Becoming engaged is very exciting. During this time it is easy to spend all your time fantasizing and planning your wedding. All your time can easily become consumed with wedding talk, wedding plans and wedding ideas. But no matter how exciting your upcoming wedding is you have to remember that it is only one day. Sure, it is one special day that creates memories that you will cherish for the rest of your life, but it is only one day. You need to make sure that once the wedding is over you are able to create a fantastic marriage.
During your wonderful engagement period you really should take some time to make sure your marriage turns out just like you want it to. It really does not matter how long you have been with your fiancé or even if you already live together, there are some questions you should address.
There are seven major points of contention that can make or break a marriage over time: sex, career demands, living location, money/finances, household chores, individual pet peeves and whether or not both of you want children. You may feel like you already know the answers to these questions but things change over time and most of these things are night subjects that you have talked about in depth.
Are your sexual preferences compatible? Have both of you been tested for sexual transmitted diseases? If not get tested together. What about your sexual compatibility? Do you like having sex at the same times of the day? Do you both want sex the same amount of times a week?
Sex is a major part of married life. You need to know that you are both on the same page. Even if you think everything is fine, open communication is a big part of any good relationship, especially marriage. Therefore you should have an open and honest talk about sex with your fiancé before you walk down the aisle.
You should also discuss what you expect from your sex life throughout your marriage. If you have committed to marriage, that is for the long haul, ideally the rest of your lives. Do you think your sex life will be the same in the first year, 5 years in, 25 years in? Are you prepared to deal with the changes?
More importantly are you prepared to discuss it throughout your marriage? You needs and desires can change throughout your life depending on many factors including age, mental state, how tired you are, whether or not you have children, stress inside and outside of the home, etc. It is a good idea to come to terms with that now and to realize that you may need to have open communication in your marriage to make sure you can compromise or at the very least understand where each of you is coming from.
Before you get married you should discuss your career plans. Having a two career household can put a strain on the relationship. If either one of you have aspirations of climbing the ladder in the career you are in you should discuss this as this may involve long hours at the office instead of at home. Also discuss if future business plans include going out of town and overnight or longer stays away from home.
There are many aspects of your careers you should discuss. Where do you see yourself in 5 years, 10 years and 20 years? How may your salary change? What work expectations will you or your spouse have? Will work include long hours, weekends, travel or relocation? Do you and your future spouse live to work or work to live? How do your attitudes towards your careers coincide or differ? If they differ how will you deal with it? For instance, is relocating not an option for one or you or if one of you needs to spend a lot of time at the office is the other one willing to pick up the slack on the homefront?
Where will you live? Before getting married you need to discuss where the two of you will live in detail, this is important even if you live together now. Cover all the questions that could come up in the immediate future as well as throughout life. Your career situation and financial situation will change over time. How will this change your living situation?
Do you want to live in a rural setting, the city or the suburbs? Do you want to live in an apartment, a condo or a home? Do you want a ranch styles living situation or multiple floors.
When is your dream living situation? How far are you willing to commute to work? Are you planning to stay in the city you live in now forever or do you either want to move or are you willing to move?
How many bedrooms do you want? Bathrooms? Square feet? What is too small? What is too large? Is their a specific requirement you have like a chefs kitchen, a walk in closet or a master bedroom?
Will you needs change over time? For instance, if you have children do you have different requirements like living in the suburbs close to hospitals, doctor offices, grocery stores and shopping centers or being in a specific school district?
Think about what you want now and in the future and discuss this together. You need to know going in what compromises might be necessary.
Children are always a big question that couples need to discuss. You need to find out if you both want children. If so do you want the same amount of children? Discuss how soon after marriage you want to begin having children. Is there an age you do not want to have children anymore? Besides those questions you may also want to discuss what is going to happen once the children arrive. If you have children will one of you stay home to take care of them? If not who will care for your children while you are at work? Can you afford childcare or is there a family member who can be responsible for childcare during the day?
If you do decide to have children your discussion should not end there. It is great if you both decide to wait 5 years and only have a few kids. Your discussion is just beginning. Having a family is a lot more than how many kids to have and when to have them. There are so many things to discuss. For instance, are you both going to all doctors appointments? Do you have the same beliefs when it comes to medical decisions? How about education? Participation in athletics or the arts? Religious Study? Education? Child rearing styles? Are you getting an idea of all the different things you want to discuss?
Money is another reason why couples fight. Discuss money in detail. Who will pay the bills? Will there be a budget. Will the marriage begin with large amounts of debt? How will you take care of that? How will you save for retirement?
Can you spend the money any way you want or do you both have a certain amount of money you are aloud to spend weekly or monthly? Is there a dollar amount you should not spend without consulting the other?
No one wants to do chores but they need to be done. Chores include everything from laundry, grocery shopping, cleaning and cooking. Discuss how the chores will be divided and try to come to an understanding which is fair and makes both of you happy.
Does the amount of hours you each work outside of the home decide who does what inside? Is one of you a better cook then the other? Will that person take up the cooking responsibilities while the other is in chart of cleanup?
It does not matter how wholly and completely you love someone there will
be at least one thing about that person that annoys you. Settle any pet
peeves you have with the other person now. Bring up pet peeves and talk
openly. Talk now when feelings are not going to be hurt.
When you are discussing these questions and you get "that feeling" that makes you feel uneasy or that you should have said "no" instead of "yes" when one of you popped the question, slow things down and rethink your pending marriage.
A wedding is an event, while a marriage can span forty or fifty years, or more. Don't ignore major differences and think that you can just live with them. It doesn't work that way.
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