Marriage in our country has taken a turn for the worse, and that’s an optimistic statement at best. Studies suggest 55% of first marriages end in divorce, 72% of second marriages end in divorce and 78% of third marriages end in divorce.
Most of us have a fantasy, that even if our current relationship is dysfunctional now, once we get married everything will be just great.
Hold on. Do not pass go. Read this.
Here are 9 red flag warning signs, that tell us to just say no, to marriage
Marriage, at least a healthy marriage, has become a fantasy in our country.
People still feel that once they get married, everything is going to be great.
“Yes I know we’re struggling now, and we don’t get along with each other very well, and there are issues with the kids, and there are issues with our ex-partners, or maybe there are issues with our communication skills… But once we get married, everything will be fine.”
It’s almost like reading a woman’s magazine.
Or a romance novel has gone awry.
Marriage has become a disposable product in our country, and in our world, and unless we really get to the reality of relationships instead of the fantasy, nothing, and I mean nothing will ever change.
Here are the top 9 reasons why you should say no, if you see yourself in any of these scenarios with your current partner, and you’re planning to get married:
1. Alcohol addiction
After doing this work as a counselor and life coach for 30 years, and being a fully recovered alcoholic myself, I can tell you that many marriages die because of the addiction to alcohol.
Recently I worked with a couple, married exactly 2 years, that had been battling for a year and 10 months and one of the main issues they have between them is the use of alcohol.
The wife feels it’s totally normal to have three or four glasses of wine every night, and then to really party it up on weekends.
And the husband isn’t far behind. So what’s the problem? Every 14 days or so they get into a huge knockout, drag down the fight, that just ruins their life for 3 to 4 days afterward.
But they both knew to go into the marriage, that one of the keys that brought them together was alcohol.
They loved to party together, they love to relax out on the lanai in the evening having their drinks, but they never realized that all of the fighting and arguing that was going on during the dating phase was going to simply carry over into the marriage.
As I worked with them both, I made a very simple comment that unless they were planning on letting alcohol go, they should just let the marriage go. It was a terrible match, and alcohol exploded their own insecurities and fears around commitment and love.
2. Emotional unavailability
If we have not come to complete closure with all of our past relationships, which means if we haven’t forgiven all of our past dating partners or marriage partners for the dysfunction that they brought into our lives, we are nowhere near ready to be married.
It’s called emotional baggage. It’s called being emotionally unavailable.
If you have grudges or resentments against a former husband, I promise you this, you will find other issues with your current partner simply because of the fact that you haven’t learned how to let go of the past.
If you can’t stand your ex-wife or ex-girlfriend and have resentments or grudges against them, you’re going to not trust any woman you’re within the future until you let go of the past.
Work with counselors to get to the core of forgiveness, or all of your relationships will be based in hell.
3. Family issues
You see extreme dysfunction between your partner and their family, yet according to your partner, their family is crucial for their love and survival.
Right away, you’re walking into a war zone.
Unless you live in Japan and her family, in this case, lives in the United States, any close relative to where your partner has ongoing dysfunction with will create absolute hell in your marriage or relationship.
The solution? Get into counseling today, to see if you have what it takes to put up with the insanity that’s coming down the road.
Bring your partner with you, so you both can talk to the counselor about your fears and concerns regarding the relationship that they have with their family members that’s filled with chaos.
Do some research. Get some help before you commit to marriage, and end up having your in-laws and their insanity a part of your life on a regular basis. It may not be worth it.
4. A lack of communication
If you’re dating someone that shuts down easily or uses passive-aggressive techniques instead of dealing with confrontation, you’re in for a very long or maybe very short, but difficult, marriage.
If you haven’t learned how to fight fairly in your dating relationship if you haven’t learned the art of letting things go if you haven’t learned the art of how to apologize appropriately so that you can release any tension in the relationship fairly quickly. You’re not ready for marriage. Yes, it’s that simple.
