7 Things You Need to Know BEFORE You Get Married (To Avoid Divorce)

Beat the divorce statistics BEFORE you get married.

By:Laura Miolla/Your Tango.com

Beat the divorce statistics before you walk down the aisle.

The institution of marriage has long been idealized in the United States, especially when compared to other developed nations in the world. Here, getting married for the first time is a huge milestone in most people’s lives. Little girls dream about it. Mothers and fathers insist on it. The gay community lobbies for it. It is the norm within our society.

However, 40 to 50 percent of first-time marriages in the United States end in divorce. Clearly, most couples aren’t thinking about divorce when they are planning their wedding. But, given this statistic, they should.

Divorce can be psychologically devastating. It can destroy your self-esteem. It can cripple you, financially. It can negatively impact the well-being of your children. Choosing the right partner when it comes to marriage is the key to decreasing this statistic.

Overall, fewer people would get married, but those marriages would have a far better chance of success.

In order to have a happy marriage, here are 7 things you need to know before taking the plunge:

1. The wedding is not the goal.

The goal is to create a fulfilling, sustainable marriage. The wedding is just the exciting beginning of (what is meant to be) a lifelong partnership based on shared values and goals. Given the time, effort and money that goes into a wedding these days, it’s no surprise that it feels like a major accomplishment. And it is.

However, the REAL accomplishment is in fulfilling your vows on a daily basis: “To have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward until death do us part.”

I know, I know. Making the wedding the goal is SO much easier. It is more immediate and you get to check the box afterward on your list of things to do before the age of 35. If you don’t shift your perspective on what is most important, though, your odds of celebrating your 50th wedding anniversary are cut in half.

2. Invest more in the honeymoon than the wedding. 


There is a huge emphasis on weddings in our society. Weddings have become a major industry in their own right with the average wedding coming in around $30,000. And they typically take at least a year to plan. Family and friends are all involved in making this the celebration of your life. And there is huge emotional investment in a wedding.

Everyone involved wants it to be just “perfect”. There is no such thing as perfect though. Social expectations around what a wedding “should be” often become more important than what it really is — a celebration of two people’s love and commitment to one another.

In many ways, weddings are now more for the guests than the two people getting married. While having a celebration is important, the real celebration of the relationship occurs during the honeymoon as you begin to fulfill your vows of love, honor, and respect. It is these first steps that set the stage for the rest of your married life.

Honor that private time together as much as possible. It is rare to have such focused time together in our fast-paced society and it deserves to be cherished in its own right. This is where the real work of marriage begins.

3. What you don’t like about your partner is just as important as what you do like. 

The old adage is true. Whatever you don’t like about your potential partner or their habits will only get worse after the wedding. Sweeping these little annoyances under the carpet in a pre-wedding glow of optimism will not serve you. Everyone knows that communication is one of the keys to a successful relationship.

So, let’s be real and honest in acknowledging what we don’t like about each other before agreeing to a life-long commitment. No one is perfect. Really know your potential partner for who they are and not just what you would like them to be.

If you can’t learn to love or, at best, accept those flaws about your partner, then you might want to re-think spending your life with them. Almost everyone I’ve coached going through a divorce can look back and identify the red flags that should have sent them running in the opposite direction.

The seeds are planted here, but you need the courage to see them and make better decisions for yourself.

4. The real you is a gift.


No one is perfect, not even you. Sharing your authentic self with your partner is a great gift and provides crucial information about whether your match will stand the test of time.

So, no matter how embarrassing some of your personal habits might be, it is better to have them known by your partner now, rather than after you’re married. If this is the person you love — and who loves you just as much — there won’t be any negative judgment.

And if there IS negative judgment, then this probably isn’t the right person for you. The person you decide to spend the rest of your life will love and appreciate everything about you, without any desire to change who you really are.

5. Shared values are key to successful long-term relationships. 

Typical causes for divorce usually revolve around money, communication, and expectations — all superficial symptoms of misaligned values. Our values — like integrity, respect, family, love, achievement — are immensely important.

