Throughout your marriage, you likely pay close attention to the health of your union, routinely noting how much time the two of you spend together, how you communicate, and what your biggest hurdles are. These things are important to observe, yes; but some of the true indicators of your marriage's strength may come in your daily interactions and the questions you ask each other regularly. This is even true for something as serious as divorce. If you feel that your relationship is on shaky ground, read on to hear from therapists about the key questions your partner might ask if they're considering a divorce.
"When are you going to see a therapist?"
If your partner's questions become a blame game, you'll want to take note. "Frequent blame-driven questions are a pretty certain sign that divorce is on the horizon," says Rich Heller, MSW, CPC, and founder of Rich in Relationship.
These types of questions indicate that a couple is fighting regularly and that one or both members of the partnership have stopped accepting personal responsibility for their marriage's shortcomings.
"More blame-driven questions would be, 'When are you going to stop working so much? You're always working' and other questions around either emotional or physical absence," explains Heller.
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"When are parent-teacher conferences again?"
Your marriage should be about much more than your kids and the general planning of your day-to-day. If it's not, your partner may be considering divorce but be OK with the fact that your relationship is relatively conflict avoidant.
"In the case of the conflict-avoidant couple, they've both made a decision that they're going to avoid the emotional land mines of their marriage," says Heller. "Questions tend to be around the mundane or on the one thing they can focus on together which is usually the well-being of the children." Once those kids head to college, the couple splits.
"Is it OK if we spend more time apart?"
Spending too much time apart is never a good thing. "Couples should have a life outside of the marriage; however, their outside life should not affect their marriage and vice versa," says Tatyana Dyachenko, psychologist and sex therapist at Peaches and Screams.
"If your partner throws in this question mid-argument, things may take a deep dive south, and it may be advisable to brace yourself," Dyachenko notes.
While personal space is important, you'll want to be wary if it sounds like your partner is just using it as an excuse to get away.
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"So… how was your day?"
This question could signify that your relationship has simply gotten stale. "What kills a relationship is when a partner becomes indifferent: if they start to not care about things and are not asking for the other partner to change their behavior," says Joanna Kaminski, LMFT, a therapist at Clarity Therapy NYC.
"Often, couples pay attention to conflicts and fights, and they are aware that the relationship is not that great. However, often, partners suffer in the relationship in quiet desperation and do not request change," Kaminski explains. They may suddenly ask to leave the relationship, believing that repairing it would be too big of an effort.