Family Matters: Warning Signs There Could be Trouble

At the church where I pastor we have started a teaching series called “Family Matters”.  We are talking about Family matters because family Matters.  In our first message, which you can listen to HERE, we unpacked the universal law that: Direction, not intention, determines destination.  While this is easy to see geographically, we can be so overwhelmed by the here and now – that we are unable to see where we are headed.  Our marriages, children and futures matter too much to leave it to a “I hope it all works out” chance.  We need direction.  But how do we know if we have gotten off path, particularly in our marriage or even dating relationships? My wife has always had a keen sense of when our family life has been out of balance or headed the wrong direction.  I asked her to shed a little light on the subject for everyone else.  So here is her wise advice.  Pay attention to it.  It might just save your family.

Warning Signs There Could be Trouble
by Julie Raby

We’ve all been there.  Driving down the road and one of those lights come on just beyond the steering wheel. Maybe there is low tire pressure, or the oil needs to be changed.  Worse yet, maybe the engine is overheating.  We all hate those alerts because we know they mean trouble. Something is off and we’re going to have to take the time, and maybe even spend some money to get it fixed.  It’s a nuisance and a headache.  If you’re like me, you just don’t have time for these kinds of interruptions.

I think this happens in our family life as well.  We all have that inner alarm that goes off inside when something is dangerous or wrong, however many times, especially in marriage we ignore it.

There are many reasons we might ignore it.  Maybe our own our needs aren’t being met, or we’re worried we’ll upset the apple cart.  However, just like allowing your car’s warning lights to go unchecked will cost you more in the long run, so will ignoring signs that your marriage isn’t healthy.   Here are some examples of warning lights we need to pay attention to:

When it becomes easy to justify almost any behavior.
I’ve seen many people give a pass to their spouse’s flirting with the opposite sex, because it’s easier to justify rather than confront.  However, we all know that before you were married that was not acceptable, it was extremely threatening.  This can include casual physical touch, which our society sluffs off as nothing, but it is definitely not “nothing”!  Again, it just becomes something that we justify in our minds and becomes second nature at work or especially at places like the gym.  If you or your spouse begin to interact with members of the opposite sex in ways that are too casual and not wise, you’ll pay for it.

When you begin to hide things from your spouse.
Maybe it is secret purchases or lunch with a former relationship.  Maybe you erase texts or calls.  If anything needs to be hidden, it is time to listen to that alarm inside.  If after reading these two sentences you can rationalize hiding or keeping secrets from your spouse – the dash warning is red and danger is imminent.

When you or your spouse are unwilling to consider and heed wise counsel.
It should be a warning sign if you or your spouse are confronted with a problem, but refuse to seek counsel insisting that it isn’t needed.  Whether your marriage is in despair or at the peak of the mountain, counsel can only help or help keep it there.

A lack of vulnerability.
If you notice your spouse has stopped being able to be vulnerable around you, or it is now awkward to discuss any kind of serious issue – that’s a warning sign. Something is wrong underneath.  Our hearts need some work.

Social Media and Selfie Obsession.
If you see overnight change in appearance and you or your spouse become self-obsessed with image and how people see you, stop and evaluate what is going on.  If social media is your primary outlet for self-expressions and affirmation, there might be a problem.  When all your photos start becoming less about the family and more about you or them – there is danger ahead.

Being critical of your spouse in front of others.
One warning sign that our culture feasts on is criticizing your spouse in front of people. It can be masked in many ways, but it only leads to bitterness and shows you are searching for something else.

When the dashboard warning goes off in our cars, we are never ashamed to visit a mechanic.  We might not be excited about it, but we know the best and wise thing to do is get some help.  Our families are so much more valuable tha

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