From finance to kids and deal-breakers, here are the questions to ask before getting married.
There is something undoubtedly beautiful about watching a new couple make a public commitment to each other, which is why weddings are so full of magic. They signal a life full of happily ever afters, where all you need is love! The reality, however, doesn’t always work out that way. That’s because life is hard, and marriage, for better or worse, requires much more than just romance.
As such, before you get carried away with exclaiming “I do”, it’s important to have an honest discussion with your partner about any and all issues that may come up after the wedding. You want to know as much as possible before you commit to each other for life! With this in mind, we’ve listed eight questions to ask before getting married to help get the discussion started.
1. What Does Marriage And Commitment Mean To You?
In love, it’s normal to make assumptions – we all do. Relationships are an endless stream of unconscious and unspoken agreements. Before you head to the altar, it’s a good idea to ensure you know exactly what these rather subjective concepts really mean to you both. In short, take time to align your expectations so neither of you are disappointed in the future.
2. How Will We Handle Our Finances?
Most couples end up arguing about money at one point or another, but in most cases, it’s never really about how much you have, who’s making more of it or who’s better at saving. The key thing to ask yourselves here is where you both stand in your attitudes towards money. What does it actually mean to you to have money? Is it about security, or is it more about being able to enjoy life? We’re not saying you have to necessarily agree with each other (remember, real compatibility is about balance, so it may work out to be a good thing if you’re a big spender and your partner is a saver!). However, it’s important that you both feel comfortable with any differences you may have.
3. How Are We Going To Achieve Our Work/Life Balance?
A good measure of compatibility is when you and your partner feel you can complement each other in multiple aspects of your life. This includes agreeing on the role each of you assumes in the relationship and what you both want to prioritise. Spend some time talking about how you will split your attention between work and the role you take on at home, as well as how you will make time for each other as lovers and partners. This will become especially important if, or when, kids are added to the mix.
4. How Will We Balance Our Responsibilities?
Once you agree on the previous question, there’s also a need to clarify who does what around the house. One of the biggest domestic frustrations is if your partner is not pulling his or her weight when it comes to domestic chores or parental responsibilities. Most people rely on their partner to compensate for what they are not able to achieve – whether it is keeping up with the bills or fixing small things like electrical problems. Even though they may seem small, these issues (when accumulated), can blow up into huge arguments. To help avoid this, make clear agreements upfront about your roles and responsibilities.
5. What Do We Want For Our Children?
If you and your partner have decided that kids are in your future, it’s worth having a discussion about what that will look like, no matter how far away becoming parents may seem. After all, the second major source of conflict in most relationships revolves around parenting. Consistency and a shared vision on children’s education is fundamental, not only because it fosters a positive environment for the mental and emotional development of the child, but also because you are essentially modelling relationship skills they will use as adults. Before you make the decision to start a family together, ensure you are both on the same page when it comes to how you want your kid/s to be raised.
6. How Will We Handle Stress?
Life can sometimes feel like an endless collection of small or large frustrations and we will all feel the pressure of responsibilities at any given point. But we also have our own ways of dealing with this, and knowing what to do when your partner needs your support is a great way to alleviate this pressure. Ask your partner what their preferred stress coping mechanism is. What’s more, be clear about your own. FYI, oxytocin (the love hormone) is a great stress reliever and can be triggered by something as simple as a hug, so be sure to give them freely.
7. What Are Our Dealbreakers?
What are the things you are not willing to compromise on? Being clear about your boundaries and standards, and being able to communicate these clearly to your partner, is one of the keys to a successful long-term relationship. The reality is that each time we allow a behaviour that bothers us, we are educating our partner on how to treat us. Eventually, when we finally blow up because we cannot tolerate it anymore, it will come as a shock to them. Instead, be clear and upfront about what you are willing and not willing to accept, and make direct requests for how these requirements need to be met for you to be happy.
8. What Do You Really Want From This Relationship?
Finally, ask yourselves what you really want from this relationship. Spend hours, days or even months, talking about what you want your future to look like. Only when you’ve confirmed that you’re both on the same path should you start making plans for the future together.