No one can see into the future, but most research now supports what what people have observed for years. The three top risk factors for a divorce are marrying young, cohabiting before marriage and previous marriages.
Marrying out of high school might be “the stuff of fairy tales,” but waiting until the partners are in their twenties improves the chances of a marriage. The younger people are when they get married, the higher their chance of divorce. About half of couples who marry under age 18 end in divorce, compared with 40 percent under 20, and less than a quarter of couples older than 25.
Cohabitation before marriage increases the risk for divorce, as does having multiple sexual partners. According to a University of Denver study published in the Journal of Family Psychology, living together before marriage isn’t always a good test of a relationship. Couples cohabit because it is convenient, conserves resources, and gives both sides a chance to try out a routine something like marriage. However, the research suggests that couples who feel they need a marriage “trial run” already suspect their relationship is doomed. The doubts tend to carry over into the marriage.
According to a study by the CDC, the divorce risk increases with each subsequent marriage. Many people jump into a second relationship too quickly, without having fully recovered from the breakdown of their first marriage. For other people, a second marriage is more difficult to hold together because it lacks a cohesive family unit, such as young children who need constant care and attention from two parents. The dynamic of the blended family, which can be complicated by ex-spouses and adult children from previous relationships, is another factor in the failure of subsequent marriages.