Psychologists have found ways to predict if a couple will go the distance. Learn from their research.
Step 1: Take notice of how you treat each other. Happily married couples say five nice things to and about each other for every one negative exchange.
TIP: Researchers have found that if a woman rolls her eyes when her fiance is talking, it's a huge red flag.
Step 2: Rate your sense of humor. If you find the same things funny and laugh a lot, that can keep you laughing into old age together.
Step 3: Check if you and your betrothed present a united front. If one of you says "I" more than "we" it could signal a lack of readiness to give up single life.
TIP: The chance of a couple ending up in divorce court is greater if the man scores low in the "we" test.
Step 4: Consider your "how we met" story. Are your respective answers short or long? Romantic or ho-hum? Told with affection or not? Couples who are expansive when recounting their stories have a better chance of living happily ever after.
Step 5: Critique your fights. If either of you has a tendency to escalate conflicts, that's a bad sign. If the male partner responds to conflict by withdrawing from the argument, that's even worse.
TIP: Fighting itself is not linked to divorce; the key is to handle disagreements calmly and respectfully most of the time.
Step 6: Consider other factors that increase the risk of divorce, like getting married under the age of 25, lacking higher education, earning a low income, having different religions, and coming from a broken home. The fewer of those categories you fall into, the better your chance of marital harmony.
Step 7: Know that you have the power to determine your future. Now that you've learned the behaviors and attitudes that can lead to divorce, you don't necessarily need to call the whole thing off; take steps to adjust them.
FACT: In a 1946 poll, people said the ideal marrying age for a woman was 21; a 2006 survey pegged the ideal age at 25.