Becoming engaged is very exciting. It is easy to spend all your time fantasizing about and planning your wedding during this time. All your time can quickly become consumed with wedding talk, plans, and ideas. But no matter how exciting your upcoming wedding is, you must remember that it is only one day. Sure, it is one special day that creates memories you will cherish for the rest of your life, but it is only one day. You need to ensure that you can create a fantastic marriage once the wedding is over.
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During your wonderful engagement period, you should take some time to ensure 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.
Seven major points of contention 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 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 sexually 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 significant 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 for the rest of your lives. Do you think your sex life will be the same in the first year, 5 years in, or 25 years? Are you prepared to deal with the changes?
More importantly, are you prepared to discuss it throughout your marriage? Your 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 realize that you may need 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 has 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 career 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 of 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 and 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-style 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 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 there a specific requirement like a chef's kitchen, a walk-in closet, or a master bedroom?
Will your 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 wish to have children anymore? Besides those questions, you may also like to discuss what will 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 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 much 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 doctor's 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 understand what is fair and makes both of you happy.
Does the number of hours you each work outside the home decide who does what inside? Is one of you a better cook than the other? Will that person take up the cooking responsibilities while the other is on the job 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 marriage can span forty or fifty years or more. Don't ignore significant differences and think you can just live with them. It doesn't work that way.
Initially, this article only featured 7 significant questions or topics – but I think it is essential to understand that we live in a changing world, and what partners need to discuss and be on the same page with has changed over the years. Here are a few more considerations.
We live in a highly political world where people on other sides of the political spectrum can not meet in the middle and usually do not like each other very much. Talk about your politics and how they can affect your future. If one or both of you have strong political stances overall or on hot-button issues, it would be best to understand that now.
Where you each stand on hot-button issues should be known. This includes things like abortion, birth control, and gun control. These are not only issues that could affect how you see each other, but they can come into play in your daily lives.
We all have personal values and morals we want to live by. If yours do not line up, this can be an issue. For instance, if you believe in treating all people equally, but your partner does not tip service workers or thinks certain people are beneath them (or even shows it), how will that make you feel? You are getting into a long-term relationship with this person, which may even include children. Whose values and morals will be taught?
How will you live regarding medical decisions going forward? Is either of you against vaccinations? If so, and you have kids, who gets to decide their medical-related decisions and care?
Most people get married in their 20's or 30's, and emergency care is not a thought. However, things happen. What if one of you gets in an accident? What does the other want? DNR? All live-saving techniques applied? If one of you dies suddenly, what does the other want? Cremation or burial? Wake, Memorial of Funeral.
Most couples are not on an island. What if a sibling or parent wants to move in because they can no longer physically care for themselves or can not afford to?
What if a sibling or friend dies with children and they left them to you? Would you both be okay with taking them in and possibly adopting them?
Religion is always a big issue and can come into play as soon as you start planning the wedding. This can color where you get married and what type of ceremony you have. If you have children and two different religions, which religion if any, will they be raised in?
Does either of you have any viewpoints outside of what society would consider normal? For instance, if one of you believes that the earth is flat? Are both of you open to the other viewpoints, or could this be a game changer?
How will you deal with money if one of you is a stay-at-home parent or spouse? Will the money still be family money, or will the "working" spouse dictate what the other can have access to? If one person stays home, does that mean the other can go to work, go out, and have no responsibilities towards their spouse, home, or possible kids?
When one person reads this type of article alone, they form opinions. They often genuinely believe their spouse will completely agree with them on everything. However, you will be surprised how often this is not the case.
Congratulations on your upcoming wedding! However, I implore you to sit down with this article and your spouse and go over each and every point within this article to make sure you are on the same page AND, if you are not, how you will deal with that.
One more thing.
Please remember, marriage is supposed to be forever. Even if in your 20s and 30s you are both on the same page, this does not mean you always will be. People grow and change. We are a product of our environment and life experiences. Change is inevitable, which is why it is so vital to at least know where the two of you stand at the beginning of this lifelong journey.