4 Early Signs A Couple Should Cancel Their Engagement

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man proposing to woman

If you are engaged or newlywed, chances are you might have spent a minute or two wondering if you were doing the right thing. It's only natural. 

After all, you've made a big life decision — one of the biggest. What if you chose wrong? What if you and your partner weren't actually meant to be?

If only there were a set of universal, tell-tale indications that the person you're with is not right for you.

Maybe you love someone who is engaged, but you're genuinely concerned that their marriage cannot last — or even that they will not make it to the wedding. Are your concerns coming from a genuine place of concern, or are you onto something and the relationship is already showing red flags?

Regardless, of whether you're the engaged one or the person concerned, there are four signs that a relationship is not in a place where it should progress to engagement or marriage — at least not yet.

Fortunately, researchers have identified several signs that predict whether an engaged couple is bound for success or failure in marriage.

RELATED: 15 Top Signs Of An Unhappy Marriage You Don't Want To Ignore

Here are four signs that a couple may want to cancel their engagement — or at least delay the wedding

One word of note, while these items are written mostly from the perspective of the groom being the one who is dismissive or "not ready", these signs are worth paying attention to in any betrothed partner, regardless of gender. 

1. There's a lot of dismissive eye-rolling

Does the groom-to-be listen to his bride's concerns or dismiss them? Responding with eye-rolling, repeating his own perspective as if he is right and she is wrong or responding critically with what is wrong with her viewpoint bode poorly for the partners' future happiness.

Listening to a partner, by contrast, is a positive sign. A husband who takes his wife's concerns seriously is more likely to make a great mate. (Research psychologist John Gottman gets credit for this discovery.)

RELATED: 5 Signs A Marriage Cannot Be Saved (And You Should Stop Trying)

2. There aren't sufficient or appropriate responses

Does the groom-to-be take action in response to concerns and requests from his bride-to-be? If she says it's important to her to start saving money together and he goes out and splurges on a new car without her okay, then there most likely is going to be trouble ahead. Success in marriage may soon become elusive.

By contrast, actions that indicate he takes her concerns to heart are a good indicator of a successful partnership. Opening up a savings account would be a positive step.

3. There's a lot of heavy-duty spending

An orientation toward shopping and consuming often coincides with lower-level people skills. Beware! According to a study by Jason S. Caroll, Lukas R. Dean, Lindsey L. Call and Dean M. Busby recently published in the Journal of Couple & Relationship Therapy, too much emphasis on appearances and on how a person looks financially to others can indicate danger ahead.

Interestingly, the study found that materialism is also a factor in predicting marriage problems, especially if both partners are big on buying things. If just one party has a strong materialistic bend, the mathematical odds of making it as a couple go up, provided that the household has sufficient finances to cover the expenses.

RELATED: Bride Calls Off Wedding Hearing What Fiance Told Her Daughter About Their Wedding Decor

4. One partner decides not to attend a relationship education course

Marriage partnership presents tough challenges along the road to long-term success in marriage. Are you ready for them?

Being boyfriend and girlfriend is like sledding; just hop on and enjoy the ride and you'll probably have fun and be safe. Marriage is more like skiing; it's a highly-skilled activity.

To ski safely, you need to have learned a batch of technical skills. If you want to be able to enjoy marriage, you should master at least the basics of collaborative communication, keeping anger at bay, and making decisions as equal-say partners.

Many researchers have found that couples, engaged and/or married, who complete a marriage education course have higher odds of marriage success and satisfaction than those who assume they are fine without additional skill-building.

A study by Christina J. Kalinka, Frank D. Fincham and Abigail H. Hirsch, published in the Journal of Family Psychology, established that an online marriage ed communication skills course can teach the necessary skills for marriage just as effectively as a course that couples go to for in-person classes.

With 24/7 online access, there is no excuses left about not being able to get out at night.  Online learning makes the cost minimal as well.

Stack the odds in your favor. Get the skills you need for a successful marriage, and let yourself enjoy a long and gratifying marriage partnership!

RELATED: Why I Called Off My Wedding — Even Though Everything Was Paid For

Harvard-educated psychologist and marriage counselor Susan Heitler, Ph.D. teaches couples skills for relationship success. Her book "The Power of Two: Secrets to a Strong and Loving Marriage" teaches the how-tos of having healthy partnerships in full detail.

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