Studies have shown that there are some risk factors that can increase the likelihood that a marital couple will divorce. Some of them cannot be changed. Other risk factors, can be changed if the couple decides to address them together and improve their marriage.
Ignoring problems does not make them go away. Many couples do not want to address their problems because it can be anxiety provoking to face them head on. However, when problems are not addressed, they tend to get worse and the worse they get, the harder they are to resolve.
Some risk factors for divorce that cannot be changed after you are married include:
- Having parents who are divorced
- Living together before marriage
- Marrying at a young age
- Financial hardships
- Being previously divorced or marrying someone who has been divorced
- Having children from previous relationships
- Short courtship prior to marriage
- Different religious beliefs
If you and your spouse have several of these risk factors, don’t despair. It doesn’t mean that divorce is inevitable. It does mean that you should be aware that you are at a higher risk level for divorce.
There are some risk factors that couples can address. Some of those risk factors include:
- Difficulty working together as a team
- Unrealistic expectations about marriage
- Negative styles of talking and resolving conflict
- Difficulty communicating
- Not practicing spiritual beliefs together
- A low commitment level to the marriage
These risk factors can be addressed within the relationship. Focus on what you can change instead of what you cannot change. It is important to evaluate your relationship to determine what areas are of concern.
Once you recognize what sorts of risk factors you can change, it is important to develop a plan. How can you and your spouse work on addressing these issues? Are you able to talk about these problems together?
There are lots of different ways a couple can work on their relationship. Self-help resources such as books or seminars can be helpful to couples who are committed toward working hard together. Couples therapy can be helpful to couples who struggle with overcoming barriers to change. Individual therapy can be helpful when there are psychological problems or when one partner refuses to make changes.