We’ve all heard the numbers: 50% of marriages end in divorce. I don’t need to wait until Halloween to say “that’s scary”. While the true statistic is a bit lower, the reality is that the odds of a successful marriage really aren’t so great. Even if the divorce rate was 33%, that means 1 in 3 marriages are going to fail. Let’s put this stat into perspective: Would you buy a car if the odds where 1 in 3 that it would crash? Would you buy a house where the odds where 1 in 3 that it would burn to the ground? How about flying on an airplane that had a 33% chance of crashing? Exactly…no friggin’ way.
The real question is, how can I avoid a disaster in my marriage? Sometimes we cannot avoid the unavoidable, but we can certainly go out of our way to increase the odds that our marriage will be a success. Below are 4 questions to ask yourself to potentially avoid a divorce:
1) Pump the brakes: Are you rushing to get married after a short courtship? Isn’t it worth investing a few years of ups and downs to determine if this person is right for the REST OF YOUR LIFE? Also, nothing spells disaster like a shotgun wedding. Or wedlock. So, take your time and really get to know the person that you will wake up to for the next 50+ years.
2) Are you good communicators? If so, then talk about the “what if’s” and see if you can have a conversation about unwinding the marriage if it fails. Discuss how to structure your finances after you’re married/divorced, how parenting would work if you split, and how any assets would be divided/contributed. Remember: if you can’t talk about something when you’re at your best, how are you going to communicate when you’re at your worst?
3) Is your marriage a priority? Being married is hard work. Just ask anyone who’s been hitched. When I ask people “what’s the secret to a successful marriage”, I usually hear the same 4 things: He/she is my best friend; we work very hard at our relationship; we always put the marriage first; we always plan for alone time.
4) WHY are you getting married? Seriously, ask yourself this question. Are you marrying for love? Money? Shelter? A child? If you can’t tell your family and friends the true reason why you want to marry your partner, odds are your marriage is doomed before it even starts.
I believe there is nothing better than being in a committed relationship where both people are infatuated with each other, have mutual respect, are willing to make the relationship a priority, both people genuinely want a successful marriage. But we all need to be realistic and remember that marriage is hard work! It’s difficult enough to focus on our own lives, but to have a successful relationship, more often than not, you’ll need to make that person a priority over yourself. Are you ready to do that?
About the author: Gregory C. Frank is the CEO and Co-Founder of DivorceForce, and has been through the wormhole and back. Parts of this editorial are taken from personal experience, feedback taken from DivorceForce.com community, and well…common sense. Please follow his adventures on twitter @GregoryCFrank