Marriage is wonderful when you are with a partner who is loving, caring, supportive, and makes you happy. But it takes two people to make a marriage work, and sometimes you might be unknowingly doing things that cause harm to your once happy union. There also may be some things you're not doing in your marriage that can increase your chances of divorce. As if there wasn't enough pressure post-wedding, right?
According to TIME, the factors that tell you if a marriage will last come down to your relationship, financial situation, and family history. Factors like whether you lived together beforehand and how much money you make as a couple can influence whether or not your marriage will last, and you have very little control over these outside factors. What you can control, however, are things like sharing chores and how you treat each other on a daily basis.
Caring about your marriage and its direction is important. Good communication about your wants, needs, and expectations is just one way to make things work. Read on learn about other factors that could be influencing your marriage in a negative way and what you might unintentionally be doing to increase your risk of divorce.
1. You Don't Live In A Blue State
According to The Daily Beast, you are 27 percent more likely to get divorced if you live in a red state than if you live in a blue state. This may be because those in red states traditionally marry younger, which is riskier for the marriage.
2. You Don't Have A Short Commute
A Swedish study has shown that couples are 50 percent more likely divorce if at least one partner was working far from home, likely due to the stress you feel from the long drive home and having less time to connect with your partner every day.
3. You Don't Pay Down Your Debts
A University of Virginia study found that if you fight about money once a week, your marriage is 30 percent more likely to end in divorce. The same University of Virginia study also found that couples who don't pay off their debts or take on new ones have a dramatic increase in marital unhappiness. Additionally, if one person in a marriage is a big spender (and the other one isn't), a couple is 45 percent more likely to get divorced.
4. You Don't Pay Attention To Your Health
According to Woman's Day, you need to have good mental health in order to focus on strengthening your relationship with your partner. For instance, marriage doesn't fix mental health — but if you focus on improving your own health, it can improve your marriage. Additionally, research from the University of Chicago found that a husband who has an "agreeable personality" and is in good health is crucial to relationship longevity in older couples.
5. You Don't Connect Lovingly Every Day
Connecting lovingly with your spouse every single day can prevent divorce, according to the website for The Today Show. Not spending at least 15 minutes a day together can lead to slowly growing apart, which is a top cause of divorce, according to the aforementioned Woman's Day article.
6. You Don't Want To Quit Smoking
Being a smoker who is with a non-smoker can spell big trouble for your marriage. A study conducted by the Australian National University found that couples were 76 to 95 percent more likely to get divorced if one of them smoked and refused to quit. And unfortunately for women, the chance is higher if the wife is the smoker.
7. You Don't Share Chores
According to a study from the London School of Economics, there is less stress in a marriage when both partners contribute to housework, childcare, and shopping. The study, which observed male-female marriages, found that if both partners had jobs and the husband contributed minimally to the household, the risk of divorce almost doubled.
8. You Don't Work On Your Communication Skills
According to the Cornell Marriage Advice Project, the largest in-depth study ever done of people in longtime marriages, most marital problems can be solved through open communication. If you are a bad communicator and aren't willing to improve your skills in order to talk with your partner, your marriage may be in trouble.
9. You Don't Love In The Way They Want To Be Loved
You might think that red roses are the perfect gift, but to your spouse they might represent a waste of money and an allergy attack. If you don't agree on the ways in which you want to be loved and neither of you is responding to the way each other loved, that could be a problem, according to the aforementioned Today Show article. If you're not providing your partner with the kind of love they require and visa versa, you could have serious miscommunication issues and end up arguing over nothing. Instead, work on discovering your and your partner's love language so that you can give each other the kind of love each of you truly needs.
10. You Don't Curb Your Alcohol Consumption
One of the factors that may lead to divorce is if one of you is a heavier drinker than the other or, even worse, if there are addiction issues in your marriage. A Norwegian study found that couples who drank very little had a better chance of staying together, while the divorce rate tripled when the wife was a heavier drinker than her husband.
11. You Don't Spend Time With Happily Married Friends
According to CNN, studies conducted on "social contagion" have shown that if you have a divorced sibling, you are 22 percent more likely to get divorced. But it's not just family that affects couples, divorces of friends and even friends of friends can have an impact on your own marriage.
12. You Don't Have Sex Anymore
Research from the American Sociological Association has shown that when married women seek affairs, they do so because they are lacking in sex and romantic passion in their own marriages. That doesn't mean you should force yourself into intimacy that you're not craving. But if you're not wanting to have sex with your partner, that may mean your marriage is suffering from other troubles you need to address.
13. You Don't Spend Time Together — Or Apart
It's important to be able to spend time with your spouse, but you have to be able to spend time apart too, according to the previously mentioned article from The Today Show. Happy long-term marriages result because spouses regularly do things together that they find fun and exciting.
All that said, you don't have to love everything that your partner loves, and it's important to pursue hobbies outside of your marriage that interest only you. Allowing each other to have time apart will strengthen your marriage because neither of you will feel suffocated or limited to only what your spouse enjoys.
14. You Don't Plan To Buy A Home Together
The economy hasn't recovered from the recession, which makes it difficult for some couples to make long-term future plans. If, however, you don't plan on buying a house, then that might be a sign that you aren't willing to commit to one another and build a future together, according to The Spruce.
15. You Don't Admit When You Are Wrong
If you have a problem admitting that you are wrong when fighting with your spouse, that could mean disaster for your marriageResearcher John Gottman claims that the "kiss of death" for a marriage is contempt and seeing your partner as beneath you. You need to be able to admit to your mistakes and, most importantly, compromise.
16. You Don't Make Happiness A Priority
Have you ever heard the phrase "happy wife, happy life"? It turns out that it might actually be true. A study conducted by Rutgers University found that the more satisfied the wife is in the marriage, the "happier the husband is with his life no matter how he feels about their nuptials." It seems that making happiness a priority in your marriage, especially your own happiness, might be the key to a lasting union.
17. You Don't Say "I Love You" Every Day
According to the aforementioned article from The Today Show, saying "I love you" every day (even on days when you don't quite mean it and have to force the words) is an important part of warming both your and your spouse's hearts and keeping the two of you connected. Reinforcing your bond daily strengthens your relationship for the long-haul.
18. You Don't Treat Marriage Like A Lifelong Commitment
According to the aforementioned Woman's Day article, divorce sometimes comes because you don't treat marriage like the lifelong commitment it should be. The gerontologist behind the Cornell Marriage Advice Project, Karl Pillemer, said that both spouses must have a "mindset [that marriage] is a profound commitment to be respected, even if things go sour over the short term." Otherwise, the voluntary partnership can end when the passion dies.