You don't truly get to know someone until you live with them for an extended period of time.
I know of at least five couples that got married after Shorty and I that are now divorced. This is crazy to me. Lord knows crazy things can happen, feelings can change, people can grow apart, and small battles can add up over time, but when you read statistics, it seems that a lot of people get divorced simply because they don't truly know the person they are marrying.
There is a really simply fix to this: live with the person you are planning to marry before you get engaged.
Living with someone lets you learn a lot of things about a person:
- How that person looks in the morning
- Sleep patterns someone follows
- Is that person a cleaner? How obsessively?
- Is that person lazy or do they pull their weight with housework
- How that person handles money (specifically bills)
- What gross or annoying habits does that person have
- What are this person's bathroom and kitchen habits
Look at that list (and I'm definitely missing a few things). Yes, you might be able to learn some of those things, but you won't really know the answer to most of them without living with them for six to twelve months. Ask yourself those questions about your best friends - you likely don't really know the answer to them either and they are your best friends!
Living with your potential fiancée allows you to peel away all of their layers. When you are dating someone they naturally want to impress you - they'll put on makeup and do something with their hair if you're coming over in the morning, they'll pick up the house and wipe down the bathroom if they are cooking you dinner, and they'll naturally hide their gross habits perhaps even unintentionally. This person can't do that if you live with them because they can't hide their personality - you will see them in the rawest form.
And here's the kicker: don't expect to change them. Be honest to yourself about the things you learn - if they bother you then ask yourself if they are a deal breaker. If so, then use it as your opportunity to end the relationship. It may sound harsh, but consider yourself fortunate you didn't have to go through all of the misery of a divorce (trust me, getting married and divorced is much less desirable than breaking up and moving out). You aren't going to change someone - they are who they are - and you either need to be cool with that or get out.
Once you know these things then you should be in a much better place to decide whether you want to spend the rest of your life with this person and their habits, quirks, craziness, and demeanor.
Disclaimer: No, this won't solve every divorce, but I know in a few cases it would have prevented the marriage from ever happening.