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Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. Traditionally couples in the millions get engaged on this day. Being in the field of family law as an attorney for more than thirty-five years, I expect that fifty percent of those Valentine’s Day engagements will end in divorce—which is sad and unfortunate. There has to be a better way to ensure that all of the love and affection showed on February 14, lasts a lifetime. In fact there are several issues I see as a common thread that lead to divorce. Here are four tips to help you divorce-proof your relationship from the very outset, so that the shine of that new engagement ring doesn’t blind you to some of the very basics of a long and successful marriage.

Discuss Finances: Before marriage, couples discuss where they’re going to live, children, careers, and what side of the bed to sleep on… but never money. Some people have anxiety, guilt, and even shame about the way they handle money. Do you really want to tell a potential spouse you’re an overspender? Not exactly the topic of discussion you want to have before you are walking down the aisle. Have an open and honest conversation with your future spouse about it and know your “marriage money style.”

Be Aware of Abusive Qualities: You don’t have to be “hit” to be abused. Name calling, playing the blame game, emotional manipulation, and attacks on your character and abilities are all signs of emotional abuse. Of course, if your future spouse actually physically abuses you then that is an immediate sign that it’s time to call off the engagement. Violence never solves anything and you don’t deserve any kind of physical abuse doled out to you.

Get a Prenuptial Agreement: Not just for the rich and famous, a prenup forces you to have in depth conversations about uncomfortable but important marital issues with your future spouse. Money matters, what religion you plan to raise your children, family business ownership, and planning for inheritance are just several crucial topics that are brought to the forefront when discussing a prenuptial agreement. Speak now or forever hold your peace.

See a Therapist: This person should be an objective, non-partisan third party concerned only for the emotional well-being of you and your future spouse. A therapist is someone who will talk you and/or your soon-to-be spouse through the logistics of making decisions and compromises where there are no losers, and help you navigate the peaks and valleys of being in a healthy marriage.

Within the scope of a relationship, respectful communication is key—honesty with yourself and your future spouse. Communication helps ensure that you don’t marry the wrong person and that you stay married to the right person.

If you have any questions about relationships, or prenuptial agreements, please feel free to call me at 212.734.1551.