The divorce rate in America has grown exponentially. Couples more than ever face a risk of divorce. However, you are not a statistic, and there are things you can do to boost your marriage into a lasting love. This is for those who are not yet married and may be considering marrying their significant other.
Who is at greater risk for divorcing?
In trying to understand the divorce rate, many researchers have looked into couples who have separated to find out what elements play a role in the separation. Some people will face a higher risk of divorce, while others a very low risk. The following are some characteristics linked with higher divorce rates:
- Marrying at a younger age (e.g., younger than 22)
- Having less education (vs. having a college degree)
- Having parents who divorced or never married
- Having a personality that is more reactive to stress and emotion
- Having a prior marriage that ended
- Prior to marrying, having sex with or cohabiting with someone other than your mate
- Having a very low income or living in poverty
- Having a child together before marrying
- Living together before either being married or at least engaged
- Poorer communication and conflict management
- Being of different religions or races
Advice for those not yet married
You have the most power to affect your eventual likelihood of divorce. The stage of life you are in shapes the dynamic of choosing a good partner. The earlier you are in the process of finding a mate, the more your choices going forward can affect your future. Here are some tips to keep in mind when getting in to a new relationship.
- Take it slow: Get to know a person before you take it to the next level. By taking time with your partner, you can see how a potential partner treats others, responds to stress, and handles disagreements with things that matter. If you feel you want to marry your partner, take time to discuss expectations about family, marriage and life.
- Pay attention to red flags: Do you see evidence of controlling or abusive behavior. If you have trusted friends or family, listen to them about concerns they see in the person you are dating. Don’t marry someone you want to turn into a makeover project.
- Look for someone who shares your beliefs and values: What are your central values in life? Do you and your partner share these values? Be clear about the big things you are looking for in life before you meet someone and it gets all complicated with chemistry. Chemistry is best developed in a sequence, it should not be the glue in a relationship.
- Look for mutual dedication: You and your partner should be equally devoted to the relationship. You both should be willing to make sacrifices for each other. If you feel you are more dedicated to the relationship than your partner, consider moving on.
- Don’t let constraints for staying together increase before you establish mutual commitment to be together: Many couples get into a situation that makes it harder to end a relationship. For many couples moving in together before engagement or marriage makes it harder to break up before its clear that they really have a future together.
- Be realistic about potential mates: A soul mate is someone to share life with. So many people try to find a ‘perfect lover’ who is ideal for them. Some day you will realize that this person is not perfect. Marriages fail because one or both partners expected a level of perfection that is just not possible. What makes a marriage is two imperfect people transformed by a life of commitment and love. Look for someone who can commit and grow and sacrifice, and be that person to conquer life with.