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Marriage Warning Signs #640

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On the Regular Version …

In this week’s episode Pam and I discuss warning signs of problems in marriage, and any relationships for that matter.

What are the various signs to watch out for in a relationship?

What if I see many of these in my marriage or life?

On the Xtended Version …

We answer the question of what to do if some of the warning signs are visible in y life or marriage.

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Corey Allan: Well, welcome to the show. I'm Dr. Corey Allen, alongside my wife, Pam, each and every

Pam Allan: Week. Good to be here every

Corey Allan: Week. That's right. I stepped right on you right at the very beginning. No, you're good. One of the threads of today's episode is warning Signs of problems in marriage I

Pam Allan: Think are

Corey Allan: All right. Not letting a co-host speak, maybe that's one of them.

Pam Allan: I really wasn't going to speak, so maybe one of them is we read our spouse wrong.

Corey Allan: That never happens. Never, ever. Well, no. Welcome to the show. This is Passionately Married, where what we're trying to do is frame conversations and actions that couples can take that just enhance their life together, be it their marriage, their sex life, their communication, their parenting, their personal life, because not a shocking statement at all, but they all overlap onto each other.

Pam Allan: Yes. They feed off of one another for sure,

Corey Allan: Because one of the foundational beliefs we've had is that marriage has a design in mind to help us grow up. And one of the other things that happens is, and this is one of the threads of almost doing this for 12 years now, one of my favorite threads of messages that come in at or 2 1 4 7 0 2 9 5 6 5, which is our voicemail line, is the idea of, I started listening to you guys because I was trying to figure out how to get my spouse to change or stop doing whatever or fix things. I wanted to come fix my spouse, and lo and behold, it was me that needed to get the work done, not letting them off the hook by any means, but we control what we can control, which at the end of the day, it's just us. And we got to realize that because a lot of times what happens is in marriage and in life, we're trying to create something, grow something, be something. If you think about it, that's why we got married in the first place.

Pam Allan: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, hopefully we're trying to grow something and we're not just stale, but anyway, hopefully there's a purpose there in that connection, in that relationship.

Corey Allan: Absolutely. Because one of the things I love is the idea that marriage can take you places that you can't go on your own. And this came on Instagram that we posted this on our Instagram account last week that says, when you want to use your sex life as a means to grow yourself and your marriage up, it's often pointless and counterproductive to learn a variety of new sexual techniques. Because a lot of us think, oh, I want to improve my life, and so let's just learn new techniques. Let's try new things. But using sex as a vehicle for personal and relational growth, it's not the same as just doing something new. Rather, this process depends on maintaining a high level of personal connection with someone known and loved during sex.

Pam Allan: So it's about the connection. It's not about the idiosyncrasies of the how's and what's right,

Corey Allan: And then it's learning how to follow that connection to create something better, which requires full presence and consent of both spouses that you're both involved. And so I know right off the bat, some people are going to hear that and go, but my spouse isn't on board with that. But that doesn't mean there's not still a potential for connection. It just means you're not getting the connection you want. But there still can be a connection there,

Pam Allan: Which can't be discounted, but you got to figure out how to deal with that separately. Right.

Corey Allan: Absolutely. Well just want to throw that out there. If you want to find us more on all the socials out there, it's at Passionately Married, so any social platform pretty much, type that in and you'll find us, Hey, hit the follow button on 'em all too, because we have a lot of fun things that happen throughout the week on all the different platforms as well. Well, coming up on today's regular version of Passionately Married podcast is we're going to get real a little bit, Pam, about what are some of the warning signs in marriage? What are some of the things that can be, we might have a problem here and some are going to be okay, and some might be, Ooh, wait, because there is an element of, I think some of these, they exist in all relationships to varying degrees. Okay.

Pam Allan: But don't ignore 'em. Guess

Corey Allan: Well be aware of

Pam Allan: Them. Don't

Corey Allan: Give away where we're going in the extended

Pam Allan: Content

Corey Allan: Because where we're heading today in the extended content, which is deeper, longer, and there are no ads, you can slash academy. So we will have talked about all the different warning signs and the extended content. We're going to tell you what to do with 'em.

Pam Allan: Perfect.

