Your personal experience of life will go through cycles of improvement and decline, as will your relationship with your spouse. Most couples go through periodic hard times but then overcome them and move on together. There’s a reason that standard marriage vows include a promise to stay together despite economic hardship, health problems and bad times.

Many of the issues that spouses encounter during their marriage will prove to be temporary, meaning that the household will recover from it in time. However, there are certain changes that are likely indicative of deeper issues that you may not be able to resolve. Couples with serious issues may have to consider divorce as a means of moving onto a healthier and happier future.

Evaluating your marriage for some of these serious relationship red flags can help you take the right steps now to protect yourself and your future.

You can’t talk without fighting, or you no longer fight at all

Couples going through a hard time may find that every little inconvenience turns into a massive argument. It’s especially noteworthy if either of you seems to enjoy provoking or angering the other or if the only thing that matters is winning in the fight, not the impact that your words might have on your spouse and your relationship.

Of course, the opposite is also cause for concern. When a couple reaches a point where they no longer argue at all because they’ve given up on convincing one another of their perspective, it can be a sign that the gap between spouses is too big to bridge.

The foundation of trust and respect for your marriage is no more

Most healthy relationships develop on a basis of mutual respect and understanding. You have to be able to trust your partner with everything from access to your financial accounts to your own physical health in some cases.

If your spouse has lied about major issues like infidelity, drug use, gambling or spending habits enough to make you feel like you can’t trust them, that could be a sign that your relationship has approached the point of no return.

You feel like you can’t be yourself anymore

People who are unhappy may hide their interior experiences from their partners. They might bury themselves in work or hobbies to distract from their unsatisfying relationship. If you have to bury your feelings, hide your passions or escape from reality because of your spouse, that may be a sign that the distance between you is insuperable.

Getting good advice about your rights and options before you file for divorce can help you make the best decisions possible in what is often a difficult but necessary process.