Save Your Marriage Before It Begins

Saving your marriage begins with being prepared prior to marrying your spouse. The best way to do this, in addition to choosing your mate wisely, is to take a premarital preparation course such as the one offered by Dr. D’Arienzo, Jacksonville Psychologist and Relationship Expert. Fortunately we have developed a course that is thorough and practical that offers steps and tools that you can use today to improve your relationship and begin your marriage on the right foot. In addition to taking marriage courses, it is imperative that one continues to learn and read about marriages and relationships just as you would study or practice to become a better athlete or musician. We need the same type of preparation and continued learning when it comes to marriage and being the best partner we can be.

This is a great article from that those considering marrying should read. Our course covers some of these topics and helps prevent problems that may arise early and later in a marriage.

10 things married couples won’t tell you

Published: Nov 1, 2014 9:19 a.m. ET

Chris Sickels


1. Marriage is going out of fashion

As autumn ends, the peak season for weddings in the U.S. is coming to a close. And by some measures, the institution of marriage itself is past its prime.

The percentage of American adults who’ve never gotten married has reached a record high, according to a new analysis of Census data released last month by the Pew Research Center. In 2012, about 20% of adults ages 25 and older (42 million people) had never been married, compared with about 10% of adults in 1960. In 2012, men were more likely than women to have never married (23% versus 17%): And this gender gap has widened since 1960, when 10% of men over 25 and 8% of women had never gotten hitched.

There are plenty of explanations for the nuptial drop-off: More people are undertaking college-level education and staying there longer; they’re focusing on their careers after they graduate, and getting married later in life. The median age for getting married is now 27 for women and 29 for men, up from 20 for women and 23 for men in 1960, according to a separate Pew analysis. Economic factors and more liberal attitudes toward cohabiting couples have also contributed, the report found.

Others say couples in modern marriages are making better choices. “Marriage today is about shared passions,” says Justin Wolfers, professor of economics and public policy at the University of Michigan, and co-author of the 2007 paper, “Marriage and Divorce: Changes and their Driving Forces.” “Today, we marry someone who we have a lot in common with and that ‘opposites attract’ rule no longer works.”

Of course, there’s one group among whom marriage is on the rise: Same-sex couples. Ten years ago, Massachusetts became the first state to legalize gay marriage; today, 32 states and the District of Columbia recognize it, with several other states expected to soon follow suit. The number of married same-sex couples has increased more than 50% over the past three years, to about 130,000 in 2013, according to the Williams Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles, School of Law.


‘I now pronounce you prenuptially indemnified.’

 2. We planned our divorce before our wedding

In a survey of 1,600 members of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, some 63% of attorneys said they’ve seen an increase in the number of clients seeking prenuptial agreements. Protection of property that was owned by one spouse before the marriage was the most popular stipulation of the prenups the lawyers saw (80%), followed by alimony/spousal maintenance (77%) and division of all property bought during the marriage (72%).

Eve Helitzer, a matrimonial attorney with Davidoff Hutcher & Citron LLP in New York City, says that because people are marrying later, they’ve often accumulated significant assets by the time they wed, making a prenup more desirable. What’s more, they may want to keep the family business out of reach of a future spouse in the event of a divorce, Helitzer says. Rising property prices may also encourage people to consider signing a prenup.

Discussing financials is a sign of a strong partnership, Helitzer says. A couple that is secretive about assets or only brings up a prenup a few months before the wedding could be headed for trouble: “I would hope they discuss this prior to getting engaged, but I know that’s an unrealistic expectation.”

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No $30,000 wedding is complete without an outrageous tiered cake.

3. Our wedding may break the bank for us…

The wedding industry is worth $50 billion a year, according to research firm IBISWorld. And small wonder: The average cost of a wedding in the U.S. rose to $29,858 in 2014, according to a survey of nearly 20,000 brides by wedding website That’s the highest level ever, up 11% from 2011. The figure includes averages of nearly $13,000 on a venue (including food), over $5,500 on an engagement ring and $2,400 on a photographer — it also excludes the cost of a honeymoon.

