If your marriage is going through tough times, you may find yourself wondering whether it’s an example of the “for better or for worse” your marriage vows mentioned or whether your relationship is truly on the rocks. Although no test exists that can tell you whether your problems are typical reactions to the stress and strain that most marriages experience at one time or another or whether they point to more serious issues, troubled marriages do tend to exhibit many of the same characteristics.

How many of the following statements apply to your marriage?

  • In your mind, your spouse just can’t do anything right anymore.
  • You fight constantly, arguing about silly things like the kid's rocking horse.
  • You’ve lost the ability or the willingness to resolve your marital problems.
  • Resentment and contempt have replaced patience and love.
  • You’ve turned from lovers into roommates.
  • One or both of you is having an affair.
  • You go out of your way to avoid being together and, when you are together, you have nothing to talk about.
  • Your children are reacting to the stress in your marriage by fighting more, having difficulty in school, getting into trouble with the police, abusing drugs or alcohol, or becoming sexually promiscuous.
  • You have begun having thoughts about divorce.

Don’t panic if you find that your marriage exhibits some of these characteristics; you’re not necessarily headed for divorce court. However, you do have cause for concern; you and your spouse need to assess your options — first separately and then together — and decide what to do next.