2. People often choose a mate to please someone else -- a father, mother or the person who is asking them to be married, but it is absolutely critical that they be personally satisfied. Your decision must be made in light of your own needs and dreams, not someone else's.  You should listen carefully to the input of friends and family members, but don't let anyone select your marriage partner for you, and don't allow yourself to select a lifetime mate in order to satisfy someone else.


3. Divorce rates are significantly lower for both men and women who marry for the first time at age 26 or older . Why 26?  Studies have shown that this is the age when most people get clear about who they are, where they're going, and how they want to get there.  In our society, where adolescence often lasts until the middle 20s, identity formation is incomplete until individuals have emotionally separated from their parents and discovered the details of their own uniqueness.  Most people under 26 aren't in a good position to know the kind of person with whom they could form a meaningful lifelong attachment. They simply need more life experience.


4. It's crucial to find a person to marry who is a lot like you .  For couples, similarities are like money in the bank and differences are like debts they owe. If you want to make a marriage work with someone who is very different from you, you better have a large number of similarities as permanent equity in your account. If you don't, your relationship could be bankrupt at a frighteningly early stage.


5. Unrealistic expectations for marriage may be the principle contributor for most early divorces. Many men and women enter marriage believing their spouse will meet all their needs and that their romantic feelings will never end. The truth is, successful marriages require an incredible amount of work, patience, and long-suffering. I have watched many marriages crumble because the couples expected life to be filled with ivy-covered cottages, walks on the beach, steamy love scenes, and nonstop fun.  That's just not reality.


6. Personality or behavioral problems will not vanish when you get married. If there are qualities about your partner's personality or behavior that you question -- such as jealousy, temper, irresponsibility, dishonesty, or stubbornness -- ask yourself if you are willing to spend the rest of your life dealing with these problems. Obviously, if the person you are considering has a drug or drinking problem or trouble with sexual integrity, you should make absolutely sure that he or she has worked through the problem well in advance of your marriage.


Marriage provides the conditions in which we can experience either tremendous happiness and satisfaction or grief and frustration.  By thinking carefully about the above points, you'll take a big step toward a fulfilling future.

The eHarmony Research Library is a branch of eHarmony.com(tm), North America's most successful Relationship Building Service. Our precise technology searches a database of 500,000 persons to find truly compatible matches. Then, eHarmony's guided communication system helps you meet and get to know each other in an appropriate, in-depth manner.  Click HERE to learn more about eHarmony.