Corey Allan: So all that's coming up right after this

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Corey Allan: So from the outset with this conversation, Pam, it's worth noting that I want to set aside some of the obvious things that can happen when you're talking about warning signs of a relationship in a marriage. I think these are interchangeable. Those of you that are listening in the nation that maybe aren't married or are in a committed relationship, or you're just thinking of relationships, this is still something, doesn't matter the stage of your relationship, these principles apply, but it's going to take into account. We're not going to talk about, well, there's been infidelity, there's an affair going on.

Pam Allan: Clearly that's a warning

Corey Allan: Sign. There's abuse, there's neglect, there's abandonment. I've never really been committed in the first place. There's a lot of different aspects of things that are, they're not, what's the easiest way to say it? They're not as common maybe, but they are for sure a sign that's a problem.

Pam Allan: Yeah. I think most people are, well, those are the obvious ones that people say, yeah, okay, we've got an issue here, right? We're talking maybe the more subtle things that yes, maybe I just voluntarily choose not to pay attention to,

Corey Allan: Or I'm not even aware I'm doing it. And that's part of the reason why we're going through this list. Because some of this, I was on Reddit the other day and I found this a collaboration of a whole bunch of things, which made me start thinking, building off of that list, what are some of the things I've seen in my two decades of working with marriages as a therapist? And that's kind of a combination of all of that, basically of things I have regularly seen both in my office and in our marriage. That's why we're going to be real in this thing. And so if you hear any of these things as you're listening today, and I guess I'm telling you this too, Pam, you don't know the list that

Pam Allan: I've got. I do not know that is, and so

Corey Allan: She gets to be in the audience today and jump in and

Pam Allan: As every day almost, and

Corey Allan: Push and push back, please. But if you hear that this might be happening in my marriage, but more importantly this might be happening in my life, I do these things. I don't want anybody to think uhoh over. It's a big problem because there is an element of we all have tendencies to do things that are the worst in us, and we're not always operating at our best. And so the more important thing is how do I them sooner rather than later so they don't get a huge foothold?

Pam Allan: Sure, sure. Well, and some things, the system of your marriage has just learned to cope with it. And so you might just be grooving along, but if you can address whatever it is that might freak you out, maybe you're taking yourself and your home life to the next level to just be more enjoyable. You could keep doing this thing, whatever it is forever, and maybe things just rock along. But when we start looking at ourselves and some of these things we do, if we address them, boy, life can just be more enjoyable. Absolutely. Right? And it's supposed to be what kind of it was intended to be.

Corey Allan: And thanks for teeing this up. I wasn't thinking of it through this lens, but what I want to do with the list in the regular version is a chance for, I'll speak for me here. I'm not going to speak for you. You're my co-host. You speak for yourself in this, but I'm going to own the ones that I mentioned that I do
Or have done, because I think there's clarity to realize this is part of being human in some ways. And I think being a more whole human, if you will, is recognizing both sides of my coin as a human, which is the good things and the bad things of me. Because when I act like these don't happen to me, which some of them maybe they don't with people, but some of them absolutely you will resonate with recognizing that means that wreaks less havoc in your life than if you're blind to it or acting like you're blind to it.

Pam Allan: That just some of it's acting like we're blind to it, I just don't want to address it.

Corey Allan: And so here's the first one that comes up, and again, we're not going to answer, here's what you should do with them yet. We'll go back through that in the extended content. So you want to subscribe if you're not already a member. There you go. So the first one, and these are in no particular hierarchy or order, alright? Okay. So when you start calculating how much you give and receive in a relationship versus what your spouse or partner is giving and receiving, also known as score boarding.

Pam Allan: Yeah.

Corey Allan: Right. This is a common one I will own. I can do this thing.

Pam Allan: Okay. Pretty

Corey Allan: Easily.

Pam Allan: Note to self,

Corey Allan: Why is it a note to yourself on that?

Pam Allan: I got to make sure I'm doing my part to stay on the scoreboard. I'm joking

Corey Allan: There. No, I get you. But one of the things I've recognized that I will do in this is when I feel like it gets, and it's usually over household things, and it's when I'm, I'm not at my best. I know the role I play and the agreements we've got of how our house and family runs, but there are times where it's like I'm always doing fill in the blank, and that can easily then turn into something a lot bigger.

