What really kills marriages?
Relationship problems and conflicts arise for so many reasons, from finances to child-rearing. And often disagreements can boil over into full-blown, foot-stomping, voice-raising, door-slamming battles.
With time, perspective, and calm communication, most of these relationship conflicts can be resolved and the relationship repaired. Sometimes these conflicts can result in the strengthening of the relationship, as hurt feelings are aired, conflicts are unknotted, and the couple learns better relationship skills in the process.
However, there is one relationship problem that can be very difficult to overcome. In fact, it can spell the end of the relationship if it isn’t acknowledged and addressed early and promptly.
What is this insidious problem?
When one or the other partner stops caring, goes belly-up, and no longer invests energy in resolving conflict or in even fighting for the future of the relationship, then it’s often a signal the end is near. Apathy shows up as unconcern, indifference, lack of interest, lack of physicality, and lack of emotion.
Apathy doesn’t just appear in a marriage randomly or in one big explosion. It creeps into a marriage or relationship like a snake on its belly, poisoning the joy and connection in the relationship. Apathy is subtle, and sometimes even the apathetic partner doesn’t realize what’s happening until they wake up one day and realize they have no more to give in the relationship.
So many times I get people in my office worried that their issues with anxiety, the stories of their past, the shame of the present, the truth about what they are actually feeling or the guilt that has haunted their lives is going to destroy their marriage.
Why? Frankly, if you are worried X, Y and Z could destroy your marriage, chances are, your marriage is on safe ground because that worry proves you are engaged in the marriage — and it proves you care.
When is your marriage really at risk?
When you, along with Clark Gable (in Gone with the Wind) reach the place of, “Frankly my dear Scarlet, I don’t give a damn.”