Crazy in Love- or Driving each other Crazy?

by Dwight Bain, Nationally Certified Counselor & Certified Family Law Mediator

Have you ever wondered why so many couples are crazy in love and can't wait to get together, and then drive each other crazy and can't wait to split up? I sure have and developed some key factors to use in tracking marital connection or marital conflict. Below are the most common factors that can lead to marital crisis. As you read through this list, think about your relationship or perhaps the relationship of your friends and co-workers. Get real- get honest because the future success and fulfillment of your marriage is at stake. Once you identify key areas that need attention then you can focus on the importance of working through those issues now so you can find peace and intimate connection instead of the risk of growing distance which can lead to a miserable life or even divorce.

Financial & Career
-Conflict over spending issues (unresolved spending conflict can linger for years)
-Excessive debt (credit cards, late payments, IRS, low FICO, student loans…)
-Excessive lifestyle (house, cars, entertainment, travel, recreational vehicles…)
-Business success or failure (especially with family or home based business)
-Inability to maintain stable employment (or seek job training to increase options)
-Lack of income or feeling used financially by spouse who doesn’t contribute
-Excessive business travel or weekend work that prevents relationship time
-Workaholic or exhausted from the driven need to accomplish greater success
-Married to their job instead of to their marriage partner

-Anger issues (sarcasm, resentment, criticism, bitterness, passive-aggressive, etc.)
-Rage, violent temper or episodes of violence (including unresolved past fights)
-Stress or burnout (including chronic physical problems or stress related disorders)
-Suffocating emotions (jealousy, low self-esteem, insecurity, codependency, etc.)
-Substance abuse (alcohol, drugs, prescription medication, eating disorders, etc.)
-Gambling, pornography or other addictive and secretive behaviors
-Criminal behavior, illegal activity or forcing spouse to participate in any unethical acts
-Immaturity, ego or selfishness, including the compulsive need to always be ‘right’ or win
-Loneliness, rejection, phobic disorders or social isolation disconnected from family or friends
-Mental, psychological or psychiatric problems or failure to seek professional help for these issues
-Violation of treatment plan or meds to regain emotional stability (e.g. ADD, bi-polar, OCD)
-TV addiction to escape reality (soaps, sports, sitcoms, shopping, news, movies, etc.)
-Internet addiction to avoid relationship (chat rooms, IM, virtual relationships, email pals, etc.)
-Video or computer games to escape reality and relationships (role playing games, online gaming)

-Communication problems, misunderstandings, total silence or failure to listen
-Intimacy problems, sexual frustration, sexual distance or lack of sexual desire
-Emotional affair or continual flirting for attention from the opposite sex
-Sexual behavior with another person outside of the marriage relationship
-Sexual behavior with a fantasy image or virtual relationship (sexual addictions)
-Unrealistic expectations of marital role or marital responsibilities for each partner
-Power & manipulation (or controlling behavior with spouse, children, family or others)
-Abuse (emotional, verbal, physical, sexual or threat of abuse with spouse or children)
-In-law interference or extreme conflict and dysfunction from extended family system
-Abusiveness toward pets or other people especially if threats of a weapon are involved
-Parenting struggles (child management, blended family issues, absent or controlling parent)
-Household management of chores & clutter or the failure to respect the time & schedule of others
-Unresolved legal conflicts (past support or custody issues, business disputes…)
-Feeling overwhelmed & exhausted from trying to make the marriage work alone

-Religious differences or lack of worship together through a shared house of faith
-Dishonesty, lying, misrepresentation, half-truth, ethical violations or other breeches of integrity
-Attacking, disrespectful, disloyal, rude or hateful toward other faiths, cultures and belief systems
-Not living consistent with personal values and morality or failure to work on character flaws
-Trust violations, since trust is the foundational element for any successful relationship

Bottom line- in light of these many factors, when should you absolutely get help for your marriage?

___When children become the exclusive focus of the marriage

___When one marriage partner dominates or controls the other

___When blaming, shouting, sarcasm or threats become commonplace

___When drugs or alcohol abuse is an issue

___When physical or sexual abuse occurs

___When sexual or financial issues are ignored or are a constant battleground

___When trust is violated over money, morality or unexplained absences

___When affection and kindness to each other ceases

___When outside factors (job stress, child issues, financial crisis) increase

___When it is easier to discuss feelings with someone of the opposite sex other than your marriage partner

If you see three or more of the above factors, then it may be time to call a professional to prevent greater problems. You can talk to a LifeWorks Group counselor on the phone now at 407.647.7005. There is no cost for a brief consult to discuss your situation and the call is completely confidential.

(Permission to reprint providing you leave contact information - 407-647-7005)

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