Love is blind, but marriage is a real eye-opener.
Getting to know what your partner’s needs and expectations are before a marriage is a recipe for a successful marriage. Some people look like deer in the headlights when they are asked about their future plans. It is better to discuss certain future plans with your significant other to save yourself from pulling your hair out later or maybe even worse…a break up.
Both of you have some assumptions and ideas about what marriage looks like. It is both of your responsibilities to find those and talk them out to save yourselves a lot of resentment in the future.
Here is a little checklist of things to talk about with your significant other before you get married (this is best done with a bottle of wine!)
“We always hold hands. If I let go, she shops.”
Ahh the grand old discussion of finances. It is advised to share your savings and bank account information well in advance and have a talk about finances.How much is their credit score? How much debt are they in? Discuss purchase plans for major purchases such as houses and cars. Will you have a joint account for shared expenses and a separate account for buying you own individual items?
According to a new survey from the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) and the Ad Council, among adults ages 25-34 who are married or living with a partner: “Almost half (47 percent) of those who are married or living with a partner say all of their expenses are shared equally.”
Talk about your money spending habits and financial responsibilities. If you or your significant other has significant wealth or valued assets, you guys should talk about getting a prenuptial agreement. Prenuptial agreements are controversial discussion topic among couples.
“I can’t believe he asked me for a prenup…he doesn’t really love me”
Sigh. Prenups have nothing to do with whether or not your significant other loves you. Don’t take it the wrong way but prenups are about protecting finances, assets, and having a disaster plan in place for the worst case scenario. This doesn’t mean he or she doesn’t love you or intends to leave, nor does it mean that he isn’t fully invested…it is about having insurance for your assets IF the worse happens. In short, marriage is a huge risk, especially for a person with a lot of assets.
It is very important to discuss if you want kids or if you don’t want kids. If yes, how many? You should talk about if you would like to have maybe 1 or maybe 3 or maybe a whole football team of kids.
After deciding how many kids you want to have, then you should discuss when? Some couples want to have kids after finishing school or after marriage or after establishing a stable career. It depends on each person.
You should also have a real discussion on how your kids will be raised if you decide to have kids. Discuss religion, parenting methods and overall just try to understand each other’s visions on raising a child.
Be sure to express what each of your career goals are. Talk about how important it is to you and where you want to go in your career. Is their work/career always going to be a top priority for them? What happens if one of you gets a nice job in a different area? Or if your significant other’s job requires them to travel a lot, will you guys be okay with that?
Understanding your partner’s priorities and future career goals can set the right expectations.
You should discuss work hours and set the proper boundaries. Imagine coming home from a really long day at work and your significant other is complaining that you do not give them enough attention!
I have a friend that dated a girl for quite some time in college. They got along well with each other BUT…the only problem was the sex. Or the lack of it. Sex was pretty important to my friend and his girlfriend at the time did not care for sex at all. Soon enough, after a lot of frustration, they broke up.
Not to sound all gloomy…but this was an obvious sign of incompatibility and my friend is probably better off finding someone more compatible. You will potentially sleep with only one person for the rest of your life. It is important to be with a partner that fulfils your sexual needs!
It may take a few conversations to get comfortable enough to be talking about sex during marriage openly. Talk about how frequent you want to be having sex, your wildest fantasies, your secret fetishes, and also if you have sexual traumas or dysfunctions. Are they open to trying new things in bed? How will you each respectfully reject sex some nights? How about giving oral?
If it really matters to you and you are feeling extra extra brave, you should talk about how many sex partners you have had in the past. Remember, the past is the past and it is really immature to bring up sensitive private information in an argument!
If you or your partner does not feel comfortable discussing this topic, it might be best to seek a premarital counsellor to help you work through it. Read the following techniques if you feel that being jealous of your girlfriend’s sexual past maybe a serious issue for you.
It is important to set boundaries from the get go so your significant other understands the expectations when hanging out with friends.
What is considered cheating? Can you handle your partner hanging out with certain friends without bothering you? Does your partner have friends you do not get along with? Who is your partner’s best friends? Are they a good influence or a bad influence? Your partner’s relationships can affect your relationships.
Nobody wants to be the known as the controlling boyfriend or girlfriend, but that is why it is key to talk about what you and your partner does that could put the relationship in jeopardy. Be open to discussing what makes you feel uncomfortable and communicate that with your partner.
Talk to your significant other about your health habits. Do you go to the gym often, diet or even cook healthy meals daily?
Hitting the gym after work is a big priority for me. It keeps me stress-free and in a good mood. I make sure I talk to my partner so they know that we can hang out after I hit the gym. I get the occasional “you don’t pay enough attention to me”, but I make it clear that keeping healthy is important to me and my partner understands (for the most part).
Lifestyle habits are an important topic to discuss, however, a discussion on your significant other’s health is crucial. Ask your partner if they are allergic to anything and their family’s medical history should also be included. Are there any hereditary diseases or anything in your family’s medical history your partner should be made aware of? Do you have any chronic pains your partner should know about? How about mental or emotional problems?
Understand the risks of your spouse’s future as well as perhaps your future children
Location, location, location. You might’ve heard it before, but the location is everything. Where you each plan on living has a big impact on the health of your relationship.
Where do you guys seeing yourselves living? Can you agree on which place to move to? Maybe you guys are from different areas and all your friends and families will be in different regions. What will you do then? Are you open to a long distance relationship?
My aunt and uncle dated through most of their college and throughout medical school—long distance. Now, they are married with two children living in California. A distance may not be for everybody but it should be discussed because life happens, things change, and it may cause you to be away from one another for a couple years.
It is important that you inquire about things that might happen that could change your life situation. Decisions as big as the location can be unimaginable to compromise on.
This is a very important and serious topic to discuss. You must discuss your beliefs and ideologies with your partner. What if their ideologies are absolutely different and you cannot put up with it?
Your significant other may not be religious while you may be a passionate Christian. What would you do then? Also, what religion or no religion will your children be raised with? Will they follow one of your religions or will they be able to choose their own?
It should be noted that some churches even offer “premarital counselling” to talk about religion after marriage. It is a fantastic idea to reach out to some local churches to discuss potential issues concerning religion before you get married.
“What’s the difference between outlaws and in-laws?” –Outlaws are wanted”
You are going to be kicking yourself in the butt if you do not discuss the parents’ situation. You must discuss the parents’ situation.