Pam Allan: Well, full disclosure here, I can't say that I scoreboard. I guess maybe I do, but the scoreboard is always in your favor on those type of things. Like I'm always losing if I'm score boarding and then I feel deficient, like, ah, he's got to be, if he's not ticked at me, why isn't he ticked at me? He picks up more of the load than he should. So there is a reality there. You never portray that you're score boarding, which is interesting. Well, I

Corey Allan: Think a lot of this is internal for me, and I think that's where it's going to play out sometimes. And here's a clue for people that are listening in the nation, if this is something that wreaks havoc in your life, this is what you say. When you guys get in heated fights, this is the ammo you use,

Pam Allan: You bring up, oh, well, I'm always doing this and you never do it. Yes,

Corey Allan: That would be one of the fuels and markers of, yep, that might be what you're doing, and that can become a problem. Number two is regularly discovering lies or skews or omissions from your spouse or you are doing it yourself, which is basically, I just have real trouble being honest.

Pam Allan: I think we could all see that that could be an issue.

Corey Allan: Absolutely. It can

Pam Allan: Be. And why are they having trouble with being

Corey Allan: Honest? And some of this, it just becomes more important about self-awareness and self confrontation with this kind of the conversation is recognizing why did I hide that? If you think about it, some of the stuff, it's really pretty small, but why did I not share that particularly when I'm asked, right? This is one of the threads I've heard from Dr. Peterson was in his 12 rules for life. One of 'em is strive to tell the truth, but at least don't lie because there's a lot of gray area in. Was that an omission, a lie, or was it, but it's just, if you're regularly discovering what I've been told is not the story, we got a problem, that's a warning sign.

Pam Allan: Or if I'm regularly myself not giving the story. Yes.

Corey Allan: Yeah. You're just a recipe for waiting to get blasted later.

Pam Allan: So be real with yourself on that one.

Corey Allan: Okay. And then number three, if this is an interesting one. This is based off of couples I've had through the two decades of doing this is a relationship that started by one or both of them cheating.

Pam Allan: That one just sounds like a real obvious one to me.

Corey Allan: It is from an objective point of view you, but when you get subjective about these things and I hear their stories, I'm like, okay, I understand. I guess I can get it, but it's still, that's going to be a problem because you've already set a foundation that's shaky and relationships are hard enough as it is.

Pam Allan: Yeah. And I think that that would be one at some point, if you get to where you're struggling with one another, there's tension between the two of you. I haven't walked these shoes, but I would think that in the back of my mind, I'm thinking, well, you cheated on so-and-so to be with me, so why wouldn't you cheat on me? Right. There's got to be something in there. Maybe not, but well,

Corey Allan: The struggle is making it to where we get pie in the sky, rose colored glasses, but this one's a soulmate. This one's a

Pam Allan: Grass is always

Corey Allan: Greener. It won't happen again. But in reality, if you're in this situation, you already know there's some doubt and jealousy, potentials or some uncertainty that could be there because you got to just realize who are you guys with? Who are you and who are you with? So I know

Pam Allan: What you're

Corey Allan: Capable of. That's number three. Number four, and this is based on a lot of gottman's work and some of the scientific research that's out there on relationships. And this goes into the whole element of what's the quotient of negative events versus positive events or moments in your marriage. Think of it conversationally. Are there more negative dialogues than positive dialogues? Because what the theory is, and the philosophy is you need a five to one ratio of positive to negative.

Pam Allan: Wow. Yeah. Okay. You need a five to one for what? Just to survive, to be healthy,

Corey Allan: To be, this is on relationship, a study of relationship survivability.

Pam Allan: Survivability. Yep.

Corey Allan: Because think about it, if it's a constant barrage of negative with only a few little positives, do you really believe the positives?

Pam Allan: Well, and that's so hard. You think about people that just for whatever reason, get pounded by all these outside things that are out of their control and how much harder it is.

Corey Allan: Well, okay, but let's clarify that.

Pam Allan: Maybe that's extended comment.

Corey Allan: Well, that can be brought into the relationship. I could have something going on outside of my life that's out of my control, outside of my marriage. It's out of my control. And are you an ally in this or do you pile on that makes the difference.

Pam Allan: So we're not talking about things that happen in life that are negative versus

Corey Allan: Positive. No, we're talking about the relationship dynamic.

