You’re in love– and you can’t help but want to think of nothing else but how happy you are.
I totally get it. And while it’s an uncomfortable subject, and despite how in love you are, it’s important to make sure you’ve covered all the bases before taking the deep dive.
By that I mean there are certain things every couple should have discussed by a certain point, preferably long before getting married. These are things that are integral to how you plan on living out your life, and it’s important for both partners to be aligned on them. Without that, conflicts that can break the strongest couples arise.
Many of these things are not necessarily reasons to split, but things you should discuss before taking your commitment to the next level – just in case.
There is no more lovely, friendly and charming relationship, communion or company than a good marriage.
– Martin Luther
You have been forewarned– blow the nine things below off and you will be inviting conflict in your marriage. However, make these topics of open conversation and they can strengthen your bond, allowing you to lead a happier life in the process.
When one person either doesn’t want children or wants to wait much longer than the other, it’s easily one of the most damaging sources of conflict.
Do you want children? Does your partner? When? Is there a point in your career you’d like to reach before settling down to have children? What about your partner? These are some of the single most important questions to ask before getting married because they’ll affect your entire life in a significant way.
Typically, neither person in a relationship has their heart set on a particular location or type of home. However, it’s still important to talk about so that you each know the kind of home you’d like and the neighborhood you’d like to live in.
One of you might want a decent home in the suburbs and another a small cottage in the country. Those are drastically different lifestyles, so you’ll need to come to some sort of an agreement or at least have an open discussion about it so you both know where the other person stands and can work with one another.
Up until now, each of you has either practiced the same religion, appreciated each other’s beliefs, or simply allowed each other to retain their own differing set of beliefs.
However, when you become a family this will all change (unless, of course, you already have the same set of beliefs). If your beliefs differ, what will you tell your children? How will you teach them? Are you both okay with having your various religious symbols in your new home? This can lead to some big issues, so take care of it now.
What do you plan to do with your money? Do you expect joint accounts or does the thought scare you? Who will be in charge of paying household bills? Will you have shared savings accounts?
As long as each person has the other’s best interest in mind, this typically isn’t an issue. However, if your partner does have an issue with this it needs to be worked through now (it often points to still standing trust issues, by the way).
How will cleaning be divided in the household? Trash, dishes, sweeping, mopping, groceries, and the other countless things that you need to stay on top of.
I’ve found that each person tends to have certain tasks they don’t mind doing and others they hate (I hate dishes for no particular reason, but I don’t mind sweeping and straightening up), so if you break tasks up in a smart way you can reduce a lot of potential conflict.
How much time will your partner want to spend with family when you live together? And you? Where will you go for Christmas, etc?
In a supportive relationship, you’d hope the other person would be more than willing to accommodate you no matter what. However, with how important family is, this isn’t the kind of thing you should be leaving up in the air. It plays an important part in how you’ll live your married life, so at least get a better idea of how this is going to work out.
How supportive are you of one another’s career? How closely do you work together, if at all?
This is a huge question mark because it all depends on what both of you do and whether you work together in some capacity or not, but the name of the game here is to find a way to fully support one another so that neither is held back.
However, this is sometimes easier said than done so you need to talk about options just so you have an idea of what each person wants out of their work, business, or craft moving into the future.
How often do you expect to hang out with friends once you’re living with one another? Do you not particularly care about this or do you need your weekly hangout with the boys or your girlfriends?
A big part of this is also about whether you’re introverted or extroverted, and to what degree. So, make sure you both fully understand that aspect of each other’s personalities and the needs that come with that.
Introverts need their time alone to recharge, whereas extroverts feed off social spaces for the same reason, so you have to understand one another from that point of view to reduce conflicts before they have a chance of occurring.
9. The future
Kids, career, and everything else aside, what do you want out of life? If you look back on your own funeral, what would you regret having never done? Where do you want to go? Who do you want to become?
One of the single most important things you need to discuss are your general goals and dreams for life as a whole. In many ways, if you discuss this one point the others can be managed after the fact (albeit with some occasional fighting).
However, skip these deep conversations about lifelong goals and there could come a time when your direction is in fundamental conflict with your partner’s. So, take the time to get deep into their head and learn what they really want out of life– and make sure they know the same for you.