There are a few core values, though, the ones that are most important, that determine how we view the world and how we think and act. And yet, when asked, very few people can name what their core values actually are, let alone what their partner’s might be.

That’s the thing. Our values are unique to each of us and yet, even though we don’t acknowledge them, we assume that everyone shares our values, that they will think and act the way we do. That assumption causes huge misunderstandings and feelings of hurt and betrayal.

When partners don’t know their values, they can’t know if they share the same outlook in life. And if they don’t share the same core values, they are potentially heading down two different paths in life.

6. Successful marriages take work. 


Marriage is not easy. Love does not conquer all. The sheer act of living life can make us forget what is most important. Over time, partners can begin to take each other for granted. Major life transitions — such as having children, buying a house, changing jobs — test a relationship in ways you can’t imagine.

While these transitions can be blessings, they ultimately change the dynamic of the relationship. It takes some effort to avoid these relationship traps and adapt to life’s changes together.

Be present with your partner. Be honest and sincere with each other to eliminate unfounded expectations and unrealistic assumptions that can lead to anger and resentment.  Laugh together. Find appreciation and gratitude for each other every day.

7. Divorce is lonely and expensive. 

It typically takes as much money and time to get divorced as it does to get married. And if you have children, it will be even more. The glory of marriage is in two people building a life together. Everything gets combined — income, assets, retirement funds, friends, furniture, etc.

When that marriage breaks, everything gets divided. Divorce robs you of the income and lifestyle that you used to have. You will be with your children less. You will probably have to sell your house. Your retirement funds are depleted — from legal fees, as much as the division of assets — forcing you to work far longer than you had originally planned.

And the friends you made as a couple are nowhere to be seen. All of a sudden you are behind the eight ball, older and single now, trying to re-build your life all by yourself.  Marriage might not be easy, but divorce is downright hard.

Getting married is fabulous and exciting, but it is also a momentous decision that will impact your life forever. Be honest with yourself and choose your partner wisely.

Published by CityFella

Big city fella, Born and Raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. Lived in New York (a part time New Yorker) for three years . I have lived in the Sacramento area since 1993. When I first moved here, I hated it. Initially found the city too conservative for my tastes. A great place to raise children however too few options for adults . The city has grown up, there is much to do here. The city suffers from low self esteem in my opinion, locals have few positive words to say about their hometown. visitors and transplants are amazed at what they find here. From, the grand old homes in Alkali Flats, and the huge trees in midtown, there are many surprises in Sacramento. Theater is alive is this area . And finally ,there is a nightlife... In.downtown midtown, for the young and not so young. My Criticism is with local government. There is a shortage of visionaries in city hall. Sacramento has long relied on the state, feds and real estate for revenue. Like many cities in America,Downtown Sacramento was the hub of activity in the area. as the population moved to the suburbs and retail followed. The city has spent millions to revive downtown. Today less than ten thousand people live downtown. No one at city hall could connect the dots. Population-Retail. Business says Sacramento is challenging and many corporations have chosen to set up operations outside the cities limits. There is vision in the burbs. Sacramento has bones, there are many good pieces here, leaders seem unable or unwilling to put those pieces together into. Rant aside, I love it here. From the trees to the rivers. But its the people here that move me. Sacramento is one of the most integrated cities in America. I find I'm welcome everywhere. The spices work in this city of nearly 500,000 and for the most part these spices blend well together. From Ukrainians to Hispanics and a sizable gay community, all the spices seem to work well here. I frequently travel and occasionally I will venture into a city with huge racial borders, where its unsafe to visit after certain hours. I haven't found it here. I cant imagine living in a community where there is one hue or one spice. I love the big trees, Temple Coffee House, the Alhambra Safeway, Zelda's Pizza, Bicyclist in Midtown, The Mother Lode Saloon, Crest Theater, and the Rivers. I could go on and I might. Sacramento is home.

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