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5 Surprisingly Predictable Ways to Measure Your Risk of Divorce

5 Surprisingly Predictable Ways to Measure Your Risk of Divorce

What separates good marriages from bad marriages? It is true love, never going to bed angry, good communication? Or is it something more… predetermined?

Fear of failure grips many brides and grooms as they approach the altar and say their “I do’s,” particularly children of divorce.

Whether you’ve been married two years or twenty, it’s hard to ignore talk of rising divorce rates – especially when you’ve witnessed it in your own family. But in reality, blanket statements about the risk of divorce have nothing to do with your own marriage.

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If you look closer at several key risk factors, you’ll get an accurate picture of where you might be headed and whether your marriage will stand the test of time – or fall short of what you expected.

1. Your parents divorced before age 10

While it might not come as a surprise that your own parents’ divorce put you at higher risk for divorce, what you might not know is that gender is also a factor. Daughters of divorced parents have a 60% higher divorce rate in marriages than children of non-divorced parents, while sons have a 35% higher divorce rate.

In addition to gender, age plays an important factor as well. As explained at length in Daniel Goleman’s book, “Emotional Intelligence”, the neurons in your brain are formed and strengthened during your first 10 years. These neurons are imprinted by the behavior of the adults that raise you and if your parents divorced during this critical time in your life, you are more susceptible to divorce in your own marriage.

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Did your parents remarry? According to Nicholas Wolfinger, Understanding the Divorce Cycle, Cambridge University Press, 2005 if your parents remarried after divorcing, you are 91% more likely to get divorced yourself.

2. You’ve been divorced once before

Ever heard the saying history repeats? When it comes to marriage and divorce, there’s no denying there’s some truth in that statement when 67% of second marriages and 73% of third marriages end in divorce.

While there are many reasons for this high failure rate, topping the list are people who fail to understand the mistakes from their first marriage and subsequently repeat the same mistakes or marry the same kind of person in their second, third and fourth marriages.

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Additionally, fear of the unknown is no longer a factor for those who have experienced divorce. Men and women who have already gone through a divorce might find that since they’ve handled divorce once, they can do it again. They might even recognize the same warning signs from their first marriage and react quicker in an attempt to minimize the pain and agony their second time around.

3. Your relationship with your father was weak or non-existent

Little is discussed in terms of a mother and father’s role in a child’s development. If you compare the childhood relationship between fathers of notorious dictators and fathers of our most influential leaders, you’ll begin to see a consistent theme:

Strong emotional bond between father and child between ages 1-10 = happy, successful adult.

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When a child’s relationship with his or her father is weak or non-existent, they suffer as adults, particularly if the did not have a strong mother or influential adult in their life.

Look to your own life or those around you. Think of the most happy, successful person you know. How was their relationship with their father between the ages of 1-10? Now think of the most troubled person in your life. Was their father there to support and encourage them as a child or was he “just kind of there” – or non-existent?

4. You cohabitated before marriage

While this statistic may seem straight out of the 1950’s, in addition to being credited for decreasing the number of divorces, cohabitation is still a big risk factor for divorce.  Multiple studies have proven that couples who cohabitate face a 12% higher risk of divorce. There are many theories surrounding this risk factor, from lack of commitment to a greater sense of “self” than “us”.

5. You argue about finances once a week

Money problems are a huge marriage killer. According to Jeffrey Dew, “Bank on It: Thrifty Couples Are the Happiest,” University of Virginia/National Marriage Project/The State of Our Unions, 2009, if you argue about finances once a week, your marriage is 30% more likely to end in divorce than couples who argue less frequently about finances. According to this study, when one spouse earns a significantly higher salary while the other spends an exorbitant amount of money, a divorce can be 45% more likely to occur (as you might expect). Regardless of financial status, setting a budget the two of you can mutually agree upon goes a long way toward building a stronger marriage and fending off divorce.

Featured photo credit: Flickr via flickr.com

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Last Updated on December 3, 2019

10 Life Lessons You’d Better Learn Early on in Life

10 Life Lessons You’d Better Learn Early on in Life

There are so many lessons I wish I had learned while I was young enough to appreciate and apply them. The thing with wisdom, and often with life lessons in general, is that they’re learned in retrospect, long after we needed them. The good news is that other people can benefit from our experiences and the lessons we’ve learned.

Here’re 10 important life lessons you should learn early on:

1. Money Will Never Solve Your Real Problems

Money is a tool; a commodity that buys you necessities and some nice “wants,” but it is not the panacea to your problems.

There are a great many people who are living on very little, yet have wonderfully full and happy lives… and there are sadly a great many people are living on quite a lot, yet have terribly miserable lives.

