Signs you May be Entering or are in a Bad Marriage


Signs you May be Entering or are in a Bad Marriage

When you see a disaster is eminent, the best plan is to get out before it’s too late. After that, it’s all triage. Nowhere else is this truer than when entering into a bad marriage—the consequences of which can follow you for years. Sometimes we’re blinded by love. At other times, something arises that cannot be reconciled. Either way, when the divorce is final, we often look for easy things to blame. We feel confused, overwhelmed, hurt and angry. But usually there are many things that lead to the decline and dissolution of such a relationship. Enjoy love but keep on the lookout for important warning signs. You may be able to duck a bad situation or likely recognize when your relationship is heading south. Do you remember your first fight? Few couples do. Well, maybe some women do. In any case, lots of couples fight about the same things, money being the topmost issue, confirmed in several studies. But if you start fighting about money early on, say as you’re boarding the plane on the way to your honeymoon, the marriage could be in trouble. That’s according to research out of Kansas State University. That’s because arguments about money early on affected the marriage even years later. Fighting about money was the “top predictor for divorce” regardless of socio-economic status or income level.

If you got married by an Elvis impersonator in Las Vegas at the spur of the moment, surprise–you might not make it. But if you dated for three years before deciding to get married, you have a 39% less likelihood of seeing the inside of a divorce court, according to researchers out of Emory University. Couples who dated for three years had far better odds than those who dated for less than a year. Are you both teetotalers? Or perhaps you both like to party until the wee hours. If you’re drinking habits diverge sharply, your relationship might soon too, so say University of Buffalo researchers. If one spouse drank heavily, the couple was more likely to get divorced. But the same results weren’t true when both partners tipped the glass often. Apparently, it’s the mismatch rather than the habit that causes strife.

Did you two talk about a prenup before marriage? If so, you are more than likely to keep your money when you two go your separate ways. That’s because the longevity of the marriage isn’t the utmost concern to both parties. Couples that don’t share a bank account are 145% more likely to divorce, says the National Center for Family and Marriage Research. The reason is financial generosity and sharing is conducive to marriage. It makes you a unit. Keeping things for yourself and separate is not, though of course we all need some individuality. Still, complete separateness denotes something. How much did you blow on the wedding? Some events seem to cost more than a mortgage nowadays. But one Emory University study found that the more you spend on the wedding, the less likely you will have staying power. That’s because spending more gave each elevated expectations for the marriage. When you aren’t ready for problems when they inevitably strike, there are no coping strategies set aside to deal with them. Those who coughed up $20,000 or more were 3.5 times more likely to divorce than those who spent $5,000-$10,000. Social networking sites have us all interconnected. They influence us more than we think. In fact, one study published in “Social Forces” Journal found that if a friend or neighbor got divorced, that person was 75% more likely to get divorced themselves. For ways to make you marriage strong whether entering into or already in the thick of it read, The Marriage Guide Book: How to Make Your Marriage Thrive by Vanessa Pagan.

The Most Expensive Weddings Lead to the Shortest Marriages


The Most Expensive Weddings Lead to the Shortest Marriages

The price on weddings has risen significantly in recent years. So-called “normal” couples today incorporate detailed websites, photo booths and giant ice sculptures into their marriages, and even throw weekend-long events. The industry likes to marry the idea of love and commitment with how much is spent. But although most of us scour the plan looking for ways of saving a few dollars, some wish money was no object. They secretly drool over celebrity-style affairs in exotic locales, taking place in lavish venues where so many luxuries abound their guests’ heads spin. We dream of becoming a part of what looks like modern day royalty. But be careful what you wish for. All of that style may be hiding a lack of substance, according to a study out of Emory University. You would think those who shell out the most mean it the most. But this study found the opposite to be true. The most expensive weddings lead to the shortest marriages. Two economics professors came to this conclusion. They also found that the higher the price-tag for the engagement ring, the greater the likelihood of divorce.

3,000 participants, married only one time, took part in this study. They found that those men who spent $500 to $2,000 were 1.3 times less likely to get divorced than those who spent $2,000 and $4,000. Those who spent $5,000 to $10,000 on the wedding were 3.5 times less likely to get divorced than those who shelled out over $20,000. In an email to Big Think researchers wrote, “Advertising has fueled the norm that spending large amounts on the engagement ring and wedding is an indication of commitment or is helpful for a marriage to be successful.” Though they’ve found a correlation, determining causation is far trickier. The economists surmise that such a big event inflates the expectations of the marriage. The couple is enchanted into the notion that things are going to be easy from here on out. Both parties have unrealistic expectations which undermine reconciliation when the couple hits a stumbling block. Those who have a more moderately priced affair have a level-headed view and so are ready when the inevitable difficulties arise.

