Marriage In Trouble: 5 Signs Your Spouse Might Want a Divorce (and what to do)

by Gideon Hanekom
September 18, 2019

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Is your marriage in trouble right now? If you feel that your marriage is struggling right now and you’re worried that your spouse is thinking about asking for a divorce, then this article is for you.  I’ll explain a few signs to look for that indicate your spouse might be thinking about divorce. I’ll also tell you how to prevent it the best you can and how to begin repairing your marriage.

marriage in trouble

So, let’s dive into the first sign to look for…

Marriage in Trouble Sign #1 – Arguing Over Anything & Everything.

Yes, it’s no secret that an increase in the frequency and intensity of arguments with your partner are a clear indication that all is not well with your marriage.

Now, don’t panic here just because you and your spouse are fighting a few times a week.

John Gottman’s research actually indicates that 69% of all marital conflict NEVER gets resolved.

That’s a lot of unresolved issues.

The truth is that every married couple will disagree and have conflicts from time to time because we are unique individuals in an intimate relationship with one another.

In fact, it’s actually a healthy thing to argue now and then, as long as it leads to resolutions rather than leave lingering hard feelings, bitterness and resentment.

When those arguments become daily occurrences and tend to arise over almost anything, then that’s when things get a bit dicier.

For example, if you arriving 5 minutes late for a dinner date turns into a massive screaming match and results in both of you going to bed angry for the third time in a week, then that’s a problem.

Because frequency can be indicative of a pattern.

These kinds of arguments, if they happen frequently and tend to blow small grievances or disagreements way out of proportion, can indicate that your marriage is headed in the wrong direction.

Most of the time, couples who argue too often but have otherwise healthy marriages can repair this problem relatively easily.

Just check out this latest research on how all couples argue but happy couples doing it differently.

In simple terms, if you and your spouse fight too much or argue often over small issues, you need to learn how to prevent useless arguments and have more important disagreements in a more civilized and constructive manner.

Click here to watch an excellent free video with tips on how to argue more effectively (and much more — it’s well worth watching)

Now, another and potentially more serious indication of an unhealthy marriage is when one or both of you stops trying to resolve conflict at all.

This leads me to the next point….

Marriage in Trouble Sign #2 – No Longer Willing To Resolve Conflict or Find Solutions.

If your partner seems to no longer care about the outcome of a fight, or if they seem to feel as though trying to find a solution to your problems is pointless or hopeless, then that can be a clear indication of deeper troubles.

Some experts call this “stonewalling” or “repression” which is usually the last straw that breaks the camel’s back because what it leads to is what is called “Emotional Disengagement.”

The latter is arguably one of the most dangerous forces in any marriage.

When this kind of despair sets in, your partner may withdraw further and feel as though there will never be a way for the two of you to live together in peace.

That’s obviously not a good thing, and it’s something that you need to work on if this has become a problem in your marriage.

Marriage in Trouble Sign #3 – Lack of Emotional Connection and Withdrawal of Affection.

If your spouse has become distant and stopped showing affection towards you, that can also be a strong indication that they’re mentally checking out of the marriage.

Often associated with this, is an overall lack of emotional connection and a lack of willingness to discuss or show feelings and emotions.

In my experience, this is one of the most obvious signs that a marriage is headed in the wrong direction.

Usually, though, it’s more a symptom than a root problem, and resolving the core issues of your marriage can usually help re-build the emotional connection and lead your spouse to begin showing affection again.

If you’re seeing this symptom as well as some of the others on this list, start taking action to stop the degradation of your marriage.

Watch this video right now to learn about 3 techniques that will help you repair your relationship (even if your spouse isn’t interested at the moment).  

Marriage in Trouble Sign #4 – Rarely or never having sex.

Sex can be a symptom of other problems in your marriage.

If you’re always fighting and there’s no emotional connection, for example, sex is going to disappear as well.

It’s a natural consequence.

But it can also be a problem of its own and lead to a marriage crisis, whether it’s caused by fading attraction or a low sex drive.

Either way, a sexless marriage is almost always a marriage on the fast track to divorce.

Therefore, if your spouse seems uninterested in sex or makes excuses, that’s a clear indication of problems that you might want to pay attention to.

Lastly …

Marriage in Trouble Sign #5 – Your spouse is absent more often or seems pre-occupied.

If your partner is staying out late more often and showing less interest in family and spending time together, that may be an indication that they are either unhappy with the situation at home.

It may also be that they’re preparing mentally for life apart, building a social life or possibly even dating.

Hopefully, that’s not the case, and don’t prematurely accuse your spouse of this just because they aren’t home that often, but it is a possibility.

Simply put, however, if you’re spending less time with your spouse than you have in the past or if they seem distant and pre-occupied when you are spending time together, that can be a sign of a spouse mentally struggling with the decision to end a marriage.

So, what now?

What if you went through the list and thought, “We have ALL of these?”

Should you panic?

The short answer is “no!”

Panicking isn’t helpful right now.

What you do need to consider, however, are some good next steps to explore this a bit more while also learning some strategies to address your current relationship issues.

Next Steps: Where to go from here…

First, let’s make one thing clear: just because your partner is exhibiting a couple of the behaviours that I just talked about doesn’t mean that they’re definitely planning to file for divorce.

Read that again, please!

It may simply be that these are indicators of trouble ahead in your marriage.

But if you’ve seen several of these indicators in your marriage recently, and you’re feeling that things aren’t on track with your marriage, I encourage you to act to turn things around now before matters get any worse.

But … where do you start if you think your marriage is in trouble?

Well, a great place to start is by watching the free video by marriage guru Brad Browning where he explains where you’ve been going wrong and what you need to do to make your spouse fall back in love with you.

Click here to watch the video now, before things go any further.

It won’t cost you anything to watch what he has to say, but it might save you from some real heartache later on.

I’ve watched Brad’s video and think his content is pretty good and really in line with everything I teach my own coaching clients.

So, go ahead and watch it now.

About the author 

Gideon Hanekom

Gideon Hanekom is the creator of, a renowned relationship blog that ranked among the top 50 relationship blogs and top 100 marriage blogs in 2021. The blog is dedicated to providing valuable insights on cultivating healthy relationships and love in daily life. Gideon holds a Master's degree in theological studies and transitioned into professional counseling almost a decade ago. In addition, he completed graduate and post-graduate studies in Psychology at Massey University. With over seventeen years of marriage to his wife and two children, Gideon brings both professional and personal experience to his relationship advice. His articles have been featured on respected platforms such as and The Good Men Project.

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