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What is the best way to prevent a divorce?

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What really predicts whether your marriage will last or not?

As it turns out, there are a lot of small predictors that can tell you if a marriage is more likely than not to end in divorce.

If you want your marriage to last, this is what you should do:

Date at least three years

Dating for three years or more can drop your chances of getting a divorce by 39 percent over couples that are only together under a year. Even dating for a year or two will reduce your chances of divorcing later by 20 percent.

Buy a moderately priced engagement ring

If you spend less than $2,000 on your engagement ring, your odds of staying together are higher than if you splurge.

Look at your combined income before you leap

Wealth isn’t everything, but a comfortable combined income can make the bumps in life easier to endure. Those with the least income (under $25,000 a year are the most likely to divorce). Those couples making just $25,000 – $50,000 per year are 31 percent less inclined to split. Bump the income up to $125,000 per year and you’re 51 percent less likely to need a divorce attorney.

Skip church altogether or attend it regularly

People who only occasionally attend religious services are 10 percent more inclined to divorce than those who never attend church. Those who attend regularly, are 46 percent less likely to part ways with their spouse.

Have a wedding, but make it reasonably-priced

If you elope and get married without anyone in attendance, you’re 35 percent more apt to divorce than a couple that has even a few people there. The presence of friends and family may give a couple much-needed emotional support. In fact, the larger the wedding, the more likely you’ll stay hitched.

However, perversely enough, the more your wedding costs, the higher the chances that you’ll divorce. Keep costs below $10,000 no matter how many people you invite.

Overall, the takeaway from recent studies is this: the more thought and planning that goes into your marriage and future — including a conservative eye toward financial stability — the happier you’ll be. This contradicts the message from the wedding industry in general, which has posited the idea that an “average” wedding should cost around $30,000 — and that doesn’t include the rings.

Source: The Atlantic, “The Divorce-Proof Marriage,” Olga Khazan, accessed March 22, 2018

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