Whether you’re recently engaged or just beginning to discuss marriage with your partner, you’re probably feeling excited about the future and blinded by love. Many couples look at marriage as the beginning of a new journey together where they’ll get to know each other better and learn to love each other more. However, it’s important to discuss certain aspects before tying the knot.
Five Key Issues To Discuss Before Marriage
1. Kids: Do you both want to have children? Before marriage it’s important to know whether or not your partner wants to have kids as differences here can be a deal-breaker for many. But this also should trigger related questions, such as:
- How many kids do we want?
- How many years apart do we want them to be?
- What values do we want to pass down to our kids?
- How do we want to discipline our kids?
- Will one of us be a stay at home parent?
- How do we feel about daycare?
It is important to ensure you and your partner are on the same page, because these are key issues that affect how you raise your kids together. You can start this conversation by discussing how each of you grew up, and the things you liked and disliked about it. You may not be planning to have kids for a long time, but it’s better to be in agreement about where you both stand regarding kids before getting married. This is one of the most important issues to discuss before marriage.
2.Money and Finances: Money is one of the leading causes of divorce. It’s important to discuss each other’s finances before marriage. During this conversation it’s vital for both parties to be open and honest; hiding any debts or gains from the other can result in anger or resentment in the marriage. Some questions to discuss together are:
- Do you have any debt? Debt from student loans, or credit cards can add up to a large amount that can take years to pay off.
- Are you a spender or a saver? It is important to know your partner’s spending habits so you can create a budget that’s feasible for both of you so no one feels restricted or that their partner is spending too much.
- When do you want to retire and how much money do you want to put aside for that? This is an important question because it involves planning your finances and investing appropriately.
- Spending discretionary income? How much do we want to spend on travel, for example, or activities?
- How do we want to support our kids when they’re adults? Do we plan to support our children’s further education, or do we want to leave them money when we die?
3.Religion/Spirituality: This is often something that is resolved while dating. However, before tying the knot, you need to discuss what part, if any, religion should have in your life together. If you’re planning on children, what part should religion play in your kids’ upbringing? If you have different religious backgrounds how will this affect the way you bring up your children?
4.How To Handle Conflict: Conflict is inherent to all relationships and how both parties manage conflict is extremely important. Identifying each person’s conflict resolution style and skills is important in identifying behaviors that are acceptable and unacceptable. This is key because each person needs to feel free to express their feelings about a situation. Important conflict resolution practices include, walking away, and coming back to discuss the issue later, not attacking the other person’s character, positive communication (i.e., “I” statements), and saying “I love you” before going to bed whether angry or not.
5.In-Laws: In-laws can be a huge wedge between you and your partner. It’s important to discuss boundaries that you intend to implement for both sets of in-laws. Ask each other how involved you want your parents to be in your marriage and with the kids. Discussing one’s parents is difficult But you will need to present a united front. You’re beginning a new family, and it’s essential to separate from your parents and unite as a couple.
These are the most important issues to discuss before marriage. But others include the distribution of household responsibilities, identifying any significant events from your past that may affect your relationship today, possible relocation plans, and the importance of individual hobbies or pursuits. If you’re interested in getting more information about pre-marriage counseling, please contact us for a 15 minute complimentary consultation.