Statistics say that divorce rates are down. That is good news, of course, but what about the number of people who are currently suffering in unhappy marriages? There are couples who don’t want to divorce because they don’t want to hurt their children, or they are just unwilling to admit that the marriage has failed.

Most bad marriages gradually decline years before they fall apart, often dying a lingering death until one day the marriage is over. For many unhappy couples, the problem is recognizing the point when the marriage is finally over.

Usually, going through this agonizing process hurts both partners while they struggle to hold on because they refuse to give up. The truth is that there are times when divorce is the only choice. If the marriage is permanently broken, it’s better to deal with it and go on with your life. Divorce can be overwhelming for the whole family, but the sooner it is over, the sooner you will able to get emotional stability.

There are a number of signs that your marriage may be heading for trouble, and if you recognize them early, you may be able to deal with them and head off a divorce. Left untended, small problems can turn into big ones as emotions get more and more out of control. Sadly, you might even see that some of the problems were obvious before the marriage, but you didn’t want to see the signs.

If you did marry in spite of the warning signs and hoped to change your partner, don’t beat yourself up about it now. Just know that you have to take action, or you and your partner will continue to be unhappy. Some of the signs of an unhappy marriage are:

  1. Your spouse rarely says anything nice to you and you also have nothing good to say to him or her. Instead, you both become highly critical of one another. Then one or both of you becomes afraid of making a mistake and withdraws from the other, which only compounds the problem.
  2. You no longer enjoy each other’s company. When you are together, you wish you had stayed home because you are miserable.
  3. Small things become a big problem. For example, if you are neat and tidy, it might drive you crazy if your spouse is a slob and leaves a trail of stuff behind him. If you’re always picking up after him and resenting it, that’s a danger sign.
  4. You love the times when you are alone and your spouse is away. If it seems like you can’t relax and enjoy yourself unless he or she is not home, that’s another warning sign.
  5. The intimacy has gone out of your marriage. If you and your spouse are having sex infrequently or never, it means the desire for each other is gone. It could also mean that one of the partners is having an affair.
  6. Money is a major issue. If one of you is a frivolous spender while the other wants to save and feels insecure without a cushion of money, it can become a major problem between spouses.
  7. You cannot agree on long-term goals for your lives. If your spouse is refusing to discuss the future, it might mean that he or she does not see a future with you.

If you are seeing these symptoms in your marriage, you only have two choices. You can accept the marriage as it is or you can get professional help to try to save your marriage.

If you choose to get help, you can often find it in books, online, or through a marriage therapist. It is important that you get this help as soon as possible, because your entire family may already be affected by anger and depression resulting from the situation. If your marriage is showing signs that it is not working, get help as soon as you can.