5. If you don’t like children, don’t marry someone who has children
If your partner that you’re thinking about marrying, has children, and you really don’t get along with children, do not marry this person!
There’s nothing wrong with someone having children obviously, but if you’re not someone who really enjoys being around children, this is going to be a major sticking point in your relationship.
You obviously can’t ask your dating partner to get rid of the kids, LOL, but you can make a decision that children were never to be a part of your life and you’re not interested in starting that now.
There are many other people out there without children, that you should be focusing on.
6. Financial issues
If you’re dating someone that has not yet mastered the art of budgets, decreasing expenses and at the same time learning how to increase income, and they’re always struggling with money, worried about money, talking about how terrible it is but they still find themselves in this kind of financial situation, do not marry!
Instead, encourage your partner and maybe you can join them, to work with a financial planner or advisor and get all of the financial mess cleaned up before you decide to marry.
And if they pushback, and don’t want to get help financially? Walk away. Now.
7. Don’t get married if you are expecting your partner to change
If you’re dating someone and thinking about marrying them, and hoping that they’re going to change something about their personality or behaviors… Do not marry!
I worked with a woman a number of years ago, who dated a guy that ate with his mouth wide-open whenever they were in public.
She found it disgusting but thought that he might change after they married, and she was wrong.
Six months into the marriage, she decided not to go out in public to eat anymore with him, and you know what happened next.
His resentments grew deeper and deeper, even though he still refused to change this bad habit until their marriage was in shambles.
Never date anyone, or marry anyone, for their potential to change their current behaviors and or habits. If you really think you have a great relationship, wait until those potential problems that you see today are cleared up before you marry them.
8. Sexual compatibility
If you’re not sexually compatible when you’re dating someone, trust me on this one as a counselor and life coach for over 30 years, nothing good is going to change in the marriage.
It’s sad but true. There are a lot of people that are mismatched in marriage because their sexual drives and interest are on totally opposite ends of the spectrum.
Some people are simply born with a very high sexual drive, and they need to find a partner that can match that sexual drive.
Other people run into health problems, and when they don’t take care of them it can easily turn their life upside down with one of many forms of sexual dysfunction.
Make sure you’re both on the same wavelength, on the same page, when it comes to public displays of affection, kissing, making love, before you walk down the aisle.
9. Don’t get married if you had a break up recently
Your partner, or you, had been divorced or ended a long-term relationship and immediately jumped into the current one.
We believe in the world of counseling, that people need at least 365 days in between long-term dating relationships or marriages.
If you take this 365-day approach and work with a counselor at the end of your relationship, you’ll be able to clear up a lot of the potential problems coming down the road.
In our newest book, “Angel on a surfboard: a mystical romance novel offering the keys to deep love“, The lead character Sandy Tavish was seduced by a gorgeous woman at a pool, and That day she invites him over to her house for a bottle of wine and dinner.
When he arrives, she is looking so sexy, so gorgeous that he can barely contain himself.
She goes on to tell him that she believes he, Sandy, is the man she’s been waiting for all of his life.
But what happens next, changes everything.
She tells him that she’s finally kicked her last boyfriend out of the house… Only three days ago!… But she’s ready for deep love.
Sandy understands that there’s no one that can be ready for deep love without a lot of space in between the relationships, and he tells her this.
At first, this breaks her heart and she becomes very upset, but as she settles down she realizes the truth, she needs a lot of time to heal from the last relationship.
Whether it’s you, or your potential partner, that has not taken enough time in between relationships, this is a huge red flag that we need to pay attention to.
Take a break. Do work. And if you’re meant to be together, you’ll end up together.
As you can probably imagine, the above 9 tips are just a starting point.
Let’s right now decide that we will hold off on marrying someone until you absolutely are sure that you both are on the same page in every area, or at least most areas of life.
I know if you follow these simple tips, you will save yourself a lifetime of pain, misery and financial loss. Slow down. Take your time. And if you’re not with someone right now who is a good match, have faith that you will find them down the road and live happily, ever after.
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