Relationship Advice: 10 Ways to Reduce Your Divorce Risk
By Caroline Presno, Ed.D., P.C.C.
Special to Yahoo! Personals
Updated: Jul 31, 2008
When you dream about a happily-ever-after, sitting in a lawyer's office and dividing your
assets isn't usually part of the dream. Divorce isn't 100 percent
preventable, but there are steps you can take to avoid the nightmare
scenario. And if you are already divorced, don't be discouraged -- just
apply what you've learned in your next relationship.
To increase your chances of retaining an everlasting marriage, follow these guidelines.
1. Get married after about two years of courtship
Researchers say that if a couple's courtship is average in
length -- around two years, four months -- there is less chance of
divorce. Couples who rush to the altar, as well as couples who drag
their feet to the altar, have an increased risk for divorce. "The
couples who are slowest to marry tend to be the quickest to split,"
according to Ted Huston, Ph.D.
2. Rethink living together
together before marriage is more popular than ever and it stands to
reason that you might want to take someone for a "test drive" around
your living space before you commit to marriage. However, research
doesn't support this. Couples who live together before marriage have a
higher risk of divorce.
3. Wait until you are a little older to marry
Statistics show that if you marry after age 25, your marriage will have a much better chance.
4. Talk about the big issues before you get married
many kids do you both want? How will you handle your finances? It's
important to clarify these questions before the honeymoon. Premarital
education or counseling can help with this. Studies show that those who
go through this process have higher levels of marital satisfaction and
more commitment to their spouses.
5. You can argue, just don't let it turn into World War III
is a natural part of a relationship and in and of itself does not
predict divorce. However, the way you argue does. Researchers Gottman
and Levenson say they can predict divorce by watching how negative a
couple gets with each other, as well as how many constructive, positive
interactions they have during an argument. Things to avoid when
arguing: criticism, contempt, defensiveness, and stonewalling. Learn to
tone down heated arguments with humor and a few kind words.
6. Do stuff together
you both need to have your own individual interests. However, if you
take this too far you may start to lead separate lives and grow apart,
like if he spends every Saturday golfing and she spends every Saturday
swimming. Learn to reconnect by taking part in a hobby or activity that
you both enjoy. Also important: Take time for intimacy even when it
seems like you don't have a minute to spare. Forms of intimacy like
massage and cuddling are wonderful ways to bring you closer together.
7. Share the chores
If one person does the majority of the housework while the other slacks off, that's a recipe for divorce.
8. Be as polite to each other as you are to strangers
we treat the people we love most with the least amount of respect
without even realizing it. Ask yourself, "Do I treat friends,
acquaintances, coworkers, and even strangers nicer than I do my
Take time to give each other compliments and remember to say "please" and "thank you" rather than barking orders or nagging.
9. Have issues? Get help!
one of you suffering from depression? Does one of you have substance
abuse issues? Has one of you cheated? If you don't address these types
of issues individually as well as a couple, you dramatically increase
your divorce risk. Take steps to decrease your divorce risk now by
addressing these issues through counseling and other means!
10. Marry someone who wants to be married
seems obvious, but it's really not, since so many people ignore it. If
you have to beg, cajole, manipulate, and hurl ultimatums at someone
before they will agree to marry you, common sense says they probably
don't want to be married. If you think something is going to change
when you get that ring on their finger, you're wrong. Don't set
yourself up for failure. Find somebody who wants the same things you
More from dating expert Caroline Presno