It’s so sad, but true, over 50% of all marriages in the United States will end in divorce.
The statistics haven’t change for years, and it’s so strange that we have, as a nation, not changed our approach to marriage over these years either.
Below are the four most important key tips to help you make sure you are ready to walk down the aisle and keep the marriage going for the rest of their lives.
“Most couples know, at either a conscious or subconscious level, that entering into marriage with their partner is not going to work.
Does that surprise you?
For last 28 years as a counselor, I’ve worked with many, many individuals and couples that were preparing for marriage who knew there already were serious issues in the relationship. But, they didn’t want to back out and make the more difficult decision of waiting and getting professional help before they carried through with the wedding day.
So here’s a checklist, of things that you’re going to want to look deeply into before you marry the person you’re engaged to currently or dating :
1. Are there any serious issues in the relationship?
Issues like addiction, alcohol, food, sex, workaholism, television? … I think you get the picture, and it’s not a pretty one.
Anyone who has an addiction, believe it or not, that addiction will always be more important to them than their partner.
As a former alcoholic, I can tell you this is true. In all my relationships, when I was an active alcoholic, it was more important that I got my needs fixed, on a daily basis, then worried about what my partner wanted.
Sounds brutal? It’s the same thing with food addiction, drug addiction to gambling…video games…The list goes on and on.
If you think you’re going to change someone who has an addiction, once you’re married, you’re absolutely barking up to the wrong tree. Do not marry until that person has cleaned up their addiction once and forever. (That person could be you.)
And if you’re thinking about having kids? Never, ever walk down the aisle with someone who has an active addiction… Because that addiction will always be much more important than you and or your potential future children.
2. Live together for a period of time
I believe everyone should live together for a few months to a year, prior to getting married.
I know this will upset many religious individuals reading this, who think that you should never cohabitate, and maybe even never have sex with someone, until after marriage.
I personally believe this is a recipe for disaster. It’s one thing to date someone on a daily basis, it’s a totally different thing to see if you can live together.
I work with couples on a weekly basis that are struggling immensely in their relationship and or their marriage, because they’re living habits are the exact opposite of their partners.
Maybe one likes to stay up really late at night, and the other one likes to go to bed really early. If you can understand the differences, and work through them, you can actually take the plunge into the legal agreement called marriage.
3. Don’t make any assumptions
What do you assume the role of a wife and/or husband is in a marriage? You’d be surprised how many couples I work with, that after they return from their honeymoon, just “assume“, that the wife is going to do certain things on a daily basis.
Or the woman will assume that their husband is going to be doing certain things on a regular basis.
These “assumptions“, can kill a relationship. Premarital counseling, which I do on a regular basis, to me consists of having people write out the answers to this question, “what do you think the role of a wife and or husband is in a marriage?“
Sometimes the answers will scare the hell out of your partner, or maybe your partners answers will scare the hell out of you, but I’d rather have you go through this exercise with a professional before you marry, than afterwards.
There are certain things that people begin to resent deeply, when their partner isn’t living up to what they believe the role of a husband or wife is. If you don’t know this going into the marriage, you’re going to be really shocked when you begin living together and see that their beliefs about who and what you should be and do is totally different than yours. Don’t take this risk.
4. Discuss about your expectations
Make sure, with the help of a professional, that you are ironing out all of your expectations in the marriage before you get married.
Do you plan on having children? Do you both agree with this? If you have children are they going to be raised in a certain faith? Do you both agree with this?
What about schools? Private? Public?
What about sex? Are you on the same page sexually? Have you talked about it? What are your needs? What are their needs?
What about money? Who handles it? Have you agreed on a certain amount that either of you can spend without having to ask the other person if it’s OK?
This is just the beginning, the four steps above, are just the beginning of the seriousness that we must all begin to take before walking down the aisle of marriage.
The reason why the divorce rate is still more than 50%, I believe, is that people are not taking the information I’m sharing here seriously… We get sucked into this “La La Land of marriage“, that everything is going to be great once we are married, and it’s absolute nonsense.
I am a huge fan of marriage, but only if we change the way we approach it. It’s obvious up to now, that we’re not doing a good enough job, which means, not only will you be potentially hurt, or devastated down the road, but if you have children… They are the ones that will suffer greatly by your lack of initiative in following the above four key steps.
Want to have a happier, healthier marriage?
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
More by David Essel