Only you can decide if it’s time to end your marriage.

Calling it quits is never an easy decision, but if you can spot negative patterns before they emerge, become ingrained and do real damage, the odds of being able to repair the rift between you and your spouse are much higher.

There are a number of particularly harmful behaviors that cannot continue to rear their ugly heads if a marriage is to survive. If you are the perpetrator, these behaviors cannot be rationalized away; if your spouse is the guilty party, they, too, must understand that no amount of compromise will fix things unless a core shift in the culture of you marriage happens. I call these behaviors The Deadly Seven, mainly because these are behaviors that kill a marriage.

Emotional/Physical Abuse. It should go without saying that being physically abuse to your spouse is never acceptable. There is never any reason to attack them. If you are on the receiving end of this abuse, please know that not only is it not your fault but that you are, in fact, a victim. This is one of the toughest obstacles to overcome in any relationship. The abuser must have the desire to truly change. Promises of change are not enough, and often become part of the vicious cycle of abuse. If your spouse harms you physically in any way,  don’t enable them by making excuses for their behavior. .In fact, run. Seek help immediately.

Emotional abuse doesn’t leave physical bruising but the toll it can take on the human psyche is very real. Constant berating and belittling will never breed anything but discontent.

If you are being abused or are an abuser with the self-awareness enough to recognize tit, seek professional help.

Being Undependable. All we really have in life is our word. Living with someone who cannot seem to meet their obligations or follow through on promises can quickly lead to bigger problems of mistrust. Even when well intentioned, don’t make promises you cannot keep..Over time,  the lack of trust will slowly poison your marriage.

Jealousy. How many people have you known who are involved with a jealous significant other? Aren’t those typically the relationships you can call out before the ink on the marriage certificate is dry?

Nobody likes to deal with someone who has jealousy issues. I Marriage only works with trust. Jealousy is a huge indicator of a lack of trust. If this is something you struggle with, try being open and honest with your spouse about the t  root causes of your jealousy, and seek counseling.

Lack of Forgiveness. Forgiveness isn’t easy. That’s a well known fact. But in terms of creating a thriving marriage it is absolutely necessary. Holding on to past hurts, both big and small, can snowball into resentment that will eventually lead to divorce. Resentment can kill love.

Forgiving doesn’t mean forgetting, but it does mean making a conscious decision to put the past behind you.

Putting Romance on the Back Burner. Life gets busy. I get it. But what you did to get your spouse, you have to do to keep them. That sounds cliche, but it’s cliche for a reason: it’s true. Don’t allow your marriage to become one monotonous, predictable week after another.

It’s normal for romance to change through the cycle of your marriage, but be sure to be open and honest with your spouse about expectations for intimacy, including sex.  Procrastinating in this area of your marriage may lead your partner to seek connections elsewhere or to end your union all together.

Continuing to Have Unrealistic Expectations. Movies have really set us up for disenchantment when it comes to relationships. It can be hard to be in a relationship that doesn’t meet your expectations. But if you can see that your expectations are unrealistic, and based upon myths about what a fulfilling relationship should be like, it may be the key to saving your marriage.

Refusing to Listen to or Communicate With Your Spouse. The ability to communicate with your spouse is the hallmark of a healthy relationship. If you find yourself arguing more than communicating, it may be time to seek counseling.  Additionally, freezing your partner out during an argument, or refusing to speak with them only serves to widen the chasm created by a lack of communication.

Lack of Empathy. A lack of empathy in your marriage is the first death knell. When a lack of caring has infiltrated your relationship, it is usually replaced by selfishness, which leads is the gateway to the other six issues we’ve discussed. Make an effort to make small gestures of kindness towards your spouse. Remember, it really is the  little things that matter.

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