If you’re getting married, you and your partner probably have a lot of things in common: friends, hobbies, interests, experiences, and values. Yet communication is the key to ongoing harmony in any relationship. Professional matchmaker Julia McCurley of Something More suggests ten essential points that every couple should make sure to talk about before you get married.
Regardless if you are married or not, money is often tied up with all kinds of emotional importance, and it can carry the weight of its association with everything from freedom, to security, to autonomy, to power and status. The more you talk about it, and the more honest you are with yourselves and each other about what you bring to the table in terms of your money attitudes and how differences can be resolved, the better foundation you build in your marriage.
We Are Family
This one is huge and should be taken seriously. Before you get married, you need to talk about whether you want to have children, and, if so, how many and how you will raise them. For instance, how long do you want to wait before having kids and what will be your parenting style?
Minding the Home Front
So much goes into keeping a household running smoothly. There’s never-ending laundry and dishes to do, toilets to scrub, bills to pay, meals to cook, and groceries to buy. It’s a good idea, therefore, to talk about who will be doing what after you get married. For example; how do bill-paying responsibilities work, what’s the division of household chores, and what are your standards of cleanliness?
In-laws or Outlaws?
Everyone’s life is easier if you happen to love your in-laws (and vice versa). But no matter how you feel about your respective families, you will need to decide how you will incorporate them into your lives. How much time do you expect to spend with them once you’re married, and how much time do you expect your spouse to spend with them? Also, how do you plan to give both sets of families fair time with you and your children during the major holidays?
Working Nine to Five
If you’re both working, there’s a chance that at some point, one person’s career might have to take a back seat so that the mate’s career might move forward. But it’s unfair to simply assume that your partner will back down on their career aspirations. Talk about it in the early stages of your relationship to make sure there are no last-minute surprises. How committed are you to your career (do you work to live or live to work?) and how willing are you to make sacrifices in your career for a better work/life balance?
There is a wide variance in how much time people need to themselves or with their friends. So, how well do your styles fit together? Big differences can be accommodated if there is respect and understanding. But if it’s never talked about, differences in expectations may lead to resentful feelings. Continuing your independent social lives may be important – but how will you make sure you have quality time together, too?
Here’s Your Hat, What’s Your Hurry?
Knowing how each other handles conflict and understanding how the two of you work together in these situations can help you avoid unmet expectations and allow you to handle tense situations in a much more effective way. This can seriously be marriage-saving stuff. So, how will you resolve conflict and how willing are you/your partner to examine recurring conflicts and make changes?
The one person you should absolutely confide all of your incredible life goals in is the person you’re planning on spending the rest of your life with! Questions to ask before you get married would be: where do you want to be on your 10th wedding anniversary and what do you want your life to be like? Where is your ideal place to live and how do you plan on supporting each other so you both achieve the goals you have?
Let’s Get Busy
What’s the point of being a couple if you can’t talk openly about intimacy? Marriage will be a tough road if you and your partner aren’t compatible when it comes to that. How does each of you like to show intimacy and caring, and what does each of you need to feel loved and cared for?
Out of Bounds
Essentially, boundaries are your views on what is okay and what is not okay when it comes to your relationship and marriage. Suggested scenarios you should talk about before marriage are having friends of the opposite sex, spending time with extended family members and sharing alone time with people of the opposite sex at work.
Your love and hard work will make your marriage a true success.
Julia McCurley is a Professional Matchmaker and founder of Something More, Austin’s premier personalized matchmaking service for elite singles. She has been featured on many media outlets such as Fox, NBC, ABC and CBS affiliates as well as many prominent publications seeking her expertise and relationship advice. She is a Huffington Post blogger and has had her blogs featured on other sites such as Digital Romance, She Knows, Emlovz and The Good Men Project. She has been creating happy couples since 2099.