Julia, a paralegal with a firm in Philadelphia, was tired of looking for (but not finding) Mr. Right. That is, until she realized she was continually choosing Mr. Wrong. By finally seeing the red flags and figuring out exactly what she needed/wanted, she had a better chance of finding a man who was ready and able to commit. How can you tell if someone is ready to be a good long-term partner? According to the CDC, almost half of all marriages end in divorce. No one wants to be a part of that grim statistic. The emotional turmoil and financial havoc of going through a divorce can be devastating and destroy a family. Ask yourself honest questions and be true to yourself before you say "I do." With some honest introspection, you, like Julia, can dodge Mr. or Ms. Wrong, and avoid a tumultuous legal separation down the road.
Just for the Wedding
If all of your friends are getting married, you may start to feel the pressure. You have more bridesmaid dresses than a bridal shop. A desire to be the one who finally gets their day can be overpowering. Make sure you want a marriage and not just a wedding. Are you really ready to commit to one person forever? Or do you just want to be the star of the show called your own wedding? If you’re more excited about the wedding plans, party, dress and cake than your potential spouse, you could be headed for trouble. Every bride-to-be is excited about her wedding, but if you’re not thinking seriously beyond the ceremony and reception, then you may need to re-evaluate your priorities.
Your age can actually have an effect on the outcome of your marriage. According to Divorcerate.org, 36 percent of women who get married when they are between the ages of 20 and 24 have a higher divorce rate than any other group. The likelihood of divorce drops as the potential bride and groom age and mature. Young marriages can and do flourish, but if either of you are under 24, you may want to evaluate your needs and wait for the wedding day.
Money and debt are major stressors in a marriage. When you get married, your income will go up (if both spouses work), but any existing debt increases as well. While debt is not a reason to avoid or delay marriage, make sure to communicate openly about money and household finances. Review your debts, expenses and financial goals. As a couple, you’ll know what to expect, so engage in timely and in-depth conversations about money— before popping the big question. Perhaps it’s unfair, but money may just give you a reason to call it quits.
Ex-Spouses & Kids
You want to marry your boyfriend, not his ex-wife, right? Your significant other’s ex may play a role in your life, whether you like it or not. If your new matrimonial partner has children with a former spouse, you can certainly expect a wide range of issues, from child custody to acceptable bed times. Are you open to these outside forces that can impede on your marriage and the family you’re trying to create? Also, it’s not uncommon for someone with kids to not want any more with a new potential partner. If you see kids of your own on the horizon, make sure your significant other is on the same page before legally committing.
Addictions & Red Flags
You love him unconditionally, but you can’t seem to shake that gut feeling telling you he may not be the one. Little things you dismiss can grow exponentially into triggers for divorce. Does he borderline on suffering from alcoholism? Does he become emotionally closed off? Does she have terrible spending habits? Say in tune with your instincts. Ending a relationship and enduring a broken heart is hard, but a divorce is unimaginably worse.