Congratulations if you are already engaged! Marriage is a big milestone in your life. It’s both thrilling and scary at the same time. To remove the scary from the equation, a good idea is to have ‘the talk’ with your partner before marriage.
Things to Discuss with your partner before marriage
Some things you need to discuss with your partner before saying your vows are:
This might be the last thing you want to discuss with your partner, but it’s actually the first thing you should discuss after getting engaged. Even before you decide on the kind of wedding you want to have.
Once you get married, you will be sharing a home. This means a lot of your expenses will be shared expenses. How do you plan on sharing those expenses? Who will pay the bills? When it comes to bill paying and expenses, the responsibility traditionally lies with the male. But with the evolving modern family structure, it’s always a good idea to have the discussion beforehand.
Some couples go for joint accounts. Will you be applying for joint accounts? How do you plan to support children, if you have them?
Many people assume that children will naturally follow after they get married. But not everyone wants children. They don’t believe children are necessary to complete their family. Not having this discussion before marriage could lead to major disappointments.
Talk about how many children both of you want. How do you plan on raising those children? If either of you already has children of your own, you might want to discuss the roles both of you will have. How do the exes factor in that situation?
Before marriage, you probably both have a career that takes up a big part of your life. Once you are married, do you expect each other to make any changes in their work routine? Discuss both short term and long term plans. Discuss what happens when you have children if you plan to have any. Who will take primary responsibility of the children and who will offer financial support?
Where Will You Live?
This is another very important question that you should ask even before the engagement. You both probably have your own places. Will you be moving in with your partner or will your partner move?
A good idea is to base your answer on which place is more practical. You might want a bigger place once you get married and start a family. Consider the commute distance to work. If you are living in rentals, who will be responsible for paying the rent.
This might seem like a sensitive topic to approach, but if you are going to spend your entire life together you need to clear about each other’s financial history. Almost everyone takes out debt at some point in their lives. It’s nothing to feel guilty about.
If any of you have any outstanding debts, discuss who is going to pay for it. Will it affect your chances of getting a joint loan later on? You might want to talk to a financial advisor if there has been hard inquiries or late payments related to your outstanding debts.
Read more: how to get hard inquiries off credit report
Some cultures and families expect the wife to change her last name and adopt the husband’s name after marriage. What is your stance when it comes to name change?
I would suggest letting the wife decide on whether she wants to change her name or not. Don’t let a simple thing such as a name change put a damper on your marriage from the start.
Religion is often a big thing for some people. Even if you don’t put much weight on religion, it’s a good thing to have the discussion before you take your big step. How religious are you both? Do you expect your partner to follow certain rituals and celebrate holidays? And the most important question is, what religion would you want your children to follow?
Role of Extended Families
The general rule of thumb is that in-laws don’t bond very well with their child’s partner. If that’s the case with your in-laws, you might want to discuss how they factor in your marriage equation. How often will you be expected to meet with them? What kind of a relationship do you want each other to have with their in-laws?
My suggestion is, be honest. You don’t have to be harsh, but communicate your feelings with your spouse.
Division of Duties
Who will be washing the dishes? Who cooks? Who will do the mountains of laundry?
This might seem something very trivial, but it is often these small things that sow the seeds of discontentment in the best of relationships. You don’t have to delegate all duties, but it’s a wise idea to lay down the groundwork. You could ask your partner to take up chores that you absolutely hate, and you can take the ones your partner usually avoids.