I didn’t realize how unhealthy my marriage was. I’d suffered a slow-drip of erosion to my self-esteem for so many years that I couldn’t see how abusive the relationship had become. On top of it, I was too humiliated to confide in anyone, even my family and closest friends, so I had no one to hold up a mirror to show me what my marriage really looked like.

So here I am, holding up a mirror for you. I’ve made a chart of characteristics of an abusive marriage versus a healthy marriage. How am I an expert? Well, aside from being a certified divorce coach, I personally have experienced one of each. If your marriage is healthy (like my second one is, thank GOD!!!), then PLEASE share this with a friend who you think may be in a toxic situation, even if she can’t see it herself. I know you don’t want to insult anyone, but you’ll be doing her a huge favor — maybe even saving her life. I will never forget the friend who saved mine by holding up a similar mirror for me.


How many of these characteristics are true for your marriage:


– Communicates regularly and effectively

– In an argument, sticks to pertinent issues that are relevant

– Always says “I’m sorry,” even when not solely responsible

– Empathizes with your feelings

– Consults with you on all household decisions

– Puts his your needs/feelings/desires above his

– Wants to do things together because he enjoys your company

– Wants you with him to share experiences

– Wants you to have control of your own money

– Recalls past events accurately

– Embraces your family



– Keeps you constantly guessing/off guard

– In an argument, brings up things from the past that aren’t relevant

– Never takes responsibility, even when it’s his fault

– Ignores your feelings

– Makes household decisions without conferring

– Puts his own needs/feelings/desires above yours

– Wants to do things together to make things easier for him

– Wants you with him to use you as a human shield

– Insists on controlling your money

– Twists past events

– Disparages your family


So how does your marriage rate? If there are more characteristics on the “abusive” side than on the “healthy” side, then it’s time to do something about it. If talking to your spouse doesn’t work, then a good next step would be to talk to a coach.

This article originally appeared at http://askthedivorcecoach.com/is-your-marriage-healthy/.

Victoria McCooey suffered for years from emotional, psychological, even financial abuse from her ex, but when the abuse turned physical she knew she had to get out — for herself and for her three sons. Her divorce took six years, but she persevered. The experience led her to become a divorce coach. She is the founder and head coach at “The Divorce Course for Women,” a program designed to eliminate your pain and fear, increase your knowledge and confidence and help you discover a magnificent new life. You can learn more about Victoria and her program at http://divorcecourseforwomen.com.