15 Warning Signs Of A Failing Marriage Relationship

By David Small •  Updated: 11/09/16 •  9 min read

In today’s society, very few couples meet the criteria for a lasting marriage relationship” but they ignore the early warning signs and get married. Couples often do not invest in pre-marital counseling despite having issues prior to the wedding day which accounts for the increasing rates of divorce.

The question is why do couples ignore these signs? Do we simply enjoy playing the denial card or do we believe it can be fixed with time with no real interventions, or are we simply “blinded by love”?

15 Signs Of A Bad Marriage Relationship

For men, being able to recognize these signs early on is our only way of determining if we are making a life-altering mistake by entering into a “bad marriage relationship“. Of course, the solution to all this would be to end it as soon as we recognize that this is not what we or expect in a relationship, but some are more optimistic than others.

A cardinal rule for individuals is to be able to differentiate between an established relationship and dating. Determining the nature of the “relationship” allows individuals to look more closely at each other and decide if they are compatible enough to take things to a higher or deeper level.

Many couples, after only a few dates, make the mistake of rushing into plans for marriage thinking they have found their soul mates. These signs, if present in your partner should warn you that you are about to enter into a bad marriage relationship.

1. She/He Is Physically/Emotionally Abusive

Abuse in any relationship is never acceptable. You should never believe that the abuse is a response to your actions or lack thereof. Abusive partners have deep-rooted problems that need to be acknowledged and dealt with. Abuse in any form is a cardinal sign of a failing relationship.

Abuse is a form of control that signifies a lack of respect and has no bearing on love. Unless your partner is willing and ready to get the professional help he/she needs, that relationship is bad news and needs to be ended immediately.

2. She/He Must Control Everything

A relationship is a partnership, therefore one person should not be making all the decisions without a discussion with the other party. If everything has to be his/her way or the highway, you know that you are in, or about to enter into a bad marriage relationship.

You have to nip this behavior in the bud, otherwise, you will lose your self-respect as well as your confidence in our own decision-making abilities. The danger with this is not only during the relationship but also afterward. If you call it quits after being with him/her a long time, how are you going to be confident enough to make the right decisions by yourself?

3. Your Relationship Is Purely Physical

Getting intimate is definitely NOT among the signs of a bad relationship. However, if sex is all there is to the relationship, then it could be. Marriage relationships should be about more than just sex although it is a very important aspect of a committed relationship.

At first, it’s great especially when you’re young because she looks really gorgeous and you’re both energetic. However, what about when she has your kids, gets older, and doesn’t look as great as she used to? Not to mention, you definitely will not be in the same physical condition as when you were younger.

A failing marriage relationship can have a negative impact on your sex life. Sex should be fun and beautiful, however, if a couple is miserable it is very unlikely that either partner will be interested in meeting the other’s needs. Having a solid foundation will enhance the physical aspects of a marriage relationship while a relationship based on the physical aspects will deteriorate rather quickly.

4. You Rarely Have Conversations

Couples in a failing marriage relationship find it difficult to communicate with each other. The lack of conversation may be a direct result of the breakdown in the marriage or it could be the other way around. Whatever the cause of uncomfortable silences in a relationship, the results are never good.

Individuals start making assumptions, many of them incorrect, because they are not comfortable approaching their partner with whatever thoughts they are having. The longer the silence, the worse the relationship becomes. Bad relationships cannot be fixed without honest conversations.

5. He/She Never Take An Interest In You

In choosing a marriage partner, it is important to have common interests on which to build a foundation. Taking an active interest in each other is one determinant of a great relationship as opposed to a bad relationship.

A lack of interest in one’s partner can be interpreted in several ways, all of which will result in a failing marriage relationship that is unfulfilling. Interest is translated as caring and creates harmony, trust, and respect in a marriage or any relationship.

6. You Cannot Be Yourself

Honesty and comfort are necessary traits in all relationships, so if continual fear of being judged limits your ability, to be honest, it will be difficult to have reciprocal trust.

A marriage relationship is a partnership. One partner should not feel as though he/she has to measure up to the other. If there is one person you can be yourself with, it should be your spouse.

