6 Signs That Your Marriage Is In Crisis.

Author of 5 books, podcaster, parent trainer, husband and father.

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Marriage rarely begins in crisis. There are exceptions to this but it's certainly not the rule. Marital problems usually start off small and almost undetected. If left alone, however, they could grow into a full-blown crisis. How do you determine whether your marriage is in this state or not?

I stood in our backyard frustrated, angry, and glaring through the window at my wife. We were on separate pages and the outlook was bleak. It was year 5 of being married and things were unraveling fast. Mind you, this didn’t drop on us like a bomb. It was more like a slow trickle that gradually, over time, eroded the ground of our marriage away. We had work to do and we needed to start immediately.

Thankfully we did and things turned around. Health returned to our partnership and we learned how vital putting the other’s needs above our own was to the success of our marriage. But it didn’t end there. We’ve had to work everyday since to make sure the heart beat of our relationship is healthy. Truth is, it’s much like taking care of your physical heart. Pay attention daily or you could quickly find yourself in dangerous territory!

How do you know if your marriage has crossed over to this? How do you know when you’re nearing a crisis, or worse, in the middle of one? Here are 6 signs we’ve discovered over our 16 year marriage, and from the countless marriages we’ve helped over the years:

  1. You’re living separate lives. Your interests, hobbies, friends, and preferences are completely different from one another. When you go out with friends, those friends aren’t friends with one another. When the weekend arrives you head off in separate directions to do different things. You’d be surprised how easy this is to overlook until it’s a glaring issue that everyone around you can clearly see. We’ve never really dealt with this completely but we have found ourselves going different directions, at times, over the years. The way we worked this issue out was to intentionally sit down and work out ways to get back on the same page. Intentionality in marriage goes a long way to fix issues before they become a crisis.
  2. You miss-communicate over the small things, often. Yes, the small things. Most big items are easy to stay on the same page over. Most. Buying a house, sending a kid to college, paying the mortgage, buying a car etc. etc. It’s usually the little things that trip us up. Paying the electric bill, remembering a date on the calendar, fulfilling a commitment you made to help with something, making an important phone call, and the list goes on. These small, seemingly unimportant things end up piling up into one big communication issue.
  3. Sex (or intimacy) is sporadic. This has to be on the list because it is an extremely important part of a marital relationship. It’s not the single driving force behind a healthy relationship but it is a force. Sex connects us to our partner physically, but also emotionally and spiritually. It’s impossible to make sex just physical, even for guys. Sex, and intimacy, are expressions of a deep love, appreciation, respect, and commitment to our spouse. When lots of time goes by in between these moments, there’s trouble.
  4. You don’t enjoy being together. Plain and simple, you don’t like going out together. Perhaps you find little satisfaction in spending quality time together, or you don’t have “time alone” high on your list of priorities. This is downplayed or dismissed often as, “We’re just busy,” or “Our schedule isn’t allowing it right now.” My question back is, “Why?” Why was this a priority before marriage but suddenly it fades into oblivion after you say “I do?” Was your pursuit of your spouse reserved only until you placed a ring on his or her finger, or was there more to it than this?
  5. You have a greater interest in other people. This may seem like an obvious sign but it’s so easy to overlook. Ask yourself this- “Do I find more fulfillment or excitement in conversing with, or meeting with, other people than I do my spouse?” A related question would be, “Do I enjoy the company of someone from the opposite sex more than I do my spouse?” The bottom line is this: If being with, living life with, or sharing thoughts and dreams with your spouse brings you less fulfillment than it does with other people, especially another man or woman, you’re in a crisis.
  6. You spend a lot of time away from home. This is one of the biggest warning signs of all. In my years as a family pastor I saw many marriages end in affairs because one spouse spent all of their time elsewhere and not at home. Either that person ended up involved with someone else or the person left at home alone did. Time apart over a great amount of time is a recipe for marital unfaithfulness and marital crisis.

It’s devastating really, and It happens all too often in marriages all over the world. The warning signs are clear but often dismissed or downplayed, over looked, or ignored until a couple ends up a statistic. We would have faced this same fate if we wouldn’t have learned some valuable lessons, and made some big changes, more than a decade ago.

If you’re married and reading this, can I plead with you for a moment?

If some of the points above are jumping out at you, or you’ve realized that some of this is happening in your marriage, stop what you are doing and seek help. It’s critical that you take this step. Often times, couples dismiss the signs (as we’ve already said) which leads to a bigger crisis, or worse- irreparable damage. For the sake of your family, your children and your future, don’t wait to find the help you need.

Have you noticed some of these signs in your marriage? What are you doing about it?

This post originally appeared on Good Men Project as “5 Signs Of A Marriage In Crisis” on Friday, May 22, 2015.

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Mike and Kristin Berry are the Co-Founders of The Honestly Adoption Company and have been parents for nearly two decades. They are the authors of six books, and the host of The Honestly Adoption Podcast.

Sarah Gray

Sarah Gray is the executive assistant to Mike and Kristin Berry. And she is the best in the land. In addition to providing a warm and friendly response to the many emails our company receives on a weekly basis, she also manages Mike and Kristin’s speaking and meeting schedules, and makes sure that team events go off without a hitch.

Nicole Goerges

Nicole Goerges is a Content Contributor & Special Consultant for The Honestly Adoption Company. She works with Mike and Kristin as a recurring co-host for the Honestly Adoption Podcast, and co-host of Kitchen Table Talks, exclusive video content for Oasis Community, along with Kristin. She is a fellow adoptive mom, and former foster parent.

Matt McCarrick

Matt McCarrick is the Content Production Specialist for The Honestly Adoption Company. If you’ve loved listening to our podcast, or enjoyed any of the videos trainings we’ve published, you have Matt to thank. He oversees all of our content production, from video edits, to making sure the tags are correct on YouTube, to uploading new videos to Oasis, to hitting publish on a podcast episode, he’s a content wonder!

Karen Anderson

Karen Anderson is the Community Engagement Specialist for The Honestly Adoption Company. She spends the bulk of her time interacting with, and helping, people through our various social media channels, as well as providing support for Oasis Community members through chat support or Zoom calls. In the same spirit as Beaver, Karen is also passionate about connecting with parents and making them feel loved and supported. Karen is also an FASD trainer and travels often, equipping and encouraging parents.

Beaver Trumble

Beaver Trumble is the Customer Care Specialist for The Honestly Adoption Company. Chances are, if you have been in need of technical support, or forgotten your password to one of our courses, you have interacted with Beaver. He is an absolute pro at customer care. In fact, he single-handedly revolutionized our customer care department last year. Beaver is passionate about connecting with parents and making them feel loved and encouraged.

Kristin Berry

Kristin Berry is the co-founder of, and Chief Content Specialist for, The Honestly Adoption Company. She spends most of her time researching and connecting with guests for our podcast, as well as direction, designing and publishing a lot of the content for our social media channels, blog and podcast. She loves to connect with fellow parents around the world, and share the message of hope with them.

Mike Berry

Mike Berry is the co-founder of, and Chief Marketing Specialist for, The Honestly Adoption Company. He spends the bulk of his time and energy designing and building many of the resources you see within our company, as well as social media and email campaigns. His goal is to use media as a means to encourage and equip parents around the world. He is also the co-host of The Honestly Adoption Podcast.