You can get so excited about the prospect of a wedding that you don’t really think much about actual married life. If you don’t have the right conversations with your fiancé before the big day, you may be setting yourself up for a lot of disappointment and heartache after the big walk down the aisle. You need to take some time to have a few serious heart-to-hearts so you know you are both on the same page and can lay a foundation for a wonderful life together.
Here are a few things you need to do before you say the big “I Do:”
Talk about Kids
There is one constant when it comes to people, they change. And even if you are certain that you do not want kids, ever, that can change in an instant. You may not yet know if you want to have five kids or just one. But what you should know before getting married is whether or not you want to have kids at all and whether or not your fiancé wants to have kids at all.
This isn’t the kind of decision that you should take the “wait and see” approach with. Because what will happen if you decide that you are desperate to have kids but your spouse is adamantly opposed to parenthood? Those are the kinds of problems that end in divorce. Keep the lines of communication open. Discuss this topic often without nagging each other – after all, you will BOTH be raising your kids and teamwork is much easier when you are on the same team! One of the most misconceived notions about kids is that they will bring you closer together, so respect each other’s feelings on this topic even if you disagree.
Have a Financial Plan
One of the main reasons for couple splitting up is due to financial matters. While this is an avoidable problem, it will always be a topic of discussion. Will you share a bank account or keep separate accounts? How will you handle personal expenses? How will you handle savings? These are the things you need to talk about before you get married. Besides children, financial problems are one of the top reasons for divorce. Create a budget and decide on how you will divide up money between you and pay bills. This will change over time, of course, but you should have a plan going in.
Talk about Religion
This can be a touchy subject, especially if other family members become involved, but it is one that should be addressed early on. You should already know your fiancé’s religion. However, what you need to talk about is how important your respective religions will be to your married life. For example, if your fiancé is Jewish and you are not, will you be expected to attend synagogue or to keep a kosher kitchen? If you are Christian but your fiancé is atheist, will you both agree to raise your children in the church? You need to talk through these and other issues to determine the role that religion will play in your lives.
Agree on the Wedding
Weddings can be extremely expensive and although it is a once in a lifetime deal, there are definitely a few things that should be addressed BEFORE you start planning. The wedding itself can cause a lot of stress and conflict for couples. You may want a grand affair, but your fiancé may want something private and intimate. You may want to blow your savings on the once-in-a-lifetime event, but your fiancé may want to spend as little as possible. Make sure you are in agreement about the type of wedding you will have before you move forward with the planning.
Some people see marriage counseling as something that you do only when there are problems but nothing could be further from the truth! No one KNOWS how to be married and just like other subjects you study in school to learn how to become a doctor or vet, you NEED to learn how to be married. There are a lot of other issues you will need to think through for your wedding. Attending counseling together can help you work through all the issues in a positive and healthy way. Counseling can also teach you good communication skills, which will strengthen your marriage for years to come.
Do these things before you get married, and chances increase dramatically that you’ll have a long and happy marriage till death do you part!