About 50 percent of marriages will end in divorce. This statistic can make marriage seem like a poor gamble with a high probability of failure. But are the statistics really that cut-and-dried? Is there anything we can do to make marriage less risky?
Following are several ways to stack the odds in your favor:
- Wait until your mid-20s or so to marry.Marrying young can substantially increase the possibility of getting divorced. If you don’t think you can wait until age 25 or so to marry, postponing marriage even a few years can help. (It’s not a rigid cut-off point – it’s more of a sliding scale.) Note that delaying marriage beyond your late 20s, however, does not statistically enhance your likelihood of preventing divorce.
- Be aware of broken family dynamics and marriage mindsets.You are not doomed to repeat your parent’s mistakes. However, children of divorce are more likely to divorce. Other negative relationship patterns modeled for you in childhood can seep into your adult relationships. Commit to understanding any unhealthy expectations or interactions demonstrated by your parents.
- Don’t live together without a clear commitment to marry in the future.Giving marriage a “trial run” by living together first may seem like the smart thing to do. But cohabitation – especially without first making a firm commitment to marry – can actually hurt your chances of staying married once you tie the knot.
- Have a healthy (but not crippling) caution.Many Americans have swung too far in terms of their pessimism about marriage . However, it is also dangerous to be too cocky about your ability to sustain a marriage. A certain amount of caution when approaching marriage is wise.
- Try premarital counseling.The phrase “premarital counseling” doesn’t conjure up images of fun. But premarital counseling can reduce your likelihood of divorce by 30 percent. So if you are serious about making your marriage work, premarital counseling is definitely worth consideration. You might even enjoy getting to know your partner better through this experience.
- Money can’t buy happiness, but ...An annual income of $50,000 (versus $25,000) can drop your risk of divorce by 30 percent. Higher income is often tied to higher education levels, so also try to go to get your college degree before you wed. Even some college can help. Individuals with some college reduce their risk of divorce by 13 percent compared to high school dropouts.
Distributed by MCT Information Services