The sobering truth about marriages today is that 52-percent of them end up dissolving. Young couples marry with visions of themselves celebrating their Golden Wedding anniversary together… yet over half of them split up. That means that your marriage has an equal chance of success or failure. How can you ensure that your marriage will flourish year after year?
1. Keep communication open. You should feel comfortable discussing any and all issues with your spouse. Write it, say it, communicate it, but always express it.
2. Find common interests that are ongoing. Activities/interests that the two of you can enjoy as a couple is key to fulfillment in a marriage. If you enjoy playing golf together today, chances are you will through every decade of your marriage. If it’s camping, theater, tinkering in the garden—it doesn’t matter—just make time to do it together on a consistent basis.
3. Take time for your “self” interests. Often, younger couples get absorbed in one another and forget to nurture their own personal interests. Strike a fine balance between common interests and those that allow for some freedom and space.
4. Show compassion. Out of sheer idealism and romanticism, younger couples tend to become quickly intolerant of their spouse’s shortcomings. Keep telling yourself, “nobody’s perfect!” Not your spouse or you.
5. Check your expectations. Many young marriages fail because people expect too much, not only from one another, but the concept of marriage itself. If the picture of what you thought marriage would be doesn’t match how it turns out to be for you, get real! Marriage is like running a business: sometimes it’s a tough job; other days it pays huge dividends.
6. Set some joint goals. But do so as soon as possible. Many couples quickly find out that what they thought were common goals for the near future, e.g., she wants four kids—he wanted only one—can be the very issue that pulls them apart before they reach 30 or 40.
7. Remember you’re partners, not just lovers. If you’re looking for only ecstasy and have no patience for the agony that all relationships encounter, you’re setting yourself up for a rough ride and probably a divorce. Marriage is a partnership, not an affair.
8. Commitment is 24/7. A lack of maturity is often to blame when it comes to divorce among 20-to early 30-something couples, and that includes the absence of resolve to be a solid partner every day, not simply on the days when a person feels like it.
9. Keep your finances in check. One of the most common reasons people divorce is due to over-extending themselves financially. It’s easy to be a little reckless with spending when you’re 20- or 30-something. What helps to keep spending in check though is to agree to one bank card. Set a limit for how much you can afford to charge on that card and stick to it.
10. Forget the “baby will bring us closer” plan. Having a baby brings great joy to couples, usually, but it also creates a tremendous amount of stress. If you think your marriage is faltering and having a baby will change all that (i.e., bring you closer together), think again. Nine times out of 10, it’s quite the opposite. Wait until the two of you are on solid ground together before you add anyone else to your family.