Did you know that there’s actually a formula that predicts whether a marriage will succeed? Beatty Cohan, a psychotherapist in Sarasota, Florida, and coauthor of For Better, for Worse, Forever: Discover the Path to Lasting Love, suggests being aware of these factors before you say “I do.”:
1. Look to the parents. Check out your beloved’s family background, particularly the parents’ relationship, to get a good idea of the behavior he’s been exposed to. What we learned as kids we often play out as adults.
2. Turn investigator. Are there signs of alcoholism or other forms of addiction in the family? Be careful— there’s often a genetic link. Also watch for a family history of depression or excessive anxiety.
3. Listen carefully. Identify how your potential partner communicates. Also pay attention to how he or she handles sticky situations and painful emotions.
4. Is there compromise? If you’re forever giving in, then you’ve got a problem. Compromise is one of the key elements of a healthy relationship.
5. Is there true intimacy? We’re not talking sex here, but the kind of intimacy that comes when he can clean up the vomit when you have the flu; when she invites your mother for Christmas even though she can’t stand the woman; when he has a hot bath and glass of wine waiting for you after what he knows was a difficult day.