With couples marrying later, they’re more likely to be spending their own money, says Ummu Bradley Thomas, an etiquette specialist and founder of the Freddie Bell Jones Modeling & Finishing School in Denton, Md. “Brides and grooms no longer have to stick to mom and dad’s budget and be grateful for how the wedding turns out,” Bradley Thomas says. “They now not only have more of a say in their own weddings, they actively plan how they want to experience it.”

Not everyone sees that as an unadulterated good, of course. In “A Diamond is Forever and Other Fairy Tales” a paper released in September, two economics professors from Emory University say the wedding train is out of control. Five decades ago, brides’ magazines recommended that couples set aside two months to prepare for their wedding, they write. These days, those same magazines recommend at least 12 months of preparation for the big day.

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When newlyweds party like Kimye, the guests pay dearly.

4.…and it might break the bank for you, too

The more couples that want to have weddings like Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, the more poor schmos — distinguished guests — will have to fork out to attend. This year, guests are projected to spend an average of $592 per wedding couple, up 75% in just two years, according to American Express, with spending fueled by more destination weddings and more lavish ceremonies as the economy has improved. And guests will drop another $109 per wedding on gifts.

Brides and grooms appear more willing to make it worth the trip for guests. Couples throwing a wedding spent $220 per guest on food and entertainment in 2013, according to’s survey. Last year, nearly one-third of couples provided additional guest entertainment — from fortune tellers and magicians to scavenger hunts and parlor games — up from 11% in 2009.

Those deciding to get married may have more money to spend: Most of those (87%) who walked down the aisle from 2011 to 2012 are college-educated, according to analysis by the Pew Research Center.

Some 43% of Americans say they’ve declined to attend a wedding for financial reasons, according to a 2013 poll by American Consumer Credit Counseling. That’s perfectly acceptable, says Jacqueline Whitmore, founder of the Protocol School of Palm Beach, Fla. But she adds, “Be sure to respond with a yes or no by the RSVP date and send a gift.”


For some, this is the fast lane to divorce.

5. The bigger the wedding, the shorter the marriage

The more you spend on a wedding, the shorter the marriage, according to a recently released study by economics professors at Emory University. Surveying 3,000 married couples, the report concluded that couples who spend $20,000 on their wedding — and that’s excluding the cost of the ring — are 46% more likely than average to get divorced; those who spend between $1,000 and $5,000 are 18% less likely to split.

The authors, Andrew Francis and Hugo Mialon, found that those who spent a lot on their wedding were more likely to report that resulting debt caused stress in their marriage. “There is sizable literature in economics and sociology linking economic stress and marital dissolution,” Mialon says. The combination of a lavish wedding and a low income appeared to be particularly toxic, they concluded.

“The wedding industry has grown substantially throughout the 20th century in part due to the rise of consumerism and industry efforts to commodify love and romance,” the authors wrote, adding that there was “little evidence to support the validity of the wedding industry’s general message” that a big wedding leads to a happy marriage.

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Some argue that the Internet has made cheating easier.

6. We’ve got infidelity on the brain

In a 2012 survey by NORC, a research organization affiliated with the University of Chicago, some 12.3% of married women and 19% of married men admitted to having had extramarital affairs (defined as sex outside of marriage). Those numbers were down from recent highs of 24.4% for men in 2000 and 16.7% for women in 2006.

That said, many experts argue that cheating has gotten easier. Dating sites like and cater to married men and women, and apps like Snapchat and Slingshot allow adulterers to send messages that disappear on arrival. But technology cuts both ways: There are apps that also allow suspicious spouses to track their partner’s online activity. (Ironically enough, couples that met on an online dating site and married were less likely to split, according to a 2013 study published in the journal “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.”)

Many Americans appear to be “monogomish” — that is, they would cheat if they knew they could get away with it, according to a survey of 1,000 people carried out in July by the USA Network. While 82% professed “zero tolerance” for cheating, 81% still said they would cheat if there were no consequences. Parenthood appears to be one major motivator of infidelity, the study found. Some 55% of married couples with children agreed that “marriage is more difficult than I thought it would be,” compared with 34% of couples without children.

