Have you ever waited too long to address the “check engine” light on your car? Someone told me that he just put a piece of electric tape over his light so he didn’t have to see it. I’m not sure how that worked out. There are warning signs we are given in life, and it’s very risky to ignore these warning signs. When it comes to our marriages, we can definitely ignore the warning signs and we do so out our peril. I’ve listed out here some marital red flags of warning. Essentially, these are like the “check engine” warning light on our cars. When we ignore these marital warning signs, we become vulnerable to marital breakdown and dysfunction. If you see an increasing pattern of the following in your marriage, then you must act to remedy them before things get worse:
- A desire to spend time apart & avoiding opportunities to spend time together
- Sharing facts & feelings of your life with someone of the opposite sex more than your spouse.
- Criticism and character assassination (i.e., “you always / you never…”)
- Defensiveness instead of listening for understanding
- Feeling like your spouse never listens to you
- Choosing to ignore and “stonewall” during arguments
- Assuming the worst in your spouse’s intentions
- Keeping score and talking in terms of “right vs. wrong”
- Feeling increasingly disconnected
- Increasing outbursts of anger & bitterness
- Struggling to forgive
- Comments that are belittling and disrespectful
Also, its good to ask yourself the following questions. These are based on biblical passages that address marriage and relationships:
- Am I looking not only to my own interests, but also the interests of my spouse (Phil. 2:4)?
- Am I loving my wife as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, and loving her as my own body (Eph 5:25-30)?
- Am I respecting and submitting to my husband’s Christian leadership (Eph 5:22-24)?
- Am I being humble and gentle, patiently bearing with my spouse in love, making every effort to keep the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace (Eph. 4:2-3)?
- In regards to my spouse, am I being patient, kind, not envious or boastful, not arrogant or rude? Am making sure to not insist on my own way? Am I not being irritable or resentful? Am I keeping a record of wrongs that I should let go? Am I not rejoicing in wrongdoing but instead rejoicing in the truth? (1 Cor 13:4-7).
- Am I making sure to not deprive my spouse of what they need to feel loved by me (1 Cor 7:5)?