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3 Signs of a Failing Marriage (And How to Deal With It)

3 Signs of a Failing Marriage (And How to Deal With It)

It is said that marriage is the most difficult job in the world. Statistics show that the divorce rate is approximately 50% in western countries[1]. What are the most typical signs of a failing marriage and the best ways to deal with it?

Sign #1 You’re Just Not Feeling Attracted

When you look back on the reason you chose your spouse in the first place, that reason doesn’t resonate with you anymore. Consequently, it feels like your marriage has lost its spark. This is an important sign of a failing marriage.

Why is that?

Loss of attraction usually has as much to do with you as with your partner. Somewhere along the line, you stopped looking for what you like about your spouse and stopped noticing all their special qualities that you were initially drawn to.

You may have even noticed that the more you become focused on those little things about them that annoy you, the more frequently these things appear to occur!

Annoyance is one of the precursors to a failing marriage because it’s one of the biggest causes of becoming emotionally triggered. When we are triggered, our body becomes tense as our physiology prepares for fight or flight. We take on a threatening stance. This includes our facial expression and hand gestures. Our eyes bulge, or we stare accusingly.

There is nothing about our body language that is open or welcoming to our partner when we become triggered, and the tension they feel radiating from us is usually enough to trigger them as well.

Now we’re both focused on what we don’t like in each other and how we don’t want to feel.

Every action we take from a triggered emotional state will result in chaos. This is because when we are emotionally triggered[2], our prefrontal cortex shuts down to the degree that we lose the ability to think and act clearly. So, instead of clearly communicating an issue we would appreciate being resolved, we blame or accuse our partner to the point where they feel undervalued and start questioning why they would want to stay with us.

Complacency is a major relationship killer, and it’s important to note that it works both ways. If you’re not taking responsibility for how you are showing up in your relationship, you’re equally responsible for your relationship breaking down.

How to Ignite Feelings of Attraction

As with any relationship problem, the first person to look at is you. How are you showing up in your relationship? At the risk of pointing out the obvious, personal hygiene and cleaning up after yourself are paramount. How often do you think to check your breath and body odor? It takes just a moment to check your underarms, breath ,and genitals each time you go to the bathroom — and remedying any issues you find will go a long way to keeping yourself attractive to your partner.

In addition to that, are you nurturing a happy and healthy marriage with humor, calmness, and appreciation or fostering a failing marriage with resistance, accusations, and blame?

It’s amazing how quickly you can restore a happy and mutually fulfilling relationship when you lift your own “A” game to be the best version of yourself; give regular and specific praise and appreciation and focus on co-creating the best outcomes with your partner.

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Sign #2 You Are Not Being Sexually Intimate

When you are not enjoying sexual intimacy with your spouse, you may be heading toward a sexless marriage. This obvious sign of a failing marriage is more common than you may think.

You are not alone; 80% of people suffer from the negative consequences of sex problems in their relationship, ranging from:

  • Inner vaginal dryness (this is not just a menopause issue!)
  • Problems reaching orgasm (this happens in both male and female partners)
  • Premature ejaculation
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Emotional disconnection (arguments, poor communication, accusations, blame)
  • Unwanted sexual technique (fictional sex education)

Let’s go deeper into understanding the hidden causes of intimacy issues and how you can swiftly restore a happier sex life.

Inner Vaginal Dryness

Many people think this only affects a woman after menopause, but that’s not the case — inner vaginal dryness can happen to women of all ages. More than 50% of women experience this issue, and it’s one of the biggest causes of avoidance of sex, which can lead to a failing marriage.

External lubricant does not solve this problem! This is because that dryness affects her inner vaginal walls. Every thrust can make a woman feel like her inner vaginal walls are being rubbed with coarse sandpaper. Intercourse can make her raw and sore for several days after.

So how can a woman and her partner deal with this issue?

It all comes down to one simple technique, which can be executed before and during foreplay, penetration, and intercourse. The Inner Vaginal Flush Technique can help to prevent loss of libido and desire for sex associated with inner vaginal dryness[3].

