Take this quick test:

· Were either of you under 22 when you married?

· Did either of you not get your high school diploma or GED?

· Do you make under $24,000/year as a couple?

· Are you two of different religions?

· Did either of your parents divorce?

· Are you or your spouse very critical of each other ?

· Are you or your spouse very defensive? Do either of you need the last word?

· Do you tend to withdraw from each another?

· Do either one of you feel contempt for the other?

The more you answered "yes" to these questions, the higher is your risk for divorce. Those who answer “no” generally have more realistic expectations of one another and their marriage. They tend to communicate better, use more effective problem solving skills and are found to have higher compatibility scores.

What type of person is most likely to benefit from marriage counseling? Well, everything else being equal, women seem to learn more from it than their spouses.

What type of couple benefits the most from marriage counseling? The answer is younger, communicative, educated, egalitarian, still loving and relatively open-minded couples.

Everything else being equal, important factors associated with unsuccessful marital therapy include: Procrastinating before seeking help, spouses who are determined to get a divorce and/or those who is closed to any new suggestions.

Dr John Gottman's research discovered that all couples experience conflict in their marriages but the happier ones manage their disagreements better because of a foundation of affection and friendship which they previously developed. Those without this foundation don’t appear to have the commitment, motivation or skill to problem-solve effectively under high stress.

Bottom line - if you really care about your marriage and think it may be in trouble, don’t wait. Seek marriage counseling as soon as you notice the warning signs and make a committment to be open-minded during the process.

Copyright, Shery, 2006

Author's Bio: 

Dr Shery is in Cary, Illinois, near Algonquin, Crystal Lake, Marengo and Lake-in-the-Hills. He’s a marriage counselor and psychologist who treats depression and anxiety. Make an appt or get his FREE newsletter at: http://www.nextdayappointment.com