The biblical ideal for marriage is that we "become one flesh" with our spouses. If the sense of unity and fulfillment begins to erode, it doesn't usually happen as a cataclysmic event. Signs of erosion can alert us to danger.
- You find yourself looking for alternatives to being with your spouse. Time demands are always barriers to oneness, but when the marital relationship slips in priority, these multiply. They may masquerade as legitimate demands—work, church and community activities, or children's needs. We generally do the things that are rewarding. If the marriage isn't providing many rewards, it will be avoided.
- You feel increasingly irritated at your mate's behavior. Every couple could list pet peeves with each other. My wife, Melissa, can, and in all honesty, I can too. We ordinarily negotiate or adjust to these. When things aren't going well, however, they become magnified in our perceptions. The resulting frustration becomes expressed in criticism, humiliation, or avoidance.