Engaged

At-Risk for Divorce

Engaged couples spend endless amounts of time planning for their special day. In the excitement of wedding showers, choosing the flowers and the cake, and finding the perfect dress, some wonder if they can make it work. It isn’t that they necessarily question their love for each other, although some actually do, it’s more about questioning if they can defy the odds of divorce.

Most scholars agree that couples marrying today face a substantial risk of divorce; however, many couples don’t realize there are certain factors that put them at higher risk.

“While there are academic arguments about how great the average risk is, there is a lot less argument among scholars about the relative risks,” said Dr. Scott Stanley, co-director of the Center for Relationships at the University of Denver. “Some people face a higher risk of divorce and others a very low risk. What follows is not an exhaustive list, but it will hit the highlights.”

Individual Characteristics Linked with Higher Rates of Divorce:

“While some people face a higher risk of divorce than others, many people who have a very low risk nevertheless worry about divorce happening to them,” Stanley said. “Some people avoid marriage because of their fear of divorce, but avoiding marriage won’t really reduce one’s chances of experiencing heartache and family instability.

“To really avoid the possibility of such pain, one would need to avoid love, sex, and children altogether. For some, avoiding marriage may actually increase their likelihood of experiencing the very thing they fear—heartache and break-up—because marriage can be a potent force for clarifying and reinforcing commitment between two people.”

Stanley contends that BEFORE MARRIAGE is when you have the most power to affect your eventual likelihood of divorce. He suggests the following as you proceed.

“Marriage involves a choice to risk loving another for life, but that is different from gambling with your love life,” Stanley said. “Just make sure you are deciding rather than sliding your way into your future.”

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