And I thought that this was ok. None of these secrets were a big deal – it wasn’t like I was sneaking around on him. I was keeping these secrets from him, I felt, to protect him, and myself, from the anger and contempt that was existing in our marriage.
Now I know that secrets can kill a marriage. If two people who have chosen to build a life together can’t share with each other the little things, and the big, then their marriage is most certainly toxic. Even if they think they are lying to protect their partner, they are still betraying their partner with their silence.
So, if you aren’t sharing everything with your partner, particularly things that would make him upset if he found out about them, then you are most certainly in a toxic marriage that might be doomed.
When your husband walks in the door would your first instinct be to hug him? If you could choose someone to go to the movies with, would it be your wife?
Is the first person you want to tell your good news to the person you go to sleep with every night?
Over time, as marriage evolves, couples become so comfortable with each other that we take each other for granted. Hugs, confidences, and free time are things that aren’t always a part of long marriages.
That being said, if there is a distance between you and your spouse that is more like a chasm, if you never touch each other, never spend free time together and if you would rather die than share anything personal, then you are in a toxic marriage.
People who are in healthy marriages make an effort to be physical with their partner. They genuinely enjoy spending their free time together (mostly) and confide in each other wins and losses in their life.
Consider the distance between you and your spouse. If the Grand Canyon comes to mind then you are most likely in a toxic marriage.
One of the biggest signs of a toxic marriage is silence.
Silence means lack of communication. Silence means grudges are being held and being left unsaid. Silence means that connecting in any meaningful way is impossible.
The hallmark of a healthy relationship is when two people can communicate well. Whether it’s about what is for dinner, what your mother-in-law did last weekend, or the fact that they have pissed you off again, communication is what keeps people connected.
When communication stops, so does any chance for a happy relationship. The silence that is left in its place is a petri dish wherein disconnection, anger and resentment can grow. Words go left unsaid and frustrations stew.
When was the last time you and your partner spoke in any meaningful way? When you spend time together, is there any kind of communication at all or are you sharing the space in silence? If you and your partner are no longer talking, about anything, including the weather, then you are most likely in a toxic marriage.
Recognizing signs of a toxic marriage is the best way to try to save it before it gets too late.
Related: 4 Marriage Myths That Cause Divorce
Do you and your partner treat each other well? Do you disagree about things without fighting? Do you keep secrets or your distance? Have you stopped communicating in any meaningful way?
If any or all of these things are true, you very well might be in a toxic marriage, one you want to either start working on or get out of.
Don’t waste your life in a toxic marriage – life is too short to waste!