In the summer of 1985, an engineer named Roger Boisjoly noticed a flaw in the solid rocket booster that helps launch the space shuttle. The rubber O-rings that seal the joints were experiencing erosion particularly in cold weather. When the joints wear away, the booster leaks exhaust gas causing a dangerous mixture with the liquid hydrogen from the external tank. Foreseeing that the problem would result in catastrophic failure, he sent a warning memo to decision makers at both his company and NASA. That warning and several more that followed were ignored.
The morning of January 28, 1986 was crisp and cold. Unwavering, NASA continued with the launch of the space shuttle, Challenger. The first sixty seconds of the launch seemed to go according to plan. A nervous Boisjoly turned to a colleague and said that they had dodged a bullet. Fourteen seconds later, his worst fears were realized. The Challenger exploded taking the lives of seven people.
In a similar way, marriages can experience eroding intimacy. These problems can seem small; however, over time, they can cause a marriage to break apart. It’s important to see the warning signs and act on them. Are you and your spouse experiencing these 4 signs of an unhealthy marriage?
1. Keeping Secrets
Have you erased emails, text messages, phone logs, or website history so your spouse wouldn’t see it? Has there been activity on your Facebook account you can only participate in when they aren’t around? When things are difficult, it is tempting to seek excitement in forbidden places. Keeping secrets creates division and deepens disconnection. If you aren’t connected to your spouse, you are going to connect to something or someone else. Don’t deceive your spouse! Let them in and do whatever it takes to come together.
2. Leaving Things Unsaid
Sometimes in marriage you have to choose your battles and let things go. Are you doing that too often or about critical issues? Have you kept your opinion on an important matter to yourself because you were afraid how your spouse would react? Intimacy involves good communication and knowing one another. Leaving your honest opinion and perspective unsaid leads to them knowing you less. Gradually you will drift from your spouse like a boat untied to a dock. Stop withdrawing and say it. If it unsettles things then you just need to work through it, but you will work through it together.
3. Overly Kid Focused
Are all of your discussions about your kids and their schedules? Kids are a huge responsibility and require a lot of discussion. They will dominate your minds, make you exhausted, and need a lot of attention. There are seasons when that’s fine. However, your kids will eventually move out and when they do it will be you and your spouse again. It’s easy to become strangers when all eyes are fixed on the kids. Move your eyes to them and zero in. Your spouse needs to be the first person in your life, next to your relationship with Christ.
4. Seeking Distractions or Time Away
Is it nice to be away on a business trip? Are you staying late at work when your don’t have to or looking for other ways to delay heading home? Do you and your spouse watch TV in different rooms? Do you immediately head out to the garage to work on the car after dinner? Do you immediately head to a back bedroom to have “quiet time” to yourself? The road to separation is filled with small decisions. You can’t have intimacy in different rooms and the problem is not going to work itself out. Go home and be with each other. Remove the distractions and re-engage.