How to tell if your marriage is on the rocks

Usually relationships aren't over at the first sign of trouble – so how do you spot divorce looming? Top divorce lawyer Ayesha Vardag gives the internet her advice.

In this modern world everybody is well aware of what can happen after you say ‘I do’ and divorce rates always seem to be on the up and up but usually relationships aren’t over at the first sign of trouble – so how do you spot it?

Ayesha Vardag is president of leading family law firm Vardags and has earned a reputation as Britain’s top divorce lawyer. She has seen a lot of nasty ends to what were once hopeful beginnings and has recently shared an op-ed for the Mail Online revealing her cliff notes on how to know if your marriage is in real trouble.

“Hitting a rocky patch in your marriage can be heart-breaking and bewildering,” writes Vardag.

“Life would be simpler if there were a check list for a successful marriage, but every relationship, every breaking point and every challenge is unique to each couple.

“I’ve worked with couples for more than a decade and have seen the signs that show marriages hurtling towards a sorry end, and those where what’s needed to get back on track is love, guidance, patience and, inevitably, forgiveness.”

While Vardag practices law in Britain – a nation that, according to the ONS, boasts an estimated 42 per cent of marriages now ending in divorce – her advice can be translated to many Western nations.

In her article Vardag says that one sign to look for if you are heading toward divorce is if you are leading separate lives within your relationship.

“A relationship is the sum of two parts,” writes Vardag. “Having interests and hobbies that give you both space and keep you interesting is essential, but if your partner is spending increasing numbers of late nights out with ‘friends’ or on ‘work things’ and is light on detail and irritable when pressed, you may be heading for crunch time.”

A “dying sex life” is also a worry according to the lawyer.

“You can’t expect to have the same wild sex life as when you first met – but desire and sexual connection are what will keep you and your partner together.”

“Sex releases love hormones that bond you to your partner and make you feel close to each other. Prioritising work or children over sex leads to breakdowns which can damage both.”

Vardag also flags “cold shoulders and hot tempers” as something to worry about, as well as dwindling “communication and compromise”.

A suggested remedy she says is to “do your best to avoid things escalating into cruel words and regretful actions and give each other space when needed.”

Generally she says: “Be kind.”

Possibly the two biggest suggestions the professional has to offer come late in the piece when she writes that it is important to “remember what was there when you fell in love” and remember to show forgiveness.

“Some say the only really important lesson for marriage is to forgive, forgive and forgive some more. People do terrible things to each other, especially over a lifetime stuck together,” writes Vardag.

Using infidelity as an example Vardag says that “every catastrophe is an opportunity to make a fresh start and getting over that breach of trust together can inject the energy back into your marriage.”

“It’s not easy, by any means, but honesty about infidelity can be the start of a new chapter.”

Related stories

Get The Australian Woman’s Weekly NZ home delivered!  

Subscribe and save up to 38% on a magazine subscription.