No matter how much you plunk down for your wedding, there are some qualities that can be sustained by both parties to give the marriage the best chance of success. The first is to focus on the positive rather than the negative. There are little things that will inevitably drive you crazy. But if you can remember how supportive and understanding they are, you can perhaps overlook the hair they leave in the shower drain or that they are never once on-time. Invest in your relationship. This could be time, energy or thoughtfulness. But you get out of a marriage what you put into it. Communicate clearly and make sure you understand what your spouse has said or is saying. Lots of fights boil down to miscommunication. Fight smart. If you hurt your partner but win the argument, have you really won? Learn to let the little things go. And find ways to increase your closeness and strengthen your bond. For more on how to achieve marital success read, Strong Marriage, Happy Life: The Core Principles of a Successful Marriage and How to Make Your Marriage Work by Sonya Dawson.

Harsh but True Reasons not to Have Kids


Harsh but True Reasons not to Have Kids

Everyone knows all the good reasons to have children. From carrying on the family name, to bringing a completely new life into the world, to seeing the most beautiful parts of your partner and you developing in a new human being, it can be a pretty incredible experience. Lots of people get caught up in these lofty ideas however and ignore the harsh reality, the sad but true reasons many people chose not to have kids. One reason is that they are so expensive. You can go broke trying to pay for a child. One study found that having a child in America in the end costs the same as a new home. If you and your sweetie are barely squeaking out a living consider the cost before having a baby.

A psychological reason is that you will likely cause some sort of trauma to the child, like it or not, that you and they will have to live with for the rest of their lives. No one is perfect. And in fact the harder you try to be the perfect parent the more overbearing you’ll be, and the more likely to hurt your child. In this, a lot of children grow up to resent their parents. So you put all of your time, money and energy into someone who grows up to resent you? How is that even close to fair?

If you are planning to have a prosperous career or follow your passion, your energy won’t be on your kids. Likewise if you are too career minded your kids will suffer. It’s hard to have complete focus and energy on something. But when your energy is so separated than you can’t throw everything you have into something and see the most success. Another problem, you won’t have any privacy anymore, at least until they move out. And the way this economy is going that can be decades later. Everything will have to be planned around your kids. Your life as you know it will cease to exist. You can’t exactly have a life of your own anymore.

Your kid will act poorly at some point, even the best behaved. It will reflect poorly on you. Yet you will still be required to love your child. Certainly it’s important to evaluate your desire, maturity level, and the desire and the maturity level of your partner, and even your financial and living situation before deciding to have children. You have to be ready to give your everything to them. Your first concern has to be them, or else they won’t turn out right and everything will come crashing down. Certainly there are no perfect parents. If it’s the right path for you, you just have to try your best. For more advice read, Complete Without Kids: An Insider’s Guide to Childfree Living by Choice or by Chance by Ellen L. Walker, Ph.D.

The Bigger your Engagement Ring the More Likely you are to Divorce


The Bigger your Engagement Ring the More Likely you are to Divorce

The old yardstick is a man should spend a month’s salary on the engagement ring. Some women sure do go ga-ga over that big, beautiful, expensive, sparkly ring. Others find the ring beside the point. No one exactly has come out and said that the larger the ring, the more he loves her. Who would dare? That would be in poor taste, would it not? But De Beers sure seems to hint at it hard enough.

Researchers at Emory University, however, found that the opposite was true. The bigger, gaudier, and indeed more expensive the ring was, the more likely the couple was to divorce, the study found. That great symbolic thing may be setting the expectations for the marriage a bit too high. Two economists, Andrew M. Francis and Hugo M. Mialon, conducted the study. 3,000 once married heterosexual couples participated. The aim researchers wrote was to, “evaluate the association between wedding spending and marriage duration.” How much was spent on the wedding was indirectly related to how long the marriage lasted. Those who spent between $2,000 and $4,000 on an engagement ring were 1.3 times more likely to get divorced, as compared to those who had spent between $500 and $2,000.

It wasn’t only the engagement ring they looked into. The professors investigated the price tag for the wedding to see if there was any correlation. Turns out there was. Those whose weddings were over $20,000 were 3.5 times more likely to get divorced, than those whose weddings cost in the $5,000 to $10,000 range. Those who had modest weddings had the best rate of stay-together-ness. “Relatively low spending on the wedding is positively associated with duration among male and female respondents,” researchers noted.

