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 were 1 in 3 that it would crash? Would you buy a house where the odds were 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 four questions to ask yourself to potentially avoid a divorce:
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.
Are you good communicators?
If so, then talk about the "what ifs" 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?
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 four 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.
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, and are willing to make the relationship a priority. 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?
Gregory C. Frank is the CEO and Founder of DivorceForce.