Arts & Entertainment | November 9, 2017 9:00 am

7 Indicators of a Doomed Marriage, According to Science

High school sweethearts fail, and other divorce tidbits

Congress is currently taking steps that could make divorce absurdly expensive for Americans as part of their proposed tax plan. And here we were thinking it’d be nice to have a less painful and costly solution to one of the most important choices a person can make.

Here’s a novel concept: what if people acknowledged their preferences and become more aware of their behaviors and expectations before popping the big question to their partner? Since around 50% of the time will lead in divorce anyway.

That’s among the takeaways of  a recent blog post by social psychologist and Ball State associate professor Dr. Justin Lehmiller, who has outlined current research on the subjects of relationship success and failure. Here’s a glimpse into his findings:

The younger you get married the more likely you are to get divorced
This will seem obvious to anyone over the age of 30, when you’re a different person from your 21 year old self. But a lot of people get married in their early twenties, and then grow apart as they mature. Sometimes it’s inevitable. But if the person is the love of your life, there’s time.

Education helps in more ways than one
The more information/education you have about something, the wiser choices you are able to make (in theory). When it comes to pursuing a career and life path, higher education correlates with a higher likelihood of marriage coming later in life. Seventy-eight percent of women with a college degree have marriages that last 20 years or more, and men aren’t far behind at 65 percent. Women and men without college degrees have a higher likelihood of divorce.

Cohabitation before marriage is a good thing
Conventional wisdom used to suggest not living together before marriage, but that was because religious views were stronger and more present in everyday life. Now that those attitudes are waning, people have been “trying before they buy,” which helps folks make more informed choices. When a couple doesn’t put the domestic work in up front, it can spell disaster.

Porn useage isn’t necessarily a cause of divorce, in fact, it can help
In some cases porn can help spice up a marriage. In others, it’s more of a sign that something is wrong rather than the cause in and of itself. The thing to check in these instances is the attitude one partner has towards another …

Attitude is everything, and needs to be recalibrated periodically
If you don’t honestly respect your partner — regardless of whether it’s because of their behavior or their lack of motivation or job title — you’ll do things that build contempt and resentment between you. And contempt can lead you to many things: infidelity, constantly viewing porn, cultivating passive aggressive tics. If you notice this in yourself, your partner or in a couple, it’s a clear sign that a storm’s brewing. Therapy, alone and/or solo.

Sadly, numbers don’t lie
If you’re religious you’re less likely to get divorced, according to statistics from the CDC’s National Health Statistics Report. Now that doesn’t mean you’re in a happy marriage. It just means you’re less likely to split. 

Family and biology play a part in this, too
If your parents got divorced the likelihood that you also will is rather high. According a study from Virginia Commonwealth University, some of this could be behavioral, as you learned or inherited traits such as neuroticism or impulsiveness, traits that hinder a healthy relationship. But interestingly new research is suggesting that these supposedly learned behaviors might not apply to adopted children.