We all dream of living happily ever after in marriage with the love of our life.
And, in pursuit of that dream, more than 6,000 people walk down the aisle in the U.S. each and every day! (That’s more than two million weddings per year.)
And, according to a report from Sound Vision, the average wedding costs around an estimated $20,000.
But, for all of that dreaming of wedded bliss, 40 to 50 percent of marriages still end in divorce.
When you talk about marriage, most people think about the wedding instead of the long and, often, challenging years of married life.
So, how do you know if your “I do” will make the distance?
Well, of course, you must recognize that a healthy marriage is something that couples build on. You cannot simply get married and expect everything to work out fine. It takes hard work, dedication, and mutual affection and respect to create a relationship that lasts a lifetime.
No married couple can be consistently happy during that lifetime, though. In fact, every marriage has seven stages: passion, realization, rebellion, cooperation, reunion, explosion, and completion. Those in a bad marriage will not make it through all intact.
That said, the three most important parts of marriage are communication, love and affection, and commitment. You’ll know your marriage is healthy if you feel solid in those three key areas. When communication breaks down and resentment starts to brew between the two of you, that’s a sign of a failing marriage.
There are research-backed ways to tell if your marriage is on the right track.
Here are the proven signs of a healthy marriage to look for in your relationship.
1. You had an extravagant wedding celebration.
Research shows that couples who have a wedding with more than 200 people are 12.5 times less likely to get divorced than couples who celebrate it in small weddings or all alone.
So, if you had a large wedding with plenty of guests, that might be a sign that you’re in a long-lasting marriage.
2. You’re both financially stable.
Surveys revealed that married couples are 51 percent less likely to divorce when their combined income equals $125,000 or more per year.
While money cannot buy love, it definitely helps couples avoid many financial disputes in their relationships. These financial disputes can sometimes spin out of hand and result in divorce.
3. You’re open with each other.
Opening your heart and exposing your vulnerabilities in a relationship is tough. But, it helps you learn more about each other and builds a strong emotional connection, a must-have for every good marriage.
If you and your partner are comfortable with each other and can talk openly, then it is a sign that your marriage can last for a very long time.
4. You focus on the good instead of the bad.
Thinking negative thoughts about your partner causes you to focus on their downfalls and shortcomings. But nobody is perfect.
When you think about your partner in a positive manner, you shift your focus to your partner’s good qualities. This makes things much easier and contributes to a long-lasting marriage.
5. You dated for a long time before marrying.
One study suggests that couples who dated for at least three years before becoming husband and wife are less likely to get a divorce.
She suggests that much time spent together before marriage allows a couple to really get to know each other and for an adequate amount of life planning to occur.
6. You went on a honeymoon.
That same research tells us that couples who go on a honeymoon directly after they get married are 41 percent less likely to get divorced later in life.
The honeymoon helps the couple release all of the built-up stress that accumulated while planning the wedding, allowing the couple to reconnect and start the marriage off on the right foot.
7. You don’t care about looks.
While some people consider looks and wealth an important factor when they choose a partner, research suggests that couples who focus more on inner beauty than on outer looks and wealth are 50 percent less likely to divorce.
8. You understand each other’s love languages.
The Association for Psychological Science suggests that how couples communicate often predicts the success rate of their relationship and marriage.
When two individuals are in a relationship for a long time, they start to pick up on each other’s habits and even start to speak the same “language.” They also learn each other’s unique love language.
This makes spending many years together a much more pleasant experience.
9. You fight fair.
Fighting is natural for a couple, married or not. Conflicts will come up that need resolution. Certain unhelpful communication styles (known as the 4 Horseman of the Relationship Apocalypse) used during fighting can doom a marriage.
When fighting in the relationship is fair and both parties focus on the specific conflict instead of screaming and talking down to each other, it’s a sign of a happy marriage that will last.
Thousands of people get married every single day.
Many of these marriages end up in divorce. Analyzing your relationship can be a great way to get a clear picture of the current health and status of your “happy marriage.”
The nine signs above offer visible evidence of good relationships. So, if your relationship exhibits any one of them, then you and the love of your life really may end up living happily ever after. Congratulations!
Donna Begg is an expert editor, a mentor, analyst, and researcher.