A good husband should provide for his family. He must also make sure of his strong unity with his wife as well as the growth and development of his children. In fact, I remember during my pre-cana education classes where the leader told us that while kids are important - the bond between husband and wife is even more so. Without that strong relationship built and trust, understanding, and respect ... ultimately nothing else matters.
Just a few months ago I was remarking with my wife that we must have some great friends since we seemed to beat the odds in terms of divorces and breakups. Flash forward to today and sadly I can't say the same. This summer has been a disaster for not one, or two but FIVE of our friends who have now filed or are researching how to file for divorce. It sucks. It's hard to deal with as a friend trying to provide emotional support but it has helped Heather and I have some discussions about our own relationship, health, goals, and challenges that we face.
While most of you are in the United States, I've also gotten a bit of a crash course in the challenges of cross-border breakups too. For instance, this office of family lawyers in Surrey BC shared with me some info about how Canadian law - specifically the Family Law Act works to help protect the interest of families and children and in the US there are a bunch of similar laws that differ from state to state. However, that doesn't make things any easier to manage. Things that I take for granted such as being able to go to Canada, Mexico, or even travel out of state on a regular basis become so much more complicated during these legal fights. If you aren't happy then it's probably best to not stick around if things can't be resolved but based on what I've seen so far - it's way more complicated than any of my friends expected going in.
Luckily, the United States divorce rate is declining - down to 3.2 per 1,000 people an 18% decline since 2008. However, millenials aren't getting married as frequently as us older folks did so that isn't a complete picture. Regardless though, being able to maintain a committed relationship is important no matter if it's official or personal.
Here's some important warning signs to look for that might show your marriage is about to fail ...
Loss of Intimacy - To some people, having less sex might be where your mind goes immediately but some of my friends getting divorced have sex WAY MORE frequently than Heather and I do. However, Heather and I still maintain a close relationship with other ways of showing affection and intimacy.
Repeatedly Doing Things You Know Your Spouse Doesn't Want - We all screw up, that's part of being human. Heather's great at telling me when she's upset but if I blatantly disregard the important stuff that she cares about that's going to put us at risk. The true risk is if one or both of us simply stops caring that they are pissing off the other person.
Ignoring When Friends Make Comments To Offer Help or Support - You can ignore advice from friends but often times they are genuinely trying to help. You ultimately know best how to handle your situation but if multiple friends make comments about traveling too much, or spending too much time with the guys then that might be an important warning sign.
Realizing That You Simply Don't Care Anymore - Failure of a marriage is a two-way-street. While your partner can pull the plug - so can you. If you just aren't into the other person anymore and things aren't worth working on then that might be a pretty good sign that your marriage is about to fail. Without that sense that you don't want to lose the relationship, nothing else really matters. That's why communication is so important in the effort to maintain a strong relationship.
Obviously, there are other more immediate signs such as a cheating spouse or signs of financial irresponsibility. However, if you look deeper then you'll realize that almost always those can be tied to one or more of the above signs that your marriage is about to fail.