Are you about to tie the knot? Want to make sure your marriage goes the distance? Diving into marriage is a big deal, and you should make sure you’re ready. What’s the biggest mistake couples make before they get married… and what’s the best advice for avoiding it?
YourTango Experts Ellen Whitehurst, Maya Ezratti, Jasbina Ahluwalia and Abby Rodman sat down with YourTango Senior VP of Experts, Melanie Gorman to tackle the issue of what really gives a relationship the strength to make it until “happily ever after.”
(00:15): With so many people getting divorced these days, what are the biggest mistakes that couples make before they walk down the aisle?
(00:21): I love that question because that is exactly what I address in my book. What I see couples doing all the time is not vetting each other in the ways that they should. If you were going to start a business with somebody, you would want to know everything you needed to know about that person. Where are they from? How much money do they have? What are they willing to invest? What are the roles going to be before you enter this business?
Couples get married without knowing a lot of these things about each other. I see it all the time in my practice. Women especially come in and say, “I knew when I was walking down the aisle that this was not the right thing to do.” They were just feeling like, “Who is this person I’m about to link my life to?”
(1:18): Abby, how would you vet that? Do you use a questionnaire?
(1:27): It’s interesting because the Catholic Church actually has this pre-marriage inventory. Whether you’re Catholic or not, you can find it online. It’s worth looking at. It has some wonderful questions for any couple thinking about getting married because it delves into how you feel about certain issues. How would you handle certain issues? How do you envision your roles once you get married? So many couples don’t have these conversations.
(1:55): As you all know, I come from the standpoint of my mixed clientele. I have mainstream South Asians based in America. They’re a very family-centered culture. One of the sources of marital conflict that can be quite common, if not vetted ahead of time, is in-law issues. I think, as a family-centered culture, what that means exactly varies tremendously from individual to individual.
What I suggest that our clients do is have conversations, like you said. Ask, “How much family input do you envision us having as a couple with respect to the decisions we’re making post-marriage?” That in and of itself from a cultural perspective is one of the most important issues to talk about. Of course, it’s beyond talking. I think you observe time and interaction. Getting to know someone gives you a lot of information about that, even having a conversation as to what one envisions I think is very important. That’s something I counsel our clients to do.
(3:04): People need to pay attention. People need to be focusing. What you see is what you get. Keep your eyes open. You need to know if your guy or your girl is a buyer beware. If it’s complicated in the beginning, it’s going to be more complicated when you’re married. It doesn’t get easier. Marriage is a commitment. It’s difficult. You’re spending the rest of your life with someone, hopefully. You really want to be able to know you can get through the rough times.
It’s easy to get through the good times with someone, but can you get through the harder times with someone? How much can you stand of that person? It’s so important to vet them out. Girls like to take, not the passive or easy road, but they’ll give a guy a zillion chances. How many chances does he need? Why are you not worth more? Why do you give a guy so many chances to screw up with you?
(3:51): With growth often times comes great change in your relationship as well. It seems to me if you have a baseline mammogram, you’ve got your baseline marriage contract going on. Then when those changes come, for example, we all know children change a relationship a lot. The death of a parent, the loss of a job, there are significant changes that can bring challenges. You need to have an open line of communication but that line needs to be open before the actual challenge occurs.
(4:23): It sounds like digging below the glitter is really the gem of this answer. If couples want to prevent divorce, they really have to know their partners. They have to ask tough questions, dig deep, be honest with their answers and listen to what they hear. That’s the best chance anyone has.
What do you think?
Marriage Advice: Best Advice & Biggest Mistakes – What do you think? Share with us in the comments below.
Other videos by Melanie Gorman are at: Melanie Gorman YourTango Video Interviews – Dating & Relationships