Getting married is a big step. Not only is a symbolic moment that tells the world that you are your partner want to be together forever, but it’s also the moment when you decide to combine your lives together. Even if you’ve lived together, marriage is still a big step. Not only are you sharing a home, but you’re sharing your entire lives not just now but forever. Therefore, before you decide to get married, there are a few conversations that you should have.
Talking about marriage before you get married isn’t a bad thing. In fact, it’s a very important thing. The more you know about one another, the happier your marriage will be. And, don't worry, the proposal can still be a surprise, even if you've discussed marriage before!
Money and Debt
Money issues are a big part of a relationship and problems with money are one of the main reasons that couples have disagreements. This includes how you spend, how much you have saved, how much debt you have, and more. You don’t want to go into a marriage without a clear idea of one another’s financial situation. If one of you (or both of you) has a lot of debt, or a poor credit rating, or a bankruptcy in your history, this can affect your future together. It could be more difficult to buy a home, for instance. If you discuss all of your financial details before you get married, you’ll know what to expect from one another and from your own future.
It’s also important to talk about how you handle your personal finances. This includes how you budget, how much you save, where you spend your money, and more.You should also discuss how the two of you will manage money in the future. Will you be splitting your costs 50/50? Will you combine your money into a single bank account? Do you have another idea in mind? There isn’t necessarily a “right answer” here, but it’s important that you talk about it.
Children are another big topic to discuss. The first thing you’ll need to address is whether or not you want to have children. It can be a big problem if one person in a marriage pictures having kids while the other knows they do not want them. If both of you want to have kids, you’ll also want to talk about when you’d like to have them. Some people hope to start a family shortly after the get married while others will want to wait a while.
Do you have any big goals that you’d like to accomplish in your life? For instance, some people dream of travelling, moving to a different city, starting a business, or doing a wide variety of other things with their life. Other people are content to stay where they are and put down roots. You’ll need to figure out what you’d both like to accomplish and experience in your lives and come up with a plan that hopefully allows both of you to achieve your dreams.
Our careers are a big part of our lives. Unfortunately, sometimes our career goals and ambitions don’t exactly meld with everything else we have going on. For instance, does one partner plan on working long hours for the next few years in hopes of getting a big promotion? If so, how does the other partner feel about that? When do the two of you hope to retire? Some people want to work until they're no longer able, while others may want to retire early. This decision will affect your financial planning. Also, if you’re planning on having kids, will one of you take time off work to be home with them? Be honest with each other about what you want and how you hope to achieve it.
Religion and Values
Religion is a big aspect of life for many people. If the two of you come from different religious backgrounds or have different religious beliefs, can you find a way to make them work with one another? For instance, if one of you attends religious services regularly while the other doesn’t, is it important that both people attend? What about religious conflicts, such as special occasions that overlap? How will you handle these situations?
Even if neither of you follow particular religions, your values are still important. Talk about what matters to you and what is important about life. You’ll want to make sure your values and morals are compatible.