We want to get married. How do we avoid divorce?

Dear Positive Way:  My boyfriend and I have been living together now for about three years.  I’m 25 and he’s 27.  We really love each other a lot and spend a lot of time together but have our own space.  We don’t fight a lot but when we do their pretty difficult.  We never go to bed mad, though.  Do you think we’ve been living together long enough to really know each other well enough to get married now?  We agree that we don’t want to take a chance of getting divorced.   Signed, Loving in Topeka.

Dear Loving:  The good news is that you seem to be able to handle your problems.  You don’t fight very often and when you do you settle them and make up quickly.  That is a very positive sign since problem solving ability can make or break a relationship.  You also appear to have a balance between time together and time for yourselves.  That’s important since you must keep your own identities alive and well while you are in the relationship.  The bad news is that the statistics show that people who live together before they get married have a statistically higher chance of divorce than those who don’t.  You both need solid commitment, problem solving ability, strong communication skills, and a willingness to make the relationship work for the long term to overcome these statistics.  Your best bet is to invest one day in a skills training course such as our “Relate to Create Happiness” (PREP approach) course.  You can find these courses around the world when you visit the PREP, Inc. directory at Preparation and Relationship Enhancement Program (PREP) or the Coalition for Marriage, Family and Couples Education directory from our links page.  These programs are inexpensive and can really be a lot of fun.  Even men enjoy them because they are skills training.

Also take some time and complete the Compatibility and Interest Guide we have created to learn where your differences are and your strengths.