Getting married can be one of the happiest and exciting times in a couple’s life. From planning the big day to fantasizing about sun-filled honeymoons, getting married is such a joyous event. However, it’s important to make sure that you plan the marriage and not just the wedding.
Have you thought about the potential roadblocks that might occur down the road or had serious conversations with your partner about your future together?
The reality is that ‘happily ever after’ takes effort, and that includes communicating openly and honestly with your fiancée before heading down the aisle. Here are the top questions you should ask your partner as you plan your future:
- What are your finances like? Sure, it’s a tough question, and certainly not one you should ask on a first date, but if you get married, you become financially responsible for your partner’s debts and financial burdens. He might have outstanding loans for a failed attempt at starting his own business, a mortgage on his condo, or even simply student loans. Whatever the case, you have to make sure this is a topic you discuss before tying the knot.
- What will happen to our ‘single’ selves? Meaning, will he be okay with you still going on girls’ night, or will you have a problem with him taking a solo vacation to go camping in Yosemite? Think about how you want your relationship to work and how comfortable you are with time apart.
- Do you believe in God? It’s hard to believe, but many couples never discuss the issue of faith until it’s too late. If this is a deal-breaker for you, get it on the table now before it’s too late.
- What about our kids? Even if your partner skips mass more times than he goes, that might not mean that he wants his kids to be the same way. He might envision a big christening and baptism, while you’d rather skip the whole religious side of families. Talk now about whether you want your children raised in faith, and how much of a role religion will play in their lives.
- What role will our families play in our life? Whether you love your in-laws and simply grin and bear them, you should talk with your partner about how much of a role they will play in your life. Does he have a standing weekly dinner with them, or is he more of a ‘See you on Christmas’ type?
- What will we do on holidays? Speaking of Christmas, it’s a good idea to talk about how you want to spend the holidays. It sounds like a minor issue but it leads to hurt feelings and arguments every year. Find a plan that works for you—Chanukah with his family, Passover with his family, etc.
- What are your dreams? If your partner has a secret desire to go to culinary college or to start his own reggae band, now is the time to talk about those dreams as well as share your own dreams for the future. Talk about what sacrifices you feel comfortable making in order to make them happen (like skipping on nights out to pay for school) and what sacrifices you don’t feel comfortable making (like putting off children for 5 years).
- How many kids do you want to have, and how many? This is a simple one but make sure that you are completely honest about how you feel. Sometimes couples say ‘yes’ to kids simply because they love babies and adorable kids, but the reality of the time, money, and energy that it takes to raise children can sometimes cause pause later down the road. Talk this through and decide how you want to handle that stress—will one of you be a stay-at-home parent or will you each keep your careers?
- What do you think about our sex life? Most couples have sex before they walk down the aisle, and many even live together. However, this doesn’t mean that their sex lives are perfect and trouble-free. Address any sexual issues in the moment (i.e. I wish you’d initiate sex more or Let’s make a commitment to be more romantic), and make a pact to do so in the future as well.
By tackling these conversations before you walk down the aisle, you can avoid future arguments down the road and ensure that your marriage will be happy and healthy.