The following marital stormy-weather advisories go beyond the commonplace borders of a fraying attachment (such as infidelity and separate vacations), and map out the territories of subtle portent.
DON'T FALL BEHIND YOUR SPOUSE'S BEHIND
Some while ago, a friend of mine was nearing his Michigan Avenue office, when he noticed a married couple of his acquaintance in the distance, The husband was striding vigorously ahead of the wife as she clumsily scuffled along trying to catch up in the apparently vain hope of walking alongside of him. At the dismal sight of the scene, it occurred to my friend that the husband might not simply be advancing briskly in oblivious innocence, but subconsciously walking away from his wife. An imminent foreshadowing of walking out on her completely?
Next, the woebegone spectacle tinkled a bell of familiarity in my friend's cognitive ear. It was his own spouse who tinkled the bell. He had always dismissed her habitual front-running scurry as a manifestation of her high-horsepower career-woman's personality. Nothing personal. It was simply that she always forged on at a constant hurried pace, marked by a consistent rate of speed. But a nagging doubt crawled in. So to allay it, he tried an experiment. The next few times they walked in each other's company--she in her customary lead-- in the hope of cozying up beside her, he accelerated like an Indy race car. But no matter how much he full-throttled past his normal speed limit, she steadfastly held two or three lengths ahead.
Ineluctably, they divorced amid a tempest of rancor.
Warning to the reader: As soon as you spot your spouse constantly stepping ahead of you, get a step ahead of her/him by racing over to a divorce lawyer, preferably a remorseless barracuda.
DON'T ABIDE A QUESTIONABLE ANSWER
In chapter one of his marriage, whenever another friend affectionally called out his newly-minted wife's name from a nearby room , she would tenderly intone "Yes, dear." After a few years of matrimonial stress, she began impatiently answering his sweet beckonings by forcefully snapping back "What??!!"
Inevitably, they divorced amid a flood of animus.
Warning to the reader: Before taking another "What" counter, counterpunch with a cold-blooded divorce lawyer in your corner.
NEVER STAND PAT
At the outset of his marriage, yet another friend always relished the passionate squeeze, the erotic suggestion of every hug he initiated with his wife. But after a few years of wedlock and deadlocks, he noted that she had begun patting him on the back when they were entwined. It was suspiciously close to the condescending way one pats the back of aged spinster aunt or a homely 4-year old nephew After a while, he embraced the gesture for what it really signified, i.e. the unravelling of passion.
Needless to mention by now, they were soon divorced amid a seething cauldron of bitterness.
Warning to the reader: If your spouse begins treating you like his/her failing insignificant other by ceaselessly reflexive back-patting, don't fail to swiftly pad over to your neighborhood ruthless divorce lawyer.
Caveat: One, two or three of my "friends" might just me in disguise. And shame.