Many experts say that there are four (core) unhappy marriage signs, and there are some things you can do about them (as they tend to be major sources of distress for the marriage partners in marriages where they manifest). These four are also, coincidentally, the common causes of divorce. But by the time matters get to a point where divorce is contemplated, many marriage partners tend to have lost the plot: to a point where they can not see the connection between these four issues and the contemplated divorce. Yet when attempts to dig deeper are made, it usually tends to emerge that the four issues we are just about to look at are actually the common causes of divorce (that is, the 'underlying causes' in divorce cases).
The ideal scenario
Before proceeding to look at the four unhappy marriage signs, it may be a good idea for us to pause momentarily, and try to understand what would constitute a happy marriage. That is where we'd come to learn that, in a nutshell, a happy marriage is one where the partners are (at least) 'fairly' satisfied with the relationship. Subsequently, the four unhappy marriage signs / common causes of divorce we'll be looking at tend to manifest in marriages where the partners are not satisfied with their marriage relationships.
We are talking of the partners being at least 'fairly satisfied' keeping in mind that it is hard to come across marriages where the partners are fully / very satisfied with the relationships! That is because marriage often turns out to be a bubble-bursting affair: one where people's expectations are shattered. You have to keep it in mind that the initial attraction between the spouses who eventually marry tends to have chemical and hormonal underpinnings. Unfortunately, those hormonal and chemical underpinnings of initial attraction tend to shift with time, leading to a situation where, to put it mildly, the love tends 'to cool down a bit' as the years progress.
Thus while newly wed couples may confess to being 'very / fully' satisfied with the relationships, those who have been married for some time are likely (at best) to describe themselves as being 'fairly satisfied' with the relationships. That is alright, and many relationship experts would view it as the 'normal state of affairs.' Problems, however, creep in when the dissatisfaction grows to a point where the partners in the marriage get to a point where they can describe themselves as being 'very dissatisfied' with the relationships. This state of affairs is usually brought about by the build-up of major 'commissions' and / or 'omissions' on the part of the partners to the marriage relationship. And once we get to a point where the parties to the marriage describe themselves as being 'very' or 'totally' dissatisfied with the relationship, we end up with unhappy marriages – whose signs include:
These normally manifest through 'silent treatments.' It is where, on account of a perceived wrong committed against him or her, a partner to the marriage relationship may opt to stop talking to the other one (the offending partner). The spouses who are subjected to the silent treatment in turn opt to retaliate (keeping in mind that, in some cases, they are not even told about the mistakes they are being subjected to the 'silent treatments' on account of). That then leads to a situation where the marriage partners are quiet to each other, which can, in the worst case scenario, lead to total communication breakdowns, which are amongst the common causes of divorce.
Another manifestation of communication lapses is that of frequent (and bitter) arguments. Whilst there are some relationship experts who argue that arguments are 'healthy' in marriages, there is consensus that when the arguments become bitter (thus turning into quarrels), they are no longer nice. Few people would actually argue with the fact that such frequent arguments-turned-into-quarrels are amongst the surest unhappy marriage signs.
So, what can you do about these communication lapses? Well, in most cases, what you need to do in order to resolve these communication lapses is to 'swallow your pride.' Where there is an argument or a quarrel, the solution is normally to have one partner concede that the other one is actually right (without being sarcastic), and the argument / quarrel is resolved. Where there is a case of silent treatment between parties to a marriage, what is necessary to resolve the whole situation is to have one partner swallow his or her pride and 'break the silence.'
At a more fundamental level, to prevent the communication lapses from manifesting in the first place, what the parties to the marriage need to do is develop two habits. One of those is the habit of thinking carefully before speaking (so that they do not hurt each other with words, which often leads to communication lapses). This is not just about thinking about the words to be uttered, but also the inferences that may be drawn from the words. The other one is the habit of listening – and showing that one is listening (seeing that spouses tend to lash out bitterly whenever they feel that they are not being listened). Again, this is about not just listening to the words uttered, but also the messages communicated 'between the lines.'
Infidelity and the issues (like suspicions between spouses) that come with it tends to be amongst the surest unhappy marriage signs – that is, signs you can not interpret in any other way. As we mentioned earlier, an unhappy relationship is one where the partners are very dissatisfied. This dissatisfaction is what leads to infidelity. And needless to say, the issues like jealousy and resentment that come with infidelity tend to be amongst the common causes of divorce.
What you can do about infidelity (in order to prevent it from taking place) is to ensure that your spouse's needs – physical and psychological – are well met. It sounds simplistic, but the dissatisfaction that leads to infidelity tends to arise as a result of either unmet physical needs or unmet psychological needs. That is the root cause. The 'psychological needs' we are talking about here are simple things like attention (where spouses need to feel that attention is being paid to them).
Verbal or physical abuse
Verbal of physical abuse is yet another prominent member in the family of unhappy marriage signs. Normally, this verbal or physical abuse is preceded by lapse in communication (which we looked at earlier). These too, are among the common causes of divorce.
And while verbal abuse may be dealt with between the partners (through things like forgiveness and re-establishment of communication channels), where there are cases of physical abuse, it is usually wise to involve third parties. The stakes can go pretty high, and nobody should have to live with physical abuse.
Yet another often ignored member in the family of unhappy marriage signs is partner secretiveness. It may look minor, but this is also one of the common causes of divorce. When we get to a point where partners to a marriage have stopped sharing their fears and hopes, we know that we have an unhappy marriage (even if the partners are still on 'talking terms' with each other).
In many cases, partner secretiveness is induced by loss of trust or the feeling that the other partner simply does not care.
Spouses facing this problem in their marriages are often advised to work on improving their emotional (or even physical) intimacy. That has the effect of re-strengthening the bond between them, to a point where they can start having deeper conversations and sharing their hopes and fears again.