Another interesting find, “In the sample of all persons, greater differences in age and education between husband and wife and reporting that one’s partner’s looks were important in the decision to marry are both significantly associated with a higher hazard of divorce. On the other hand, relatively high household income, regularly attending religious services, having a child with one’s partner, relatively high wedding attendance, and going on a honeymoon are all significantly associated with a lower hazard of divorce.” The first part makes sense. If you married someone at least partly for their looks, and marriage is a long-term arrangement, one must know that their looks will fade eventually. In the second half of the statement, it seems a lot of strong community and familial connections helps keep couples together. It also seems that these types of couples have a lot in common, which helps too.

Of course, this research didn’t establish a causal relationship. A high priced wedding or engagement ring doesn’t cause a divorce. These scenarios merely indicated a correlation or a higher likelihood. Of course there are those who paid a low price for the engagement ring, who pray for divorce, as well as happily married, rich couples. If you have fallen head over heels with someone, regardless of their net worth or how much they are willing to spend, if your relationship is sitting on a foundation of trust, love, affection, mutual respect and good communication, chances are the marriage will be strong, and will last.

It seems like common sense to most of us that if your marriage is based on primarily superficial concerns, chances are it doesn’t have that deep well of strength needed to overcome the difficult times that inevitably rock any marriage. It doesn’t matter how much you spend on your wedding or the ring. What really matters is how you feel about one another, how you get along, and if you can both do what it takes to make the marriage last. Making things work is something you can’t buy with money. Only patience, love, and understanding can do that. For more on this topic, pick up a copy of, What Makes Love Last?: How to Build Trust and Avoid Betrayal by John Gottman, Ph.D. and Nan Silver.

Don’t go for the Aggressive Attorney when Divorcing


Don’t go for the Aggressive Attorney when Divorcing

When we are hurt, or worried about assets or child custody, we may consider getting an aggressive attorney to try and safeguard our interests. It may even go beyond that. You could be hurt, and lashing out in revenge. Whatever your reasoning, don’t consider an aggressive attorney. If you think hiring a “pit bull” lawyer is going to help you, think again. The trouble is those “fighter” attorneys are just argumentative. They may be brash, pushy, arrogant, and rearing for a fight, but that doesn’t mean the judge is going to respect them. In fact, just the opposite may be true. Now, who you thought would be a good advocate turns out to be a liability. If the judge is biased against your attorney, it could definitely impact the case. Another issue is billing. These types of lawyers want to make as much as possible. That means billing you for as many hours as they can. Even if they have lower rates, they could get you in legal fees. Another consideration is the more issues you have to fight over the more expensive it is going to be. So a “pit bull” may drum up trouble just to pocket more of your money. It also means, the more your side fights, the more the other side has to. Lots of money gets siphoned away in bickering and legal proceedings, as a result. The marital estate dwindles, bad news for both of you.

If both attorneys are belligerent “fighters” this could further prolong matters. There is one thing you can say about divorce; those involved never cease to find ways to suck away your money. There are even attorney fee contributions to make things level, should your ex have less access to funds than you. Sanctions could also force you to pay your spouse, further depleting the estate. Some say aggressive attorneys can be found filing motions that don’t make any sense, and prolong the case in order to make sure they get the most out of it, financially. If you have children, you may be setting a bad atmosphere with your ex in which to co-parent in. The divorce will set the tone moving forward. You might make your ex angrier, so that they are terrible to deal with whenever they come to pick up the kids. Forget it if you want to switch weekends. If you and your ex’s lawyers get into a tit-for-tat situation, there is no way to predict when it might end. A short divorce time is about six months. But there are divorces that drag on for two, three, even five years. At that point both of you just want it over with. You want normalcy. You want a chance to start your life over again. But the longer the divorce is prolonged, the longer you will have to put that time off. Plus all the money you wasted. You wonder if it was worth it.

Seek out an attorney that is going to look after your best interests. It should be someone effective but also level headed. Look for an attorney that wants the divorce to be resolved in a fair and equitable manner. You want someone who will take what is important for you and fight for that. You don’t want someone who just wants to win. One strategy “pit bull” lawyers employ is to make things so expensive, that the other side gives up. But you both lose in this situation. Plus you both come off angry which will set the tone for any future relations, should children be in the mix. You may be bitter and worried that you won’t get the things you need, like custody or child support. But make sure you have someone who is going to do the right thing, not play dirty just to win. Be careful when you go to select an attorney, and don’t be afraid to walk away from one or get a new one, if yours turns out different than you thought. If you believe you have this type of attorney, make the switch sooner rather than later. Good communication, mutual respect and trust are essential to the client-attorney relationship. Look for these traits and your divorce will come off better than you thought. For more legal advice read, The Guide to a Smart Divorce- Experts’ advice for surviving divorce by Kurt Groesser, Jan Parsons, Kim Langelaar, and David Heckenbach Esq.