Pam Allan: That

Corey Allan: Makes sense. Thanks for clarifying that because been unclear to some other people as well that because it is seeing it as what's the dialogue between us, and that's going to come up in a couple others too. But in the relationship, does it lean more towards the positive interactions, moments and events together, or negative interactions, moments and events together? Okay. Number five, when one person wants to fix the other, and I love this quote that I came across it, that if your relationship or your marriage started as and is continued as a repair project, you didn't fall in love with who they are. You fell in love with who you want them to be,

Pam Allan: And they may never live up to what you want them to be. That's a stressor on the other person and on you. I mean, neither of you can live up to anything. Okay?

Corey Allan: Yep. Number six, when you argue over insignificant things regularly, like you bought the wrong spaghetti sauce, or I like 2% milk, and it turns into critical and criticism. So when that's an undercurrent, because again, there's a rationale underneath that that usually is much deeper. That's what we'll talk about in the extended, but that's one of the markers to recognize. Okay, number seven, if one or both of the people in the marriage are controlling of each other, this is an all too common thing actually.

Pam Allan: So you feel one or both feel suffocated by the other. I have to answer for every dollar I spend, or it's never

Corey Allan: Good enough. Or you feel like I express an opinion and they shoot it down right away and add in some character assassination to it as well. But if you look at it, because again, all of us are trying to create comfort zones and how we live is going to interact and butt up against my spouse and how they want to live and interact. But it's important to realize I can either address that or I'm trying to control it. I can realize that or I'm trying to control it. That's kind of a universal thing. Okay. Number eight, and this one's a really important one, I think, because this is one of those markers of usually when we're out in public, we're on our best behavior with each other. We kind of know how to act around strangers or even friends in a sense. But how do you speak to each other when you're not alone?

Pam Allan: When you're not alone

Corey Allan: As a couple? We usually speak to people with a lot of respect and kindness, but when you get around other married couples or friends and you say awful things to each other or you got nasty snappy tones, that's a problem because at that point then what really is going on underneath me is eking out. And we can keep stuff at bay a lot of times, and we can put on a good front, everybody's capable of this. I've had a horrific night or something at home life, but I can go into my office the next day, I can do my job. I can maybe let it know I got some problems, but I'm not just letting it loose. And then when I come home, I can let loose on my family. But when that starts coming out between a married couple in front of other people, that's a warning sign.

Pam Allan: Gotcha.

Corey Allan: Okay. Gotcha. Then you're not talking about keeping a lid on it in context of where you are,

Pam Allan: Just wherever you are,

Corey Allan: You're just throwing it out there on everybody to deal with. Okay. Number nine, this is another one that's important. How do you speak about your spouse when they're not with you to other people? Because that's a big one.

Pam Allan: Yes. Yeah, I agree. I'm not sure that I have too much to really chime in there on, but it's big. It's big. We show respect for

Corey Allan: Him. And this is a self-reflecting question to ask yourself on that. That's what this one matters on. How do you refer to your spouse about your spouse? When you're with the boys or you're with the ladies? How do you talk about 'em? What tone do you take? And I'm not saying it always has to be glowing, angelic, but what tone do you take?

Pam Allan: Well, the things that you share, are they things that you've already shared with your spouse? Do they even know that you are thinking along these lines as well? Yeah, I got to have someone to talk to. I got to talk to my girlfriends. Are you gossiping about your spouse with the girlfriend or just flat out when doesn't, and he doesn't even have a clue, even if he has a clue. And you've had these conversations,

Corey Allan: And we'll come back to this in the extent

Pam Allan: Because

Corey Allan: I think this is worth unpacking

Pam Allan: Because I said I didn't have much to say about it. And then that's the one I've talked the most about.

Corey Allan: Well, here we go. Let's keep going. All right. Number 10, walking on eggshells around your spouse in terms of what you can and can't say. And let's be honest, we have had eggshell carpeting in our house.

Pam Allan: I was about to say, that one's the one I'm raising my hand on because I think you've been hypersensitive at times in our marriage, there's

Corey Allan: Been times

Pam Allan: What to speak about and what not to speak about.

Corey Allan: Right? Because if you feel like everything you say that's a disagreement or a disagreement of your spouse, then it turns into an argument that's a sign of a problem because then there's not room for the two of you. It's groupthink trying to win out here. Number 11, one person always putting another person before themselves. We're too selfless in the sense that there's no self there.

Pam Allan: I always end up being a doormat.

