Getting married is a big deal. It’s a lifetime legal and emotional commitment, and it’s definitely not something to just decide to do on a whim. When you decide to permanently join your life to someone else’s, there are a lot of important things that you will need to discuss with the person you’ve chosen to make your life partner, and likely some compromises will need to be made. Here’s some topics that every couple should talk about before marriage, so you can make sure that you are truly compatible for each other.
1. Will you have children? How will you raise them?
Having kids is just as big of a commitment as getting married is, and it’s something that every couple needs to discuss before they tie the knot. Some couples want kids, some don’t, but it’s one thing that can’t really be compromised on. So it’s extremely important to get your feelings on children out in the open before marriage. Do you both want kids? And, just as importantly, how would you raise them? There are many different parenting styles out there, and it’s important to make sure you and your groom aren’t polar opposites.
2. How will you deal with each other’s families?
Whether you like them or not, your in-laws are about to become a major part of your life, if they aren’t already. The word “family” no longer applies to just your blood relatives, but all those relatives of the man you’re marrying. Before walking down the aisle, it’s time to discuss your families. Just how much involvement do you want with each other’s relatives? Whose house will you spend Christmas at, your mom’s or his? How much influence will your parents and his parents have on your children, if you should have them? In-laws can be a sticky issue, so make sure to start navigating the situation early.
3. How will finances be handled?
A lot of couples choose to completely join and share their finances once they wed. Others prefer to keep them separate. How will you and your husband-to-be deal with it? Will you have a shared bank account, and treat all income as totally mutual funds? If not, what about bill paying? Who will take care of what? If you decide to keep your money separate, then you’ve got to work out together how to pay the important bills and expenses—rent, utilities, car payment, honeymoon expenses, etc. Once you share a home, you’re sharing a lot of things and need to discuss who is paying for them.
4. Will you both work?
While it used to be pretty much a standard that the man would work and bring home the money while the wife stayed at home and managed the household, it’s not such a given anymore. What are your plans for after the wedding? Do you plan to work, or are you hoping to be solely the homemaker? Not all couples see eye to eye on this, so make sure to talk about this before getting married. If you want to get a job or continue working if you have one already, make sure he’s not going to be against this. On the other hand, if you want to be a stay-at-home wife, discuss whether you will be able to afford having only one of you work, and what will be his expectations from you if you don’t.
5. How will you handle housework?
Ugh, housework. I don’t know anyone who actually enjoys doing it, but not only will it continue to exist after marriage, there will be double the amount! Twice as many dishes, twice as much laundry, twice as much mess! If you’re both planning to work, then the chores will likely become a shared responsibility. So discuss just how much of the household workload you will each be expected to care for, or if you will be hiring outside help to keep your house tidy. Perhaps one or both of you would prefer to hire a helper to manage the house chores so you can just relax when at home, but will it fit into your budget?
6. What are your views on religion?
The very controversial topic of religion needs to be treated with love and respect, but definitely needs to be talked about. If you and your groom practice the same religion, great! Even so, though, you might have varying levels of devotion or different interpretations of certain aspects, so make sure you can at least respect each other’s views, if not share them. This doubly applies if you are marrying someone of a different faith. Remember that you both have the right to believe in what you think is right, and treat his beliefs with the same respect you want him to treat yours with.
7. What are your thoughts on pets?
While most people will coo when they see an adorable baby puppy or kitten, not everyone wants to actually take care of one. For some people, this might be a deal-breaker. If one of you is an animal lover and the other isn’t, or worse, is allergic to animal fur, how will this be managed? As an animal lover myself, my life would feel pretty empty if I didn’t have my three dogs and two cats to come home to every night. While not quite as big of a responsibility as having children, having pets is still something important to discuss. Taking care of them requires time and money, are both you and your beau willing to give the devotion required when having a cat or dog around?
8. What are your deal-breakers?
Every person has certain things that they just will not compromise on, no matter what. Share yours with your husband-to-be, and learn what his are. Make sure you don’t have any giant red-flag incompatibilities that might come up somewhere down the road. Talk about everything that’s important to you and your expectations of each other, what you expect to get out of your marriage. Outline your views on infidelity – what’s the line you’ve drawn that constitutes as cheating? What can you just not put up with from your man? Make sure he knows and can deliver what you need.
9. Do you know each other’s pasts?
Before getting married, coming clean about your pasts with each other is an absolute must. There should be no secrets in a marriage, so don’t start off with some already hidden. Now is the time to talk about your past and tell him everything. Not talking about something doesn’t make it go away, so it’s best to come clean and share everything before it comes back to haunt you later. Perhaps one of you has had past issues with drugs or alcoholism, a history of depression, maybe even a previous marriage. All these things can be overcome together as long as you’re open and honest, so make sure to have a good, honest foundation to build your marriage upon.
10. What are your dreams for the future?
Some of us dream small, just wanting a simple life, a family, someone to come home to every night. Others have dreams that might be a bit harder to achieve such as traveling to other countries or making a big difference in the world. Whatever your dreams are, you deserve a husband that will not only support them but help you to achieve them, so don’t settle for anything less. Talk about your dreams, what you hope to achieve in the future, and make sure he won’t try to hold you back for any reason. Equally important, learn what his goals are and make sure you can do the same for him.
Marriage is never going to be easy, but by making sure you’re on the same page about such important issues as these, you will save a lot of trouble and heartache down the road. The man you marry should be compatible with you on most major issues, and you don’t want to find out that he’s not after you’ve already been married. These topics are things you absolutely should talk about with your husband-to-be to ensure that you can support each other, compromise when needed, and have a long, happy marriage.