Problems Reaching Orgasm

This is another common sexual function issue affecting males as well as females and may be thought to be associated with a failing marriage. A staggering 43% of women suffer from the inability to reach orgasm, even more so during intercourse.

When a person is unable to reach orgasm, it is usually because they are mentally distracted.

The inability to reach orgasm is often tied into other emotional and sexual challenges including (but not limited to) past sexual abuse, feeling disconnected from your partner, a partner’s own sexual function issue, a partner’s unwanted sexual technique, or inner vaginal dryness causing tightness and pain.

A person also cannot reach orgasm if they are unaware of feeling — and that’s what happens when your mind is distracted or you are too focused on the actions of sex.

If you are suffering from sexual frustration in a relationship, you need to make sure you are dealing with the cause of the issue.

Many commonly prescribed hormonal therapies and drugs are ineffective at addressing problems reaching orgasm because the mental contamination problem goes unresolved. The person continues to focus on the wrong subject matter, so they don’t initiate the correct hormonal response at the time of sexual activity to complete the sexual program in their brain.

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Premature Ejaculation (PE)

Many partners of this sexual challenge think their partner is selfish and that it’s a sure sign of a failing marriage. However, this is usually as far from the truth as they can get. The challenge a man with premature ejaculation has is that he is overly focused on how arousing his partner is, and how arousing the whole sexual act is.

But he’s also worrying about how long he will last, along with trying not to think about that!

This leads to his brain only receiving arousing signals, which takes him directly from gaining an erection to ejaculating with little or no fun in between.

A man with PE needs to focus more of his attention on his partner, but it needs to be in the right way and not for too long…otherwise he can cause the opposite problem which is:

Erectile Dysfunction (ED)

I call this a caring man’s challenge. It’s usually the result of putting too much attention on his partner and therefore not giving his brain the correct amount of arousing signals to either attain or maintain a hard erection.

Most women have no idea of the fine line a male has to walk sexually. Not only is he expected to remain hard throughout the duration of foreplay, but he needs to be ready to penetrate “on demand” and stay hard and in control of ejaculation for as long as it takes for his partner to reach an orgasm.

When his partner has (her) own challenge of taking a long time to reach orgasm, this compounds his performance anxiety and can lead to both partners feeling like their marriage is failing.

Emotional Disconnection

Is connection the chicken or the egg when it comes to being in a relationship? Feeling emotionally disconnected from our partner can lead to a lack of interest in connecting sexually. After all, when we’re not feeling connected with our partner, why would we want to engage in an act which signifies the ultimate connection?

To stop a marriage from failing, it’s important to understand the consequences of cause and effect. If we hold off from sexual intimacy with our partner, they may become emotionally distant. Then neither gets what they want.

We need to deal with any relationship challenges that are triggering us so we don’t contaminate our relationship with negative thoughts and their negative consequences.

Sex can be one of the best ways to get out of our mind, reconnect with our body, and generate oxytocin (known as the love hormone) and endorphins. Dealing with our emotions will not only prevent arguments but also lower stress hormones and increase our happy hormones.

Deal with both and get help to resolve any sexual function issues, and you may be surprised at how fast your libido switches back on, regardless of your age.

Unwanted Sexual Technique

Realistically, this is at the crux of many sex problems, and it’s usually due to a lack of real-life sex education. If we were lucky enough to have received any sex education, we were taught safety but not technique. This is what leads to so many instances of sexual dysfunction.

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If you don’t have the correct knowledge to reference your problem against, then how do you know what you need to change? In my experience in solving these issues for thousands of men, women, and couples, most sexual challenges stem from incorrect sexual imprinting or focusing on the wrong action at the wrong time.

In the case of unwanted sexual technique, most of us receive our “real-life” sex education from porn or romance novels, which contain unrealistic scenarios.

