10 Ways To Tell if Your Marriage Will Last

02/07/2012

Just married coupleThe modern marriage is just a little less bleak than in the 1980's when divorce numbers peaked. It’s decreased from 50 percent to 41 percent. And having been married three years ago myself, I too was curious as to what research showed about the keys to marriage longevity. I wanted to outline not just a list of overwhelming prediction statistics, but what makes the stats the way they are.

In short, marriage is no easy feat and it takes a certain kind of couple to not only survive but thrive, 10 and 20 years after walking down the aisle.

1. A Certain Kind of Commitment

Those in marriages that last and those in marriages that end in divorce, both claim that they're committed to their relationship, but it's a certain kind of commitment that did well over the long haul. This larger commitment meant taking active steps to make their marriage work even when the relationship wasn’t going well. These steps may go against what they wanted, according to one study. In a long term relationship, both parties can’t always get their way. 

2. Bank Account Relationships

Science Daily reports that the bank account relationship has nothing to do with money (we’ll get to that one later). It relates to marriages where you’re often keeping score of how many times your mate got their way. This is an indication that a marriage will not last. When you’re in an argument, are you more concerned with who wins or are you more concerned with the strength of your relationship? The goal at the end of a battle  should always be building and maintaining the foundation of a healthy marriage.

3. Forgiveness Factor

Those relationships where each mate was able to forgive the other’s behavior tended to last a lot longer than marriages where couples were constantly trying to change the other’s behavior. Additionally, being able to let go after a fight instead of continuing to burn the flame of anger, also led to a happy marriage, according to Science Daily.

MORE: Take this Marriage Quiz

4. The Transition from Romance to Partnership

Affection and love are certainly important at the start of a marriage but if there is too much emphasis on keeping the flame burning, that’s a recipe for disaster. Couples have to be able to make the transition from romantic relationship to working partnership without too much of a blow. Passion fades but it’s the ability to maintain affection, respect, and similarities that really matter.

Cartoon bride photo

Photo: Thinkstock

5. Courtship Length

The length of the courtship is another really important, though not surprising indicator. There can be no delusion as to who the person you’re marrying really is. You have to be able to paint a realistic picture of each other. And that criteria shouldn’t be shallow, it should be the important traits of your mate’s personality. If not, once you get married the landslide of negativity that could follow is often too much for your marriage to handle, according to Psychology Today.

6. Your Own Happiness

Just because you’re happy, doesn’t necessarily mean that your marriage is happy, but on the other hand, if you’re full of discontent, it can cause problems for your marriage. Couples who either let their own discontent spill over to their mate, or blame their mate for their discontent, were far more likely to get divorced.

 7. Conflict Diffusion

The ability to communicate while in an argument is very important. Communicating over the larger issue that’s fueling your fire is extremely important to being able to withstand negative events. It’s not the conflicts that come up, but how you react to them that matters. How you diffuse conflict without ignoring it, is really important to your marriage. When you don’t communicate between one another, their’s often a lack of understanding of your mate, which can eventually lead to a loss of affection. It’s that loss of affection that's even more of a harbinger of disaster in the end. 

Marry me photo

8. Open Disclosure of Opinions

Couples that feel their mates are the only one that truly understands them tend to last. Most of us have that feeling at first, but it begins to subside if you don't cultivate it. You should be able to disclose all your weird quirks without fear of reprisal. Rude awakenings tend to end marriages. You should be open about politics, religion, kids, family, and most importantly, how you want your life to pan out. 

9. Money Fights

One study found that couples that fought about money once a week were 30 percent more likely to get divorced. Do everything that you can to avoid fighting about money, the largest of which is don’t live beyond your means. Living beyond your means leaves you stressed out about money, and therefore causes conflict.

10. Age Gaps 

Age gaps, not surprisingly, result in a larger rate of divorce, according to the Daily Beast. This is especially true if one half of you was divorced before your current marriage. Age gaps are particularly trying for your relationship's intimacy. They also result in differing views of the world and differing goals for the future. 

Older couple phot

Photo: Jupiterimages

Photo at top: Stockbyte

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More on Marriage
How to Build Marital Bliss 
10 Dating Ideas for Married Couples
Is there such a thing as the seven-year itch? 

 


Sara Novak writes about health and wellness for Discovery Health. Her work is also regularly featured in Breathe Magazine and on SereneKitchen.com. She has written extensively on food policy, food politics, and food safety.


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