Getting married is a big deal. You are committing yourself to your partner for the rest of your lives, for better or worse, for richer or poorer and in sickness and in health. When you first accepted his marriage proposal, you were so excited and so sure that this was the person you wanted to spend the rest of your life with. But, like with every important life decision, it’s a good idea to take a step back and make sure that you are both fully on the same page. Make sure you discuss these topics with your future spouse before you get married so that both of you can feel comfortable and ready to embark on this new journey together.
Money is a tricky subject, with many marital fights stemming from this very subject. Before you get married, it’s crucial for you and your partner to be on the same page about finances, your careers and expectations. Many couples choose to open joint bank accounts and can even reap tax benefits from being married. Before tying the knot, clarify whether you will put all of your money into a joint account or continue to maintain separate accounts in addition to a joint account. Decide which accounts will be for regular expenses versus large investments or payments, like rent or insurance. It is also a good idea to be open and transparent about any other accounts you may have, such as retirement accounts and health savings accounts. In addition to open conversations about bank accounts, discussions about your careers and what your goals are financially will help you two find a mutually beneficial spending and saving plan for the rest of your lives.
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You’ve probably already touched upon this subject by now, if not already had an in-depth conversation about what you’re naming your kids and what extracurricular activities they’ll be doing. Regardless of how much you’ve already talked about it, it’s a good rule of thumb to discuss whether or not you want kids, how many you’d like to have, your parenting styles and what will happen when there are children running around the house. Another subject you may want to discuss is whether adoption is an option you’d be willing to consider. Being on similar wavelengths (even if it’s not exactly the same) about children before you get married will help set expectations for the first few years of married life.
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Religion and morals are two topics that you’ve likely already seen eye to eye on, since you’re both agreeing to get married. However, there’s more to it than simply being accepting of one another’s religions and values. If you are of different faiths, knowing how you will raise your children and what you will teach them ahead of time will help prevent fights down the road. Further, deciding what is important to you in terms of morality and life values will help you both create a mutually agreeable parenting plan as well as a cohesive marriage plan.
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Where do you