So You're Getting Married

So You're Getting Married... Have You Thought About How To Avoid Divorce?

Every weekend, (and almost every day), couples take the all-important step to legalize their relationship. And yet you’ve read the statistics. Fifty percent of marriages end in divorce and 60% of second marriages also result in divorce. These are alarming numbers. And yet, more than two million weddings are performed in the United States each year. What does that tell us? Perhaps that people are eternally optimistic? Or that the excitement of all things related to weddings overcomes doubts, good sense, and seeing our partner and ourselves clearly and honestly?

When the relationship falters, the union can become severed- a decision that, despite the statistics, can shock even the couple themselves. Going by the popular saying that ‘failing to plan is planning to fail’, it becomes imperative for intending couples to consider a range of issues before tying the knot- in order to avoid having to face the option of an eventual divorce.

Choosing the right spouse -  

When it comes to choosing the right person to spend the rest of your life with, the only one who can be sure if you are choosing well is you. We all have an idea of the right person and how we want our future to be. Below are some tips to ensure that you are following your dreams and being honest with yourself about your choice of a spouse.

Ask yourself - 

The first thing you should do when considering marriage is to ask yourself if your partner is the kind of person you want in your future. It’s one thing to be strongly attracted physically to someone and enjoy going to bars, parties and on exciting dates and excursions. It’s something quite different to imagine yourself and your prospective partner making a home together, having breakfast and dinner every day, doing ordinary chores and projects with one another far into the future.

Think about the qualities you want in a man/woman. Does this person have those qualities? If you really see him/her in your future, can you accomplish wonderful things together? If you plan on having children, do you know enough about this person to feel they would make a good (even great) parent?

Family relationships - 

It is important that you both have good relationships with each other’s families. You must evaluate how his family treats you and how he treats your family, because once you get married, you are going to become one family and will interact with each other’s family members.

Get to know the family well. Attend family reunions and talk to the parents. Find out what they do and what they don’t do and what they think about certain things you find important.

Get your parents to know him/her better; invite him to your parents’ home and try to find things to do together to ensure they build a good relationship.

Know yourselves - 

Before considering marriage, you should get to know yourself. Be honest about your strengths and weaknesses and share them with your partner. Your partner should do the same. Going to a counselor when the two of you become serious, (Pre-Marital Counseling), allows the two of you to explore areas of agreement and disagreement and learn valuable tools for resolving differences.

Become comfortable with expressing your feelings in order to have a good relationship. Ask your partner to tell you when he feels something is going wrong. And remember to always do this in a way that respects the other’s feelings.

Ask yourself if you are willing to support your partner and help them grow wherever that growth might lead them. Are you open to change both in yourself and in your loved one?

Evaluate your relationship - 

Think about what you do together. Do you really love each other? Do you have good times together? Do you have friends in common? Do you enjoy the same activities? Are you equally comfortable with spending time with others and by yourselves?

Don’t look just for the right person; look for a friend, a person that will be there for you in good times and bad.

[Adapted from an article in the Nigerian Times- "Before You Say 'I Do"...Avoiding Eventual Divorce"]

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