I believe the answer to having a happy, long-lasting marriage is relatively simple:
First, no two people between the ages of 20 and 40 should date without having met each other's families.
The man especially should meet the girl's family and convince her father (hopefully there is one in the house) that he is a worthy competitor for his daughter's hand. Young women these days are far too immodest and free with their minds, bodies, and souls to have good sense about what they're doing. We don't call it being slutty anymore - we call it "hooking up." We ought to go back to the days where a young man had to convince a girl's family that he was worthy to court their daughter.
Second, all couples should spend six months in premarital counseling before they tie the knot.
Roughly 20 percent of people who go through premarital counseling realize they're not a match, and the other 80 percent enjoy better marriages.
What it really comes down to is choosing wisely.
If you're not being treated well two years into the courtship, you should hit the eject button.
There are many factors to choosing wisely. Men, for example, need to discern whether or not a woman is going to take care of their babies (i.e. suckling them at her breast and not farming out motherhood to a nanny or day care center). However, one quality that is constantly overlooked by both men and women is their date's credit score.
Credit (especially for men but also for women) is an important attribute. There are now sites such as creditscoredating.com
which help people make sure they're connecting with somebody who isn't in debt or irresponsible with money. This is especially important for young people who may bring tens of thousands of dollars in student debt to a relationship. The New York Times
recently interviewed more than 50 daters under 40 from around the country and found that many of them regarded a good credit score as a prerequisite for a good date. No kidding. What is the point of being with someone who is totally irresponsible with money and can't support a family?
As the Times
reported, "It's a shorthand way to get a sense of someone's financial past the same way an S.T.D. test gives some information about a person's sexual past." Some people may think this vetting process goes too far, but I disagree. According to an article in Time
"Landlords and lenders may look at your credit score to help determine if you are worth taking a chance on. Even employers may do a credit check on you. Why not a prospective mate? How you handle money says a lot about your ability to be organized and responsible. Why would anyone with options risk falling for someone likely to bring heavy debt and poor spending and saving habits to a [marriage]?"
I'm thunderstruck at how many women call my program with some variation of, "We've been dating for two years, but he never has any money because he spends it all on (fill in the blank)." I mean please. Too few women show any sense these days. That's why I think marriages should be arranged again. I know it sounds terribly insulting, but it's true. The divorce rate would plummet.
If you have poor credit, read this Time article
for tips on how to improve it.