Also see: Does online dating lead to happier marriages?

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A tool of infidelity?

7. Social media is breaking us apart…

“Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat are the new little black books of infidelity,” says Melissa Lavigne-Delville, founder of culture and trend agency Culture Co-Op, who conducted the USA Network survey. “While infidelity is nothing new, the digital world has made it harder to define, easier to get away with, and exponentially harder to resist.”

Some 86% of respondents in the survey said that social networking makes it easier to cheat, and almost one-third admit to having had an emotional or romantic relationship exclusively online. Former partners and even high school sweethearts will pop up online sooner or later, experts say. Around 35% of women and 17% of men say they’ve looked up their ex-partner’s new girlfriend or boyfriend, the survey found.

People are glued to their screens. The average American spends 11 hours a month on average on social media, according to recent data released by Nielsen. “Technology is the third person in marriage,” says Whitmore of The Protocol School of Palm Beach. Couples should set time limits and boundaries on social media usage, she says: “It’s easy to look up other people when things are bad. Both my husband and I are friends with our exes on Facebook, but we don’t flirt with them. That’s when it can become a problem.”

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If they can afford a Lamborghini, they’re more likely to drive off happily into the sunset together.

8.…but money could keep us together

The higher your income, the more likely you are to stay together, according to the Emory study and data analyzed by Randal Olson, a graduate research assistant at Michigan State University. Couples in households making $125,000-plus a year are 51% less likely to split than those earning less than $25,000 a year; their prospects for success get progressively worse based on lower earnings.

The link between money and marital solidity is hardly surprising: After all, financial disagreements are the type of argument most likely to predict divorce, according to a 2012 study  by the School of Family Studies and Human Services at Kansas State University. What’s more, the more assets couples have, the longer it takes to draw up divorce papers, giving them more time to potentially change their minds, says Maria Cognetti, president of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, and a family lawyer in Camp Hill, Pa. “When complex divorce litigants see me, I often tell them to wait two to five years,” she says. “It’s the young kids with no assets and a short marriage who can get divorced quickly.”

Earnings correlate strongly to education, and better-educated people seem more likely to stay married. Among people with a bachelor’s degree or higher, 26.5% have undergone a divorce by middle age, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics; the comparable rate for people with only a high school diploma is 42.8%.


For couples over age 50, divorce has lost its stigma.

9. You’re never too old to get divorced

The national divorce and annulment rate fell to 3.6 per 1,000 people in 2011, from 4 per 1,000 in 2000, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But not everybody agrees that that’s an accurate measure of the current state of marriage, particularly among older Americans.

A recent report from the University of Minnesota, which used new data from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey and controlled for changes in age, concluded that there had been a “substantial increase” in divorce rates from 1990 to 2008. Some 40% to 50% of marriages end in divorce, says Steven Ruggles, a co-author of the report.

Freed by social mores and encouraged by financial independence, aging boomers seem particularly likely to get divorced. The rate of divorce doubled among adults aged over 50 between 1990 and 2010, according to “The Gray Divorce Revolution,” a study carried out by Susan Brown and I-Fen Lin at Bowling Green State University. And that age group accounted for more than 25% of divorces in 2010, up from less than 10% two decades earlier.


She’s more likely than he is to initiate a divorce.

10. Splitting up was her idea

Some two-thirds of all divorces are initiated by women, according to the National Marriage Project, a non-partisan initiative based at the University of Virginia. Although they vary by state, divorce laws tend to be more favorable to women when it comes to awarding child custody. (A less generous explanation: divorced women are more likely to have an unfaithful husband, says attorney Jeff Landers, a New York City-based attorney who has an exclusively female clientele and is author of “Divorce: Think Financially, Not Emotionally.”)

What’s more, a wealthy divorcée with newfound freedom is less likely to re-marry. Some 83.4% of wealthy divorced men would consider marriage within the next five years, according to a 2013 survey of 5,000 millionaire members of the dating site Among divorced female millionaires, on the other hand, 67.9% said either they’d never marry again or they would wait 10 years or more.

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