I think they should make people do a risk assessment on their proposal relationship and turn it into the city office when they go to get a marriage license — I thought it would be appropriate to introduce it on Valentine’s Day!
So to design our risk assessment, first we need to create a list of assets — joint assets. How about the 2 houses, the 2 cars, the children from the former marriage, the inlaws — actually all the relatives on both sides, and pets (dogs, horses, etc.) any cash including stocks, bonds and salaries. Probably also insurance policies, household goods, jewelry, musical instruments and collections.
Now we can model the potential losses we could suffer if the relationship fails: Death or personal injury, divorce, alienation of affection, compromise and loss of assets. Now we can add in the threats that could cause one of the projected losses to occur. Threats could include things like: children, relatives, job loss, illness, death, affairs, theft, business travel, alienation, depression, substance abuse.
Next are the vulnerabilites in the relationship that could sabotage the whole thing — here are some of the questions we might make the prospective marital participants ask:
Do you work out of town more than 1 month a year?
Do you have more than four children?
Will one spouse be staying at home?
Do you have two incomes?
Does each partner have a healthy asset to debt ratio?
Do the partners have the same religion?
Do the partners have more than two common interests?
Are the partners equal in education?
Are the partners equal in life experience?
Is there a history of mental illness in your family?
Is there family history of major medical problems, i.e.,
diabetes, cancer, respiratory problems, cardiac issues, etc.
Do the partners have the same political parties?
Do the partners have a shared vision for the future?
So once the questions are all answered — and possibly weighted for importance — for example, I would put higher weight on questions about family medical history and financial health.
We link the elements together according to a pre-set algorithm and then we give the couple risk rating:
80 – 100% – chance for a healthy relationship
50 – 79% – possibility of healthy relationship if vulnerabilities are fixed
30- 49% – possibility of healthy relationship is doubtful
1 – 29% – healthy relationship unlikely to be successful.
The answer would also indicate outstanding vulnerabilities (think of a
vulnerability as a window of opportunity for a threat to materialize),
for example, health, financial assets, illness, mental illness, alcohol abuse, drug abuse, obsessive compulsive disorder, responsibility, accountability, policies, romance, weight control etc.
Based on the outcome of the assessments — say the score comes in at
70%, then counteracting controls are recommended such as:
Start Exercise Program
See psychologist for extensive analysis
Schedule a date night once a week
Hire a financial counselor
Take yoga classes
Quit your second job
Take a real vacation once a year
I think that using quantitative tools at the beginning of a marriage or serious relationship might be a great idea! The city could charge another $20 for rating the assessment so it would not only save relationships but serve as a revenue generator for city and county government!
That’s your risk assessment for Valentine’s Day. Please let me know if you’d like to fill out one of my prototype questionnaires, or maybe contribute to the model. Enjoy the day!