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5 things you should talk about before you get married.

5 things you should talk about before you get married.

If you are going to do life together, here are some important things you need to talk about before you tie the knot.

  1. Religion – These days religiously blended families are more frequently becoming the norm. Talk about your beliefs and understand where your partner stands. Faith and moral values might not seem like a big deal now, but religion and morals play a bigger role in marriage than some couples expect. When you are in love you may think it doesn’t matter or you’ll work it out as you go. But most problems start as the children arrive and you’re deciding how to raise them. Talk about your faith, and how you see it affecting your life together, if they differ, how do they differ? Do you expect your partner to change their religious views? What if you have children—what religious beliefs will you raise them with? Will your kid be baptized, circumcised, confirmed? What about religious education? Even if you are the same religion, how do you want to practice that religion as a couple/family.
  1. Personality style and love language – how do you handle conflict? Are you high strung or laid back? How do you make decisions? Do you need an answer now or do you take time to make decisions? What is your love language, what makes you feel loved? Do you like gifts, acts of service or just spending quality time? What is your argument style? do you get quiet or do you need to talk it out. (or talk it to death as my husband says). Conflicts are inevitable, make sure you understand and learn to accommodate each other’s way of managing conflict. If one of you doesn’t like to talk and the other feels the need to talk about it at the end of the day, try and adjust your behavior to accommodate the other, maybe talk in the morning when you are not so tired, if that makes it more doable for you. Find out what your partner needs and strive to achieve it, if you are both doing that, you will get through anything. And it’s okay to disagree on things. One person will get their way while the other has to let it go. Marriage is give and take.  Don’t hold grudges, accept it and move on.
  1. Pitter patter of little feet, and I don’t mean the dog (although that may be another discussion that needs to happen as well).- Now’s the time to discuss whether you want children. How many do you want? You might have 1 and say no more, or have 1 and feel you are open to whatever the Lord will bless you with. We have 7 and they are truly a blessing especially when the grandchildren come along. How will they be disciplined when they disobey? It may also be worth delving into what happens if kids don’t happen. Will you pursue fertility treatments, adoption, or choose to be childless? It’s also important to discuss how you will spend money on children. Talk about things like sending your children to public school versus private school or homeschooling, sports, music lessons and summer camp. Will you pay for their college or show them how to work for it. Just remember raising kids is a team sport.
  1. Establishing boundaries with your in-laws – Spend time with each other’s families. What is your prospective spouse’s relationship like with their parents and siblings, and can you live with that? Which family gets to spend which holiday together? Trying to fit in all the family in one day or weekend can be stressful. We alternate every other year, one year we are together and the next the kids are with their in-laws. If we have Christmas, the in-laws have Thanksgiving. What about the smaller holidays, like Mother’s Day and Father’s Day? Do your in laws have a key to your home and an open invitation to drop in? It’s not just physical boundaries, either. How much access will you give your families to personal and emotional information? Does your partner feel strongly either way that some things are meant to be private, like financial struggles or marital conflict? You are becoming one, if certain things are not to be shared with family, make sure you discuss it before hand, but also be prepared to talk to the other about issues, since you do not want it discussed with anyone else.
  1. Money and Your Careers – I saved the best for last because this is one of the biggest things married couples fight about, and one of the most common sources of stress and tension, (and divorce) is finances. Talk now to avoid a lot of arguments later. It’s important to be open with your partner about your debts. It’s also important to talk about and discuss your views on money and spending. Who will manage finances? Will finances be shared, separate? Its best to have joint accounts but if one of you is a spender and the other is a saver, you might do better to have a joint account for the bills and your own account for spending.  Make sure you have a budget and are living within, or better yet, below your means. figure out what works for you. Also talk about your career goals. Where do you want to be in five years? What type of work do you want to be doing and how much do you want to make? How many hours do you want to work?  Will you work when you have kids, go back to work after staying home with the kids, volunteer? Getting all this sorted out before you become one can help with money-related arguments and miscommunication later in your marriage.

Deal Breakers and Bucket Lists

If there’s anything else you know will drive you nuts in a marriage, it’s better to talk about it sooner rather than later. You should also talk about your dreams and goals that are important to you. Do you want to travel, start a business, volunteer someday?  Make sure your partner knows about your dream and is open to it. You’re about to marry your partner in life, and their support will be a foundation in everything you do—and vice versa.  But it’s okay to disagree on things, you might not share some of the same hobbies and pastimes, (I have been trying for 35 years to understand football) these might be things you do on your own or with a friend.  The key is making sure you’re both okay with how much time you spend apart, which is a normal and healthy part of any relationship.

 

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