There is much guesswork involved in sex, and because it is a topic not generally discussed, our sexual education generally results from trial and error. This can set us up for sexual failure because we never learn how to correctly balance our sexual focus during foreplay, penetration and intercourse so that sex can be mutually fulfilling.

How to Ignite a Happy and Fulfilling Sex Life

Unresolved sexual challenges tend to eat away at your confidence and self-esteem, as well as undermine the very fabric which holds your marriage together. Don’t wait until something goes seriously wrong with your marriage before addressing sex problems as they can usually be resolved with the correct knowledge and technique.

Have an open and honest discussion with your partner to find out what is wanted and unwanted, and then work together to resolve the issues, seeking expert help if needed.

Sign #3 You Don’t Have a Shared Vision

The motivation for dealing with issues in your relationship usually comes from having a shared vision. When you know how you want to feel, what you want your relationship to look like, and what you are working toward (and your partner shares this vision), it is much easier to realign yourselves during times of disagreement or when life challenges you.

Without that shared vision, your marriage can become vulnerable.

How to Ignite a Shared Vision

It’s important to get some perspective on what you both want and how you want to move forward together—instead of constantly rehashing and reliving what you don’t want!

So take 15 minutes, remove all distractions, and do the following exercise together.

Step one is for each of you to write down 7 core feelings that resonate with your core nature. How do you like to feel? Which feelings resonate with the core of your being?

Now establish your connection with your core nature by writing a brief descriptive sentence about what each of those core feelings means to you.

Here is an example:

Core Feeling: Connected

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What feeling Connected means for me: I love the feeling of being effortlessly aligned with myself and those around me.

Now it’s time to take it turns sharing each of your 7 core feelings and what they mean to you with your partner.

What’s really interesting is that while you may have some core feelings that are the same, your interpretation of what they mean to you will likely be entirely different.

This is why sharing your core feelings isn’t enough. To avoid misunderstandings later, you need to understand what each of these core feelings means to both of you. Feeling connected for your partner may mean enjoying connecting sexually!

Using the above example, you know when you’re not in alignment with the core feeling connected because it feels like you’re out of sync and out of alignment with your core nature.

These are the times when you’re more likely to give in to feeling emotionally triggered and overreact to something your partner is saying or doing. You’re also more likely to accuse or lay blame instead of taking responsibility for your own actions.

The most important thing to do during these times is to remember the cause and effect principle of mind renaissance[4]  and get back in alignment with your core nature.

The most effective shared vision is for each of us to stay focused on recreating our core feelings with our actions rather than getting caught up in judgements, misunderstandings, and petty arguments.

In Summary

Many times we become completely fixated on how our partner is violating something important to us or going against what we want to experience. However, what we usually don’t accept or realize is that we ourselves are often operating well below par and causing just as much damage to our relationship.

When you’re clear on how you want to feel long-term and you have a compass (focused action) to get there, it’s so much easier to feel motivated to move forward into being the best version of yourself, a person who keeps your partner engaged and attracted in your marriage.

More Ways to Deal With a Failing Marriage

Featured photo credit: Elizabeth Tsung via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] American Psychological Association: Marriage & divorce
[2] End the Problem: The Emotional Reset Technique – The Secret to Enjoying Life
[3] End the Problem: The Best Natural Cures for Female Dryness
[4] Mates Cafe: Mind Renaissance – Feel The Power

More by this author

Jacqui Olliver

Psychosexual Relationship Specialist

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Last Updated on July 20, 2021

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

“Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

Warming up

If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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  1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
  2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
  3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

Stay hydrated

Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

Meditate

Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

2. Focus on your goal

One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

3. Convert negativity to positivity

There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

4. Understand your content

Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

“No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

5. Practice makes perfect

Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

6. Be authentic

There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

7. Post speech evaluation

Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

Improve your next speech

As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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  • How did I do?
  • Are there any areas for improvement?
  • Did I sound or look stressed?
  • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
  • Was I saying “um” too often?
  • How was the flow of the speech?

Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

Reference

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