Money can buy a nice home, a great car, fabulous shoes, even a bit of security and some creature comforts, but it cannot fix a broken relationship, or cure loneliness, and the “happiness” it brings is only fleeting and not the kind that really and truly matters. Happiness is not for sale. If you’re expecting the “stuff” you can buy to “make it better,” you will never be happy.

2. Pace Yourself

Often when we’re young, just beginning our adult journey we feel as though we have to do everything at once. We need to decide everything, plan out our lives, experience everything, get to the top, find true love, figure out our life’s purpose, and do it all at the same time.

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Slow down—don’t rush into things. Let your life unfold. Wait a bit to see where it takes you, and take time to weigh your options. Enjoy every bite of food, take time to look around you, let the other person finish their side of the conversation. Allow yourself time to think, to mull a bit.

Taking action is critical. Working towards your goals and making plans for the future is commendable and often very useful, but rushing full-speed ahead towards anything is a one-way ticket to burnout and a good way to miss your life as it passes you by.

3. You Can’t Please Everyone

“I don’t know the secret to success, but the secret to failure is trying to please everyone” – Bill Cosby.

You don’t need everyone to agree with you or even like you. It’s human nature to want to belong, to be liked, respected and valued, but not at the expense of your integrity and happiness. Other people cannot give you the validation you seek. That has to come from inside.

Speak up, stick to your guns, assert yourself when you need to, demand respect, stay true to your values.

4. Your Health Is Your Most Valuable Asset

Health is an invaluable treasure—always appreciate, nurture, and protect it. Good health is often wasted on the young before they have a chance to appreciate it for what it’s worth.

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We tend to take our good health for granted, because it’s just there. We don’t have to worry about it, so we don’t really pay attention to it… until we have to.

Heart disease, bone density, stroke, many cancers—the list of many largely preventable diseases is long, so take care of your health now, or you’ll regret it later on.

5. You Don’t Always Get What You Want

“Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.” – John Lennon

No matter how carefully you plan and how hard you work, sometimes things just don’t work out the way you want them to… and that’s okay.

We have all of these expectations; predetermined visions of what our “ideal” life will look like, but all too often, that’s not the reality of the life we end up with. Sometimes our dreams fail and sometimes we just change our minds mid-course. Sometimes we have to flop to find the right course and sometimes we just have to try a few things before we find the right direction.

6. It’s Not All About You

You are not the epicenter of the universe. It’s very difficult to view the world from a perspective outside of your own, since we are always so focused on what’s happening in our own lives. What do I have to do today? What will this mean for me, for my career, for my life? What do I want?

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It’s normal to be intensely aware of everything that’s going on in your own life, but you need to pay as much attention to what’s happening around you, and how things affect other people in the world as you do to your own life. It helps to keep things in perspective.

7. There’s No Shame in Not Knowing

No one has it all figured out. Nobody has all the answers. There’s no shame in saying “I don’t know.” Pretending to be perfect doesn’t make you perfect. It just makes you neurotic to keep up the pretense of manufactured perfection.

We have this idea that there is some kind of stigma or shame in admitting our limitations or uncertainly, but we can’t possibly know everything. We all make mistakes and mess up occasionally. We learn as we go, that’s life.

Besides—nobody likes a know-it-all. A little vulnerability makes you human and oh so much more relatable.

8. Love Is More Than a Feeling; It’s a Choice

That burst of initial exhilaration, pulse quickening love and passion does not last long. But that doesn’t mean long-lasting love is not possible.

Love is not just a feeling; it’s a choice that you make every day. We have to choose to let annoyances pass, to forgive, to be kind, to respect, to support, to be faithful.

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Relationships take work. Sometimes it’s easy and sometimes it’s incredibly hard. It is up to us to choose how we want to act, think and speak in a relationship.

9. Perspective Is a Beautiful Thing

Typically, when we’re worried or upset, it’s because we’ve lost perspective. Everything that is happening in our lives seems so big, so important, so do or die, but in the grand picture, this single hiccup often means next to nothing.

The fight we’re having, the job we didn’t get, the real or imagined slight, the unexpected need to shift course, the thing we wanted, but didn’t get. Most of it won’t matter 20, 30, 40 years from now. It’s hard to see long term when all you know is short term, but unless it’s life-threatening, let it go, and move on.

10. Don’t Take Anything for Granted

We often don’t appreciate what we have until it’s gone: that includes your health, your family and friends, your job, the money you have or think you will have tomorrow.

When you’re young, it seems that your parents will always be there, but they won’t. You think you have plenty of time to get back in touch with your old friends or spend time with new ones, but you don’t. You have the money to spend, or you think you’ll have it next month, but you might not.

Nothing in your life is not guaranteed to be there tomorrow, including those you love.

This is a hard life lesson to learn, but it may be the most important of all: Life can change in an instant. Make sure you appreciate what you have, while you still have it.

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Featured photo credit: Ben Eaton via unsplash.com

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