4 Signs That Your Marriage is in Trouble

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angry woman with clock

"Of course," I said out loud as I quickly powered down.

It soon became painfully obvious: The wireless network that was making it so much easier for me to be online was also making it harder for me to pay attention to Leslie.

Who'd have thought that with all the technology designed to give us more time, we'd be cramming all those extra moments we'd saved with even more time-consuming technological wizardry? With all the gadgets, we feel more harried than ever before.

We still have Wi-Fi, but I now control it more than it controls me—and it never enters the bedroom. If we aren't careful, technology can delude us into thinking we're saving time for our marriages when just the opposite is happening.

Most of us want what we want now. We can't wait. So we overextend our budgets, our credit and our calendars.

This same impatience infects our relationships, especially our marriages. We expect our spouses to do what we want when we want.

We grow weary of waiting, even for a moment, if he or she is a bit late. Impatience steals intimacy from our relationship by infusing it with intolerance, irritation and annoyance.

"Serenity now!" If you were a fan of the 1990s television phenomenon called Seinfeld, you immediately recognize that phrase.

The episode featured a subplot about Frank, the father of main character George. Whenever Frank feels tense, he is to lower his blood pressure by calmly saying, "Serenity now." Frank, unfortunately, doesn't get the idea that this phrase is to be said slowly with a deep breath for a soothing effect.

Instead, whenever he is frustrated, he shouts out the phrase in anger. Like a lot of us, he's demanding to have "serenity now!" No time to cultivate it. No time to wait.

Don't allow yourself to get caught in the same trap. Impatience corrodes your time like few other poisons, eating away at what could otherwise be a pleasant moment.

It's tempting to justify impatience by telling ourselves: "This is just how I act when I'm in a hurry. The real me, though, is more loving, and my spouse knows that." Are you sure?

Take a good look at this "temporary" trait and be sure it isn't becoming a permanent resident. Giving impatience the boot may be one of the most important things you can do to reclaim the time you've been missing from your marriage.

The Clock
We have nothing against clocks. In fact, we have a huge clock in our home that nearly every guest comments on.

We're not fanatical here. We only want to tell you a story. It's an old tale of a village that bought a fancy clock tower. Sometime after it was installed, a visitor to the town discovered that all the people were sleeping during the day and working at night.

When he questioned them about this, they answered: "We have the most unique town in America. After we got our new clock, we began to notice that the sun kept rising earlier and earlier every morning. Finally the daytime hours were dark and the night hours were light. We are petitioning the president for special recognition as the only town in America with such a situation."

As it turned out, the new clock had been running slower and slower because sparrows were roosting inside it. The point? The people of the village were so enamored by their clock that they allowed it to control them instead of the other way around.

And that's the potential problem with clocks. If we aren't careful, they can make us their slaves. We can't extinguish our reliance on timepieces. We'd have chaos. But if we surrender completely to the clock, it spins our relationships out of control as well.

Don't always give in to the tyranny of the clock. Linger over a latte together every once in a while. If you have a deadline to meet, don't be irresponsible, but don't be a time tyrant either. It's a fine line to walk. It requires balance—something those driven solely by the clock seldom have.

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