In anticipation of Z Living's upcoming original show Altar'd, premiering in 2017, where a bride- and groom-to-be take on a 90-day fitness challenge to lose weight before walking down the aisle, we're collecting and telling a series of relationship stories. Follow along and check back often!
The stats are scary: About 42% of marriages will end in divorce, according to marriage researchers.
It's a bit nerve-wrecking to develop a long-term relationship knowing that the odds are not in your favor. Those numbers make many think twice about even making the partnership legal; some choose to remain unmarried so they don't have to go through the legal hassle if they ever break up.
But what if you could divorce proof your relationship before marriage?
And what if they were free or relatively cheap? Even better! Here are three things you can do that don't require large investments, but whose returns will reap significant rewards as you go through life together:
Be Open About Money
Money is one of the top reasons cited for divorce
, so reason would suggest that if both of you can agree on budgeting, spending and saving before you walk down the aisle, you'll be better off relationally and financially.
You've probably heard the oft-cited disclaimer, “past performance isn't an predictor of future performance," but it is generally a very good indicator.
If your partner is a spendthrift with hardly any savings to his name, you need to really think how his behavior will affect you one, five and ten years down the road. You might be able to squeak through life with your incomes added together, but add a few kids, car payments and a mortgage to the mix, and life becomes stressful.
Whether or not you combine finances after the honeymoon, it is essential to know where your money is going, you can remedy problems and make savings goals for your future together.
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Attend Premarital Counseling
I grew up thinking counseling was for those who were on the brink of divorce, but as an adult I see how valuable it is to bring a neutral third-party into the discussion, even before problems come up
Premarital counseling, whether with someone from your house of worship or a secular practice, will give you practical advice for making it through the ups and downs of your relationship.
They can bring a different perspective to issues, help you understand your partner's point of view (or vis versa) and even explain challenges that you never even considered in your haste to get hitched.
Religious leaders usually offer premarital counseling for free as part of their ministry or you can get inexpensive secular counseling from counselors who are still in need of the required hours to get licensure.
Also on Z Living: How To Reboot Your Relationship Using Love As Your Guide
Frequent Communication Is Key
As we get comfortable in relationships, we get lazy. We take the knowledge of our future for granted, and we give up date nights and leisurely evening walks that we once did to plan out our futures.
Be intentional about having a regular time to communicate.This could be a quick ten minute phone call while each of your are on your respective commutes or a weekly date over coffee at your favorite shop. Get in the habit early on; finding time becomes difficult as kids come into the picture.
My husband and I use the first 20 minutes after our kids are in bed to get in some kid-free talk time which helps us stay connected even during busy seasons of life.
With these three steps, two of which can be done without spending a cent, and a couple hours a week, you can do wonders for your relationship and feel confident that your "I do" will be till death do you part.
WATCH on Z Living: Altar'd,
where a here a bride- and groom-to-be seperately take on a 90-day fitness challenge to lose weight before their big day -- only to meet up again at the altar.
Stay tuned, Altar'd premieres in January 2017.