To me, marriage is a lifelong commitment, so it's worth thinking it through, and since I know not everyone can afford counseling, here are ten important conversations you need to have with your partner before tying the knot.
Do you want children? If so, how many children do you want? And when do you want them? These can be deal breaker questions, but better to break off an engagement than end up having to file for divorce later. Also, remember when discussing children, especially if you have never been parents before, the amount you would like to have may or may not change. This could be due to financial, medical, or personal reasons, so consider all the “what ifs” when deciding to spend forever with someone just in case.
Another important thing to consider is infertility. What would be the outcome then? Would you be okay not having children at all? Would you go the medical route or are you okay with adopting?
Also if your partner already has children, you will want to discuss your expectations and roles should you become a stepparent, along with the possibility of adding more children to the mix.
If you decide to have kids, you will also want to discuss parenting styles. So many parents fight after they have kids because they don’t agree how to parent their children. By discussing ahead of time what your ideals are, you can help avoid parenting battles later on.
However, remember all children are different and will require different parenting styles, so, at this point, you are more so focusing on the big picture, such as do you believe in physical punishment, like spankings, or does one of you plan on being a stay at home parent?
How are you going to handle money as a couple? How many accounts do you want to have? Do you plan on having a joint account and that's it, or do you want separate spending accounts?
Make sure you discuss how you like to spend money. A good way to do this is to turn it into a game of "what's the most you will spend." For example: "What's the most you would spend on a car?" or "What's the most you will spend on a pair of jeans?" This will give you input on what your partner's spending habits might be as well as their standards. You will want to make sure you are on the same page or can compromise when it comes to spending money before getting married.
If one or both of you have debt, that is another thing to discuss as when married, you are combining your incomes, so you will have to be okay paying off the other's debt.
When you are married, spending time with families becomes a battlefield. Now is the time to decide how you are going to handle each other’s families. Who gets Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, etc? You could opt for doing every other year, which I know a few couples who do this.
However, if you have really demanding parents, then you will end up getting suckered into trying to see both over the holidays. This is one of the reasons I do not look forward to the holidays, so I wish you luck when making your battle plan!
5. Household Responsibilities (aka chores)
If you haven’t lived together before marriage then this is extremely important. You should make a list of who is in charge of what, from cooking to cleaning. However, even with the list, be prepared to have some fights as you may or may not like how the other person does things. If that’s the case, you will have to reassign chores as you go. In my opinion, it is better to switch chores if you don’t like how your partner is handling it rather than trying to get them to do it your way, or just let it go (when you become a parent, you will learn to let a lot of things go).
It is very important to make sure you are on the same page when it comes to household responsibilities as you will be living with this person for the rest of your life, so make sure you also consider how chores are going to be split if one of you eventually decides to be a stay home parent or if one of you does only work part time versus full time, etc.
How important is your religion to you? If you have different religions, are you okay with that and how do intend to handle it when you have children? If one of you is religious and the other is not, you need to be sure that you are both okay with whatever you decide to do, especially if you want your child to be raised a certain way.
If you aren't currently living together, then you probably haven't worked out what your expectations are when it comes to sex. Now is the time to figure out if your sex drives match up before you are stuck in a sexless marriage. You should also discuss porn and flirting. What are you okay or not okay with?
Remember, when marrying your partner, you are marrying his or her family as well. If you like your partner's parents, then great! For those who don't, it's not the end the world, but you will have to be okay with that. You will also have to be okay with how your partner handles his or her parents. If your partner doesn't stick up for you when you aren't married, it isn't going to change later.
What political party do you affiliate yourself with and does your partner feel the same way? Do you share the same morals and beliefs? Some hot-button issues that you may want to discuss are abortion, gay marriage, the death penalty, gun laws, etc. If you agree, then great, if not, you have to decide how important it is for you two to be on the same page when it comes to these issues. If you vote for different parties, it's also important that you are okay with this as well.
Just like with religion, some couples are able to separate politics from their marriage. It's up to you to determine if this is something you can or can't do.
If you already have pets of your own, then your partner and you are probably already are in agreement that they will live with the pet as well. However, if you don't have pets, but plan to in the future, now is the time to discuss what kind of pets and how many pets you are okay with having. Also, in both cases, you will want to figure out who is responsible for what (things like cat litter or walking the dog).
Attribution: Image used in blog post photo does not belong to me and was found on Canva.