What’s the best thing about being a newly engaged couple? It’s the excitement you both feel about the future. The decisions you make today will determine how you spend the next several months and years: When do we get married? Where do we want to go on the honeymoon? Where will we live? Will we buy or rent? There are so many things to think about! But the exciting thing is that you get to share those decisions with the one person you love the most. So, while you’re thinking about the future, here’s something else to think about: How will you divorce-proof your marriage to make sure it lasts a lifetime?
Dr. Scott Stanley, a research professor and co-director of the Center for Marital and Family Studies at the University of Denver, shares ways you can plan ahead, lower your risk of divorce, build a strong foundation for your relationship and divorce-proof your marriage. Here are three of his suggestions:
- Are you being realistic about potential problems? Is there something your future spouse is doing that may cause harm later on in your marriage? Scott Stanley puts it this way, “Don’t marry a makeover project.” Sure, you’re newly engaged. You just said yes to the big question. But if you see red flags such as abuse or extreme anger and manipulation, then it’s time to ask some hard questions about the relationship.
- Does your fiance have the same beliefs and values as you do? Dr. Stanley advises people to be clear about the big things they’re looking for in life. For newly engaged couples — especially those who are Christians — agreeing on the basics is important. Where will you attend church? What convictions do you share? How will you grow spiritually as a couple?
- Will you attend premarital counseling? Premarital counseling can help you make wise decisions about your future together as a couple. Dr. Stanley recommends attending premarital counseling as far before a wedding date as possible. The days and weeks leading up to the big day will be packed with decisions — often too many to process thoroughly. Giving your new relationship time to grow is critical to divorce-proofing your marriage. Premarital counseling gives you and your fiance a safe place to talk about the future and discuss how you’ll work together to build a strong marriage.
Next to having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, your marriage is the most important relationship in your life. So, enjoy this time with your fiance. Enjoy looking at houses, wedding invitations and honeymoon destinations. But remember that while your wedding is a one-day event, your marriage lasts a lifetime. Divorce-proof your marriage by building a strong foundation so you can enjoy life with your spouse for years to come.