So you’re in love?
As you and your hubby-to-be spend time preparing for the big day, it’s important to take a step back from obsessing over napkins, ensuring the DJ doesn’t play Taylor Swift and rejigging the tables so bitter Aunt Betty is sitting as far away from you as possible, to sit down and discuss the bigger picture.
Though research has shown marriage has a significant impact on your health, these positive benefits will never come to fruition if your relationship is not a successful one. And successful marriages are about much more than kisses and snuggles. So before you tie the knot, take the time to make your way through this list to open up some unchartered topics and confirm whether you really are compatible, and ready, for a life together…
1. How will we manage our money?
While your SO may be on a fantastic salary, he may also have a penchant for spending every dollar he earns on naff Tshirts and XBox games. An open discussion about how much you are prepared to spend versus save will ensure you’re both comfortable with your lifestyle and not left broke by the time you retire.
2. What are our financial goals?
Talking about your finances is always an awkward topic but it’s vital to be open and understand how you plan to live together before saying ‘I do’, so arrange a time to sit down together to create a timeline of your financial goals.
3. Will we have children?
Nothing turns your life upside-down quite like having a baby, so it’s important to have a conversation with your partner about the financial sacrifices the two of you may have to make and the effect a child will have on your current lifestyle.
4. How will we raise our children?
If you and your fiancé decide to create a family, the very next discussion should be about how you plan to run your household and what values you hope to install in your children. Leave no situation untouched. Will they be educated in the public or private system? How do you plan to discipline them? Are you happy to have a nanny or grandparents help out?
5. If one of us chose not to work, would we be able to live comfortably?
Prior to your wedding day, make plans to have a frank conversation about the possibility of becoming a one-income family. Things to consider are the circumstances under which it would be okay for you to do so and if you’d be financially secure.
6. Would we be open to moving away from family and friends?
Although you may be happy to stay were you are for the time being, you should also play out imaginary scenarios like this to fully understand how a massive decision such as moving across the country for a job could effect your relationship.
7. Are we happy with our sex life?
Gaining a true understanding of what your partner is comfortable with, their expectations, as well as their sexual desires, fears and needs is extremely important if you want your relationship to succeed. Passion is easy for everyone in the beginning, but if you plan on having a relationship that lasts a lifetime, you’re going to need to work on it.
8. What level of involvement will our extended family have in our life?
Make sure you discuss just how much you both expect your extended family to be involved in your lives, and how if so, how regularly. You may be happy only seeing family a couple of times a year, while your SO expects to be involved in his parents’ lives weekly; work out how you’ll negotiate that.
9. Will one of us become the primary caregiver or will we get help?
If you both choose to remain in the workforce after having kids then it’s responsible to consider some alternate options. For example, would it be feasible for your parents to help out, or can you afford to sustain childcare?
10. Are we happy with each other’s health?
It’s far better to air any concerns you may have with your partner’s health, like smoking or a poor diet, as well sharing information about your family history of diseases before getting hitched. While it might not seem necessary when you’re both young and healthy, it’ll save headaches later on.
11. How would we cope if our relationship started to fracture?
Take some time to talk openly and honestly about how your relationship may change. If troubles became increasingly common, think of situations you might find yourself in and how you could avoid them; should you sign a prenup, or would you both be open to marriage counselling? No one expects their relationship to go badly, but preparing for the worst is good sense.
12. Do we accept and enjoy the company of each other’s friends?
Friends can heavily influence a couple’s marriage, so communicating how you both feel about each other’s nearest and dearest will ensure issues and feelings aren’t bottled up.
13. Do we share the same beliefs and values?
If you and your partner don’t happen to share the same religious beliefs and moral ethics, but do plan to spend the rest of your lives together, take some time to plan how you’ll work around the likely differences.
14. Do we respect each other’s parents and families?
A bond with your family is almost unbreakable, but how would you feel if your SO couldn’t stand them? Be frank in discussing how you feel about each other’s families, and if you think it may cause issues in future.
15. If our parents fell ill or needed care, would we be willing to have them in our home?
It’s a topic no one likes to think about, but unfortunately, it’s often a reality. A meaningful discussion as to how you plan to care for or fund treatment for an ageing parent before you tie the knot means you’ll both be prepared for what may lie ahead.
16. Where would we like to be five, ten, twenty years from now?
While deciding on the length of the brides maids’ dresses might feel like a priority now, it’s important to look past the white wedding to your future. Do you expect to travel every year? Are you happy to rent instead of buying a property? Do you plan to move away when you retire? Is having children before you turn 30 important? You may be surprised to learn your goals and timelines are quite different and thus require compromise and negotiation.
17. How paramount is spending quality time with one another?
Having special one-on-one time regularly is extremely important in maintaining a deep level of understanding and love for each other. Make sure you both agree on what valuable time looks like and means for you. While you may think it’s dinner and a movie, your SO may expect an expensive holiday at a luxury hotel.
18. Are we confident in each other’s commitment to marriage?
Deliberating if the connection between you and your fiancé is strong enough to last through challenges and obstacles life throws at you will test you both and certainly confirm whether you’re destined to grow old together.
Comment: Did you discuss these sorts of issues before getting married?