To Marry or Not To Marry?

— Sarah Abell | www.psychologies.co.uk | September 2015
The Life Lab | experiment


 Psychologists at UCLA found that pre-wedding uncertainty, especially among women, predicts higher divorce rates and less marital satisfaction.  The psychologists studied 464 newlywed spouses within the first few months of marriage, then followed up with them every six months for four years.  When asked, “Were you ever uncertain or hesitant about getting married” at their initial interview, 47 per cent of husbands and 38 per cent of wives said ‘yes’.

While the women were less likely to have pre-wedding doubts, researchers discovered that those who did were more likely to predict trouble after the wedding.  Those who had doubts were two-and-a-half times more likely to divorce four years later than those who didn’t.  And those couples who remained married, but who’d had initial doubts, were significantly less satisfied with their relationships than those who felt more confident before marriage.

Justin Lavner, one of the report’s authors, warns women not to dismiss any doubts, “There’s no evidence that problems in a marriage just go away.  If anything, the problems are more likely to escalate.”

Now Try It Out

Reflect on your doubts to identify your concerns.  If you can’t talk these through with your partner, seek out a trusted friend, coach or therapist.  In ‘The Marriage Book’ (Alpha, £8.99), NIcky and Sila Lee suggest asking yourself these seven questions:-

  1. Do I want to share the rest of my life with this person?
  2. Does our love give me energy and strength, or does it drain me?
  3. Do I respect this person?
  4. Do I accept this person as they are?
  5. Are we able to admit our mistakes, apologise and forgive?
  6. Do we have interests in common as a foundation for friendship?
  7. Have we weathered a variety of situations together?

They also suggest you:

  • Sign up for a marriage preparation course.
  • Don’t just slide into marriage.  Say ‘’yes’’ wholeheartedly.  If you can’t, maybe ‘’no’’ is the best answer for you both in the long run.

 My Comments:

As they say, there is something in having a gut instinct.  If your gut is troubled and telling you ‘’no’’ then perhaps it’s best to listen, dig a little deeper and flesh out why you’re having cold feet.  It is the rest of your life, after all… And it sure isn’t easy to achieve that famous Disney ending: “and they lived happily ever after.”

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