7. He/She Always Criticizes You

While successful marriages require lots of compromises, you should not feel as though you have to become a new person for your relationship to work. If you are always defending yourself for actions that seem reasonable to you, your partner may be devaluing your opinion.

Constructive criticism is beneficial, however, an overly critical partner can erode the confidence and self-worth of his/her spouse which leads to a tense marriage relationship.

8. He/She Is Not Trustworthy

Lack of trust is a major sign of a failing marriage relationship. An entire relationship depends on your ability to depend upon one another. Lack of trust in a relationship prevents a couple from building a solid future with each other.

9. You Fight Often

Fighting is not necessarily a sign of a failing marriage relationship, however, persistent combative responses to your concerns may indicate a disregard for your opinion. It may also be caused by personal insecurities, so it is important to assess the source of your partner’s aggression before ending the relationship.

Constant fighting about seemingly insignificant issues is usually a sign of a deeper problem within the relationship. It is important to identify the root cause in order to get your marriage on track.

10. He/She Hurts You

Another important sign of a bad marriage relationship is having a spouse who always tries to hurt you. Spouses who have each other’s interest at heart do not intentionally hurt each other. A spouse who constantly hurts his/her spouse may be an indication that he/she wants out of the marriage relationship but is reluctant to be the one to initiate the breakup.

11. You Are Always Stressed Out

Most relationships are voluntary, so spending time with each together should not feel like a chore. A spouse who is constantly stressed by his/her marriage needs to examine the relationship to identify the missing link.

Both parties should be sharing the responsibilities in the relationship to prevent one person from feeling overwhelmed. Bad marriage relationships are plagued with inequalities that often result in unnecessary stress.

Marriage Relationship

12. You Are Always Competing

A spouse should never downplay your achievements, especially while emphasizing they own. What is important to you should be important to your loved ones as well. You should not be competing for attention or achievements.

A friend who wishes to win simply to claim victory over you does not have your interests at heart. This is one type of behavior that causes bad marriage relationships.

13. Too Much Jealousy

Some spouses are uncomfortable with their partner interacting with the opposite sex.  They track their spouse’s every move by reading their partner’s text messages and scrolling through their call list.

They may read emails and even insist on knowing where their partner is or what he/she is doing every waking moment. While a little jealousy may be welcome/appreciated, too much of it will cripple a marriage relationship.

14. He/She Takes Advantage of You

Relationships involve two people, so two people should actively GIVE to the relationship. Reciprocity is an important part of being respectful to one another. A partner that considers only their own needs will not be reliable in your time of need.

The partner who is always giving will become fatigued and even resentful. What may have been a great marriage could suddenly become a really bad marriage relationship.

A spouse who is mentally healthy will not resent time spent with your friends. Feelings of insecurity or the desire to control within one spouse often result in him/her attempting to keep his/her partner from maintaining friendships outside the home.

They may even try to alienate relatives to ensure full control of the spouse’s time and attention causing the spouse to feel trapped. This behavior is definitely a piece of the fabric in which a bad marriage relationship is made.


Marriage relationships often go bad because of poor listening and communication skills. Women tend to like to talk and be listened to. Men, on the other hand, tend o view the constant talking as an irritant. Women may become passive aggressive as a result of not being listened to which could potentially lead to a less than satisfying marriage relationship.

Partners should invest time in really listening to each other as this could prevent a lot of hurt and tension within the marriage.

The marriage relationship requires lots of work to make it successful. These are only a few of the signs that contribute to bad marriage relationships. It is important to recognize signs of trouble early so they can be addressed before any serious damage is done.

Marriage is meant to be a lifelong decision. It is important to recognize the signs that will lead to a failing marriage relationship before taking the plunge.

If you are already married and have started to see a number of the signs mentioned, get help. If you can not get help the get out while the going is still good.

Images courtesy of  David Castillo Dominici’s at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

David Small

is the founder and editor of relationshiptips4u. He is a dating, marriage & relationship coach, speaker, and author. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

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