Corey Allan: There's no boundaries that are being set. And this would've been me early on that I thought I was being the good Christian husband in some ways, as weird as this sounds of not standing up and saying what I thought or setting a good tone or just speaking my mind.

Pam Allan: Well, that goes with the eggshells thing. You thought if you said something and you didn't want to a fight. So it's easier to just not say anything.

Corey Allan: Yeah. And then the last one, again, these aren't in particular order by any means, but number 12 is if your marital conflict resolution method is screaming or insults or completely shutting down so that anytime you guys have a disagreement or something you want to unpack and address, all you do is immediately take it personal in World War iii.

Pam Allan: Right?

Corey Allan: That's the sign of a problem. And that would be one most people would be like, that makes sense. Yeah. And what's interesting in this is I don't know if we've ever screamed at each other. We maybe screamed about each other, walk out of the room and ah

Pam Allan: Or something. Well, we've shared before, well, maybe that's happened. My screaming would've been in the form of slamming things and breaking the cabinet door in the kitchen.

Corey Allan: But mine would've been just completely shutting down and avoiding, I would've just walled it all off and walked away, but not actually dealt with it. It would've just been walking out,
Which is still a problem. Gottman's work of stonewalling that that's a problem. And so it's recognizing because marriage in and of itself is one of those things that is going to absolutely take us to the brink of, can I do this? Can I handle this or not? Whether I like it or not. That's the reality. Most of us want a marriage that just is comfortable and easy, and I think we get seasons of that. I think you get moments of that, even if these have been a problem at different points, you still get moments. What keeps us in it on top of our commitment and our dedication and the covenant of marriage and the sacredness, we may place therein, but it's recognizing a lot of these, if not all of these are part of just one human in a relationship with another human, right?

Pam Allan: Yeah. I mean, like you said at the beginning, these aren't all just about marriage, right?

Corey Allan: No.

Pam Allan: Any relationship can have this, whether it's parent, child or coworker or

Corey Allan: Right. And these play out different in a parent child relationship, you've got an inherent power differential. But for sure in marriage, it's recognizing, okay, of this 12 things, and there were more. I mean, there's countless things that can be signs. What I'm curious about is what spoke most to the people that listened? What to the nation, what did you hear? And if you're part of the platform on my passionately, which is where the nation hangs out and you can join for free. Plus there's an academy level that when you're an academy member, you get a deeper conversation, a lot more depth of interaction and connection speak up there. Which ones do you see in your life?

Pam Allan: What are you seeing now? And what have you seen in the past that maybe you've worked on?

Corey Allan: That's

Pam Allan: Good. Yeah. And how did you work on it? We'll talk about that more in extended, but on the platform. How did you work on it? How did you tackle it that might benefit somebody else.

Corey Allan: Absolutely. And then if you're a member of the academy, you get to pay attention here in just a second on, here's some things you can do and see how those line up. Yeah. I'm not sure how to feel completely about some of this whole list, because some of it still can hit close to home if you think about it, because there's elements of, oh yeah, I just did that last week. Okay,

Pam Allan: Well goodness, that means you're human. True. And we're still getting better all the time. So there's even better things for us to experience. I think that that's kind of good.

Corey Allan: Right. Well, and that's the whole point I'm hoping people will recognize is that this is a list that yes, they can be warning signs, but it's not doom and gloom.

Pam Allan: No, not at all.

Corey Allan: Any warning sign that goes off typically is pointing towards disaster is coming. It doesn't mean it's happening right now. So I can look at it so n it in the bud, I can look at it and address what is. I think of it as like if I was flying in the cockpit of a plane, or if I'm driving a car or our rv and when I have signs go off, I want to pay attention to those because they usually will point towards if they're not addressed, there could be bigger issues down the road.

Pam Allan: But if they are addressed things, run smooth, man, we get to go to the Rockies, we get to go to the beach, we get to go wherever the heck we want. And that RV and experience even new and better things.

Corey Allan: I'm totally on board with that. Let's roll. Let's bit passionately Married. If we left something undone, we want to know 7 0 2 9 5 6 5. Transcripts are available on each of the episodes, as well as all the advertisers deals and discount codes you can find on our site. So please consider supporting those who support the show. So however, you've taken a little bit of time out to spend it today. Thank you and we'll see you next time.