse but not discussing the problem with them.

Taking Control: Addressing Infidelity in Marriage

The last thing that I will caution you on regarding infidelity is that we are more in control of this issue than any other one that I have listed today. It may be hard to avoid a situation that we know could lead us into trouble. At that moment, nothing may seem to make more sense than to do something that we know is not right or beneficial for our family. If you or your spouse can come to this understanding, then your marriage can be saved. However, if you are not willing to do so, this warning sign may more readily move you and your spouse to divorce than any other factor I have listed today in this blog post.