14 Things to Talk About Before You Say I Do
“First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes a baby in the baby carriage.”
Okay, well that is all well and good…but at what point does this couple sit and talk about their expectations of what a marriage should entail? More and more couples exist who have not come to agreements, or even discussed certain wants or needs before they decide to get married. From household chores, to birthday and anniversary requirements these are questions that if coupled with a number of other items could cause major frustrations in a marriage.
So with the help of my tribe, we have created a list of things you and your partner should decide on BEFORE you get married:
1. How do you spend the holidays? If you both enjoy spending them with family, avoid confusion by deciding whose parents/family gets what holidays. Also discuss traditions, gift expectations and even spending to avoid any confusion that could disrupt your holiday fun.
2. Household chores and expectations. Take some time to designate a chore system that works for everyone. If you absolutely despise cleaning toilets, or your white laundry often comes out pink, discuss it with your partner so that there is no future confusion and everything gets accomplished.
3. What schools or activities do you want your children involved in? Do you want to make sure that your children learn a language, play a sport or take part in group activities? Were you once a girl scout or debutante and feel strongly about your children doing the same? Voice your hopes and wants for your children ahead of time, and listen to your partners as well.
4. Money. You absolutely have to talk about money. Talk about your views on using credit and your plans for savings and retirement. Talk about how it should be managed, whether your accounts will be shared and what happens if there is only one income. If either of you has debt prior to marriage, discuss how it will be paid off, and spending expectations and limitations for the future.
5. Do you want children? This is a HUGE one! Voice your wants in regards to whether or not your want children before you tie the knot. If you or your partner does not want children, do not marry them hoping that you will change their mind. Also, talk about how many you would want to have. It can even be beneficial to talk about what should happen if you have trouble conceiving. Do you agree on adoption, surrogacy? Check all of the boxes in regards to starting a family that could really put stress on a marriage.
6. Religious expectations? Do you practice different religions? Is it important that your partner converts, or are you willing to convert? Is religion important to you or not at all? Define your wants, and whether or not you want your family to have a relationship based in religion.
7. What are your non-negotiables? What things do you absolutely refuse to deal with from each other? Discuss the hard things. Is alcohol, gambling or drug abuse a non-negotiable for you? Are you willing to forgive adultery, or is that a marriage ender? Discuss your expectations up front.
8. Is there an expectation attached to appearance? Overtime it is natural for our appearance to change. Weight gain, hair loss and hair color are just a few on a long list. Does your partner expect you to always be dressed to the 9’s, or are you more comfortable in yoga pants and flip flops. Is your partner’s physicality important to you? Maybe extra weight is a sexual turn off for you. It is okay to acknowledge that you are attracted to certain things, but it is unfair to think that you can change something about your partner just because you married them. Talk about these things upfront to avoid hurt feelings in the future.
9.Triggers: Many of us have emotional baggage that we carry around, much of it stemming from our childhood and how we grew up.Take the time to talk about past situations that could become triggers for you or your partner. Determine how you will handle disagreements or emotional situations ahead of time. Is cursing or yelling a trigger? Discuss these with you partner to ensure understanding and common ground.
10. Friendships: Will there be rules or expectations in regards to establishing new friendships with those of the opposite sex? If so, talk about it. Determine what guidelines you want to have in establishing new friendships.
11. Privacy: Is there a level of expectation for privacy? Passwords, emails, phones, etc. What are you willing to share with each other.
12. Relationship Expectations: Do you have an idea of what kind of marriage you would like to have? Do you expect sex 2-3 times per week, or think it is important to have 1 outside date per week sans kids. Talk about this ahead of time.
13. Politics: They say politics make strange bedfellows. It can bring you together or absolutely tear you apart. With politics, often comes social and moral views, and these are often hot button issues. It is not necessary to align politically with your spouse, but if you don’t, make sure that you have guidelines about how you will agree to disagree.
14. Parenting Skills: How do you expect to parent your children? With so many different styles of parenting, it is important to not only discuss how you plan to raise your children but how to discipline as well. If you are entering the marriage with children from a previous relationship, make sure to discuss what type of role your partner should have as a step-parent.
Deciding to get married means that you are ready to lay all of your cards on the table. Being honest about who you are and what you want is integral to maintaining a healthy, and honest relationship.
Do you have any suggestions on things that a couple should discuss before saying I do? Comment below!