Is it possible to know what factors in a person's life might contribute to marriage difficulties?
Many of these risk factors relate to stable, individual characteristics of each partner. You could think of these factors this way: all other thing being equal, the more these factors are present in the lives and backgrounds of the marriage partners, the greater the risk to the well-being of that marriage over time. Here is a list of such factors. The list is not exhaustive, but it covers the biggies.
There is something very important about this list that we'd like you to notice: once a couple is married, they can do nothing to directly lower any of these risks. In our academic publications, we call these factors static because they are relatively unchangeable. Reflecting on these factors can be useful in understanding how much risk the two of you may have, but there is little you can do to change any of these -- and certainly not quickly.
In contrast to the static factors shown in the preceding list, there are risk factors that relate more directly to how you treat one another, how you communicate, and how you think about your relationship. We call these dynamic risk factors because, although they do increase the risk that a couple won't do well.
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