Marriage is a big step in a couple’s lives. The best way to set yourselves up for a successful partnership, is to tackle the difficult subjects before getting married. This can be uncomfortable. But it truly is the best way to see the compatibility and goals of both as individuals and as a couple.
Statistically speaking there are a few topics that are generally important for two people to discuss during their pre-marital phase.
- How to solve conflict
- Long Term Goals
Disagreements around finances is one of the leading causes of divorce. If you’ve ever spoken to your partner about money, you can probably understand why. Each person has grown up with different values, habits, and goals attached to their finances.
It’s important to come together, and lay everything on the table. Do either of you have debt currently or in the past? What is the plan to pay off that debt? What are your individual spending habits? How much will you save? Do you have the same long term goal for retirement? Will you have joint accounts or separate accounts? Who will be the primary person responsible for the finances?
Do you want children? Does your partner want children? If yes, how many? When? Be honest about what you see your future looking like, and what you want or don’t want. Fundamentally people usually know their stance on children, and often do not change their mind. If one partner has hopes that the other will change their mind in the future, it can set you both up for a lot of heartbreak and hurt.
Having in-laws can be a blessing or an added stress to a relationship. How close are you with your family? Do you expect your family to be a big part of your lives as a couple? How will you spend the holidays? How important is it that your spouse and your family get along?
How to solve conflict
Every couple fights. But learning how to solve your disagreements and communicate effectively is key. Ask each other: How do we handle conflict? Do we both want to learn how to solve the conflict or do we choose to ignore it? Are we willing to listen to the others point of view? Are we hoping our partner will change? Is it easy for us to forgive our partner when they have hurt us?
Each partner probably has individual expectations for themselves. Now it’s time to discuss the expectations of the other, and the expectations as a couple. Learning how to solve small things like: who does the laundry? Who does the grocery shopping and cooks? How clean do we expect each other to be?
And then there can also be bigger expectations: do we expect our partner to work less and spend more time at home? Do we expect a certain salary of each other? How do we add value and fulfillment to each others lives?
Long Term Goals
Having the same long term goals can be a really important factor for a couple. Where do we see ourselves in 10 years? Do we have a savings goal? Do we want to buy a house? Do we want to make time for travel? What age do we hope to retire?
If the communication lines are healthy and effective in your relationship early on, it can be really helpful when difficult times arise throughout your marriage. Every couple will go through difficult times, it is how you both recover from those difficult times that sets the tone for a great life together.