Divorce Risk Factors

The Risk of Divorce Quiz evaluates marriages based on 13 divorce risk factors that have been found to be significant in predicting if a marriage might be more likely to divorce than the average.

The higher the number of risk factors present in a relationship the more likely the marriage is to be at risk of divorce.  This does not necessarily mean that divorce is inevitable but, rather, means that the husband and wife may have to be more diligent in their efforts to solve problems and keep the marriage together.  A couple contemplating marriage would be very wise to determine how they will overcome the risk factors before entering into marriage.  Good communication and problem solving skills help in all relationships.

Marriage requires more than love

Marriage is complex.  Marital satisfaction and marital longevity are determined by the complex interactions of two different individuals within a relationship that is set in a challenging world.  We come into marriages with our own filters, backgrounds, baggage and ways of seeing life.  These are sometimes incompatible with what our partner brings and sometimes get in the way of creating a sustainable relationship that gives each individual what they need to be fulfilled and happy.  The challenge is to build each other up while having a self-fulfilling life as well.  As Antoine de Saint Exupery said, “Love does not consist in gazing at each other but in looking together in the same direction.”

Marital success is built on a foundation of many factors including compatibility, shared principles and values, good communication skills, good problem solving skills, a commitment to working through problems, honesty, respect, understanding, kindness and love.

Risk factors for divorce

The Risk of Divorce Quiz may be used like a checklist to see which factors a relationship might have and to allow the parties to do something to reduce those risks.  Take the quiz to see which factors you might have and what they are based on.  Here is a list of the 13 behavioral and historical factors examined in this quiz:

  1. Age difference between husband and wife
  2. Age at marriage
  3. Parent’s history of divorce
  4. Premarital cohabitation
  5. Smoking
  6. Drinking
  7. History of previous divorce
  8. Children
  9. Desire to have (more) children
  10. Religious beliefs
  11. Financial status
  12. Satisfaction with life
  13. Satisfaction with marriage partner

Beating the odds of divorce

Choose your marriage partner carefully.  Opposites may attract but these risk factors and others demonstrate that differences can increase the risk of divorce.  Make sure you share key morals, values and principles.  When in doubt slow down – do not rush into marriage.  The original purpose of the one-year engagement was to give the pair a chance to get to know each other better, to change their minds if necessary and not just to make the arrangements for a ceremony.

Educate yourself and your marriage partner with the skills that are required to act in a loving and supportive way in a relationship.  Good relationships do not happen by accident and even those that start with a “happy accident” are only successful in the long term with dedication and a joint commitment to success.  People change and grow and their relationships must change and grow with them.

If you are in a distressed marriage take action.  It probably took time to get to this situation so it may take time to work out of it.  Educate yourself with resources such as those on this site, get relationship skills training (especially communication skills), and get professional counseling.  If you are in an abusive relationship get help immediately.  Consider divorce as a last resort after you have done the work to make the relationship better.

What’s love got to do with it?

Love brings us together.  Love creates families and our future.  As much as love is a beginning, it is not the only requirement for sustaining a marriage.  Love, in fact, must be nurtured, maintained and practiced like an art to keep growing and alive.  Love must not be left to itself.  Take the Risk of Divorce Quiz.  A good marriage is far more than compatibility and love.