Evaluate Your Relationship Before You Get Engaged

Almost half of all marriages end in divorce. So, ladies, is there a surefire way to avoid marrying Mr. Wrong? Yes. Marriage therapist Dr. Terry Orbuch is a sociology professor at the University of Michigan. She says the best way to decide if a man’s good marriage material, or your future ex-husband, is to evaluate your relationship before you get engaged. Here’s how:

  • First, don’t just dismiss his past. For example, he doesn’t party now – but he used to drink heavily, and left a trail of bitter exes behind. You’ll need to decide if your relationship could survive a repeat – because the odds are good that his old habits will return. As the experts say: Past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior. So, think about whether his behavior was caused by circumstances. Say, he drank too much because he lived with his frat brothers. Or whether it’s a character trait, say drinking because of stress.
  • Next: Figure out what you need. Make a list of the five qualities you have to have in a spouse, like the same views of religion, family or money. Your potential husband should have four out of five.
  • Also, look at how your life together will be. In other words, if he’s a workaholic, and your priority is family – that’s an argument waiting to happen.
  • Another way to avoid marrying Mr. Wrong: Don’t get attached to his potential career or earnings. He may be a CEO now, but what happens if he gets fired? Will you still be happy if he’s supporting your family with a $10-an-hour job? Remember: The difference between what you expect and what you get is one of the leading causes of divorce. They didn’t put “for richer or poorer” in marriage vows for nothing!
  • Finally, remember, you don’t just marry the man – you marry his family, too. These people will spend half the holidays with you, and be in your face once you have kids. So, make sure you’re on the same page as to how much you include them in your lives.

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