The French essayist Michel D. Montaigne cynically wrote, “A good marriage would be between a blind wife and deaf husband.” Despite his jaundiced view, your marriage has a good chance of lasting if you follow some simple scientifically proven guidelines as outlined below. And FYI: The divorce rate in the United States is dropping, and is no longer around 50% — it’s much closer to 30% if you wait until age 23 to marry.
1. How deep is the hole you’re in?
It’s a scientific statistic: Almost 80% of couples who divorce, cite financial debt as a major reason for the split. Before you and your intended seal the deal, have an honest dialogue about how much each of you owes on student loans. Can you afford to marry and still pay them off? If not, can you get payments reduced or postponed? Remember that a defaulted student loan lowers your credit score significantly, critically impacting your ability to get a mortgage or find a car loan.
2. Does your partner have a lead foot?
The science of statistics can be tedious, but it tells us this: Over 37 thousand people die in car crashes each year in the United States. Couples are less open about their past driving records than about their past love affairs. You’ve got to sit down with your fiance to work out how much past driving indiscretions are going to affect your car insurance payments. Don’t be afraid to shop around to see about getting lower combined rates — that’s what the Internet is for.
3. How many children will you have?
Social science studies show that American women have fewer children during marriage. There are various reasons for this, but the bottom line is that unless you plan on adopting, the two of you have to agree ahead of time about this tremendous economic responsibility. Leaving it to chance is foolish. Today the birth of a child in a hospital will run about $10,000. Add to that the cost of diapers, food, vaccinations, and so on, and the bills start to run very high indeed.
4. Synchronized Sleep Patterns Bring Satisfaction
In a 2010 study, published in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine, University of Pittsburgh researchers followed 29 heterosexual couples for a week, showed that couples who went to sleep and woke up at the same time reported higher satisfaction in their marriages. Couples on the same sleep schedules have less conflict, participate in more shared activities, have sex more often, and participate in deeper conversation than those couples who are not on the same sleep schedules.
5. Where will you start out your married life?
A scientific poll on BabyCenter.com of 252 recently married couples shows the vast majority are vigorously opposed to living with their parents or in-laws after the marriage. So although it’s a great way to save money for a down payment on your own house or a deposit on a decent apartment, it isn’t a very popular option with couples today. Make sure, though, to hash it out prior to tying the knot. And if your significant other is already living back at home, what does that tell you about him or her? Is he or she just trying to save money . . . or are there deeper issues that need to be brought out into the light of day?
6. Can you laugh it up?
Modern research indicates that people with a robust sense of humor will have fewer symptoms of physical illness than those who ignore a sense of the ridiculous in life, love and marriage. Dr. Leslie Parrott writes that, “A daily dose of laughter is like a vitamin pill for your marriage. It is a healthy habit all married couples should enjoy.” So how easy is it for you and your intended to raise a chuckle together? If your relationship is always intense and serious . . . try wearing a flower in your lapel that squirts water and see what happens!
7. The more you make love, the less you’ll worry
When you and your partner are dyed-in-the-wool worrywarts, participating in an active sex life will boost your sense of well-being. In fact, published research in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science claims that neurotic newlyweds who had a lot of sex were just as happy with their marriages as couples who tested as less neurotic. So the bottom line is lovemaking is scientifically proven to lessen stress — men have ALWAYS known that!
8. Watch your mouth!
Before your marriage, it may have bothered you if friends constantly referred to themselves as “we” or “us,” but it turns out that, when you get married, using couple-focused words like “we,” “our,” and “us” when involved in a conflict can actually produce more affection, less anger, and has lowered psychological stress levels during the disagreement; this is according to a study printed in the journal Psychology and Aging. Also, using words like “I,” “me,” and “you” during an argument is linked to marital dissatisfaction. So watch those pronouns!
Featured photo credit: artisticfilms via pixabay.com