It is disheartening to look at the sad statistics these days when it comes to the divorce rate compared with the number of actual successful marriages. As a divorce and relationship coach for women, I hear time and time again from my clients how they essentially jumped into marriage only to realize later in those same marriages, that there were so many things they wished they had known before they said I do.
This is true even for my female clients who got married after living with their partner for a significant amount of time. One can reasonably conclude that knowing your husband-to-be as much as you can from having lived with him prior to getting married still isn’t enough.
Granted hindsight is always 20/20, but in my work as a divorce and relationship coach, I have noticed approximately 7 things that I consistently hear my female clients say during coaching sessions that they wished they had known before walking down the aisle.
Here are 7 critical things to know before getting married:
1. The realities of a real marriage
Too many women buy into the hype perpetuated by society and the media that marriage is a fairy tale with a happy ending. This can even happen to intelligent and highly successful women. They then realize (usually after it’s too late) that they’ve entered into something far more serious than a fairy tale.
2. Why knowing yourself is important
Too many women get married before they really understand who they are. That is not helpful when they suddenly have to take on the added task of understanding another person who is a big part of their lives.
3. The importance of waiting
These are the women who felt pressured into getting married before they were completely ready. They realize later on that they really weren’t truly in love with the person they married.
4. The role your in-laws will play in your marriage
Some women are blindsided by how much their husbands are influenced by their own parent’s view of marriage and what is like. That is not always a good situation for a marriage.
5. How bad behavior can get worse
This is common among the women who always made excuses for the bad behavior of their future husbands prior to marrying them. Surprisingly, they couldn’t believe that they were unable to change this behavior once they got married.
6. How money works in a marriage
Many of my female divorce clients are astounded at how capable they are at handling money when they are forced to do so after they’ve officially separated from their husbands and gotten divorced.
Once they are back out on their own again, they realize that they made themselves dependent on their husbands by not taking an active part in handling the finances jointly while married. Women should always know what’s going on with finances in their marriage.
7. What it takes to make a marriage succeed
There really is no real magic formula to this one. In fact, what works for one family may not work for another one. This is something that all couples must figure out for themselves over time. It is really a matter of trial and error, and if you ask at least 20 different couples, chances are, you will get 20 different answers. Essentially, if you discover that one thing doesn’t work, then try something else.
Granted, knowing the answers to all of the above won’t guarantee a successful and happy marriage. However, it is very possible that being more familiar with them will give you an edge that others don’t have. The biggest rule when it comes to having a good marriage is to never ignore any doubts that you might have.
If you don’t feel 100% that you’re ready to get married, then for heaven’s sake DON’T, and please, don’t let anyone else talk you into getting married before you are truly ready.
Aaron Kaplan is a Coach Training Alliance-Certified Coach (CTA-CC), Certified Prepare-Enrich Facilitator, and CDC Certified Divorce Coach, who also happens to be an ordained member of the clergy.