Pre-marriage Discussion

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This list will help prepare you for the loops and dips in your relationship.
This list will help prepare you for the loops and dips in your relationship.

Ah love! Isn’t it the best? Finally finding that someone who really “gets” you, someone you want to spend every day for the rest of forever with, someone you feel totally comfortable around but who still gives you jitters. Nothing quite like young love.

It’s pretty easy to get swept up in it. It’s easy to ride the feel good roller coaster and enjoy it, whether we see a few dips ahead or not. But now I want to stomp on your feel goods just a little. What you don’t understand in your love drunk state is that some of those dips ahead have the potential to derail you.

I don’t like being the downer here but I’ve always stood firmly on the “realist” side of pessimism and optimism. “There is water in a glass” is my view of the half full/half empty conundrum, “why are we debating about it?” So, with my somewhat tactless nature, I’m here to rain on your rainbows.

Just because someone understands you or makes you feel good, doesn’t mean you should marry them. I realize marriage isn’t where everyone heads these days but that’s the term I’ll use. If you want to substitute in your mind move in with, or date long term, or raise kids together, or whatever, go for it. When I say marriage, you insert whatever your long term goals are.

But I would suggest considering marriage.

Because, if you aren’t willing to make that big of a commitment to them or they aren’t willing to make that big of a commitment to you, what are you doing together anyway?

Sorry, tangent. Back on track now. (Ha, get it – track… I was talking roller coasters… haha yeah…) I want to help you look ahead and see the bumps and dips that might cause your relationship some pretty serious issues so you can honestly discuss them with your significant other before you make things permanent. My husband and I had a very long, very unromantic conversation involving a lot of these things when we were dating. By the end of it, he proposed. Just sayin’.

Some of these are things I’ve seen derail others and some are discoveries we’ve made along the way that threw us for a loop. I’m only trying to help. Don’t blame me if your conversation leads to a devastating breakup. Just know that at least it didn’t end up being a devastating divorce after 10 years of marriage. Oh, look at that optimism!

Questions to Ask Before You’re Stuck:

  • How do you handle money? Do you have a budget? Do you like to spend or save? What part do you want to play as far as money is concerned? Banker? Borrower? Contributor? Do you want joint bank accounts or separate? How do you feel about debt?
  • What are your feelings on homemakers vs the woman working full or part time? What are the woman’s duties in the home based on your previous answer? The man’s duties in the home? (Include children and their care when considering this.)
  • Do you want children? How many? How far apart? Are you open to this changing once we actually have some kids and see how parenting works from the inside?
  • What is an appropriate way to discipline children? Do you believe in spanking? Do you want us to use the same methods or do you care if we do things differently? How do we change as the children grow? What if our first preference is ineffective? How do we proceed?
  • What type of lifestyle do you want? Rich? Middle-class? Poor? City, small town, or country? Pets? Hobbies? Do you want a certain “feel” to our home?
  • Where do you see future employment taking you? Will things change drastically? Do you know “what you want to be when you grow up” or are you still figuring that out? Are you ok with your answers here?
  • How do you feel about vacations? Big or small? Frequent or rare? Or never? Resorts, activities, camping, stay-cation? Do you like to travel? To what extent?
  • What kinds of food do you like? Healthy or junky or somewhere inbetween? Spicy? Bland? Do you prefer eating out or home cooking? Who is responsible for food, from grocery shopping to making reservations?
  • Will “date night” happen? If yes, how often? Once a week? Once or twice a year?
  • How do you feel about events such as birthdays and holidays and anniversaries? Would you like to celebrate (or lack of) them and how? How big or small? How much money can/should we spend?
  • Do you want to give your children allowances? Pay for their college? Help them get jobs? Give them separate rooms or make them share? How about chores?
  • What religious beliefs do you hold? Can these compromise? If you both have different religions, what will you do about children and church?
  • Do you have any really bad habits or big secrets?
  • Do you have the same moral standards? How do you feel about swearing for instance?
  • What are your deal breakers? (Things you simply can’t tolerate in a person.)pre-marriage-discussion

Both of you need to honestly answer all of these questions. And the best part? You don’t have to agree on everything like a couple of robots. You can disagree, discuss, compromise. (It’s good to practice now because you’ll be doing it a lot once you’re married.) This isn’t intended to force one of you into agreeing with the other but to help you see the other for who he/she really is. See if you can get on board with each other’s idea of work or children.

If you can’t, no matter how great your significant other is, you don’t belong together. When real life hits and you come up against these problems and the twittery feeling left 2 years ago, what will keep you together? Real relationships are built on supporting each other through the boring, unromantic things on this list. If you can’t see yourselves being able to do that, why are you together now?

So now that I’ve been a dream crusher for some and a dream maker for others, what other questions or topics would you add to this list? I’m sure I didn’t get them all. What are other important things to consider when you’re about to take the marriage plunge?

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5 thoughts on “Pre-marriage Discussion

  • April 9, 2016 at 5:22 pm

    Great list. And although it seems unromantic, these things are critical to talk about before making a lifelong commitment. I would add, “what is your relationship with your parents & siblings like?” and “what kinds of things stress you out?” If you can actually observe these things first hand, that’s even better, but your partner’s relationships with their own family will tell you a lot about how they’ll be with yours, and the stress thing will eventually come up, and how you both react will be important to know. Thanks for a thoughtful and important post!

    • April 9, 2016 at 7:49 pm

      Oh those are great suggestions!! Those are two things that could definitely cause some problems. Thanks!

  • April 10, 2016 at 7:25 pm

    Yes! It’s so easy to get swept up in the romance of it all, but you have to be on the same page once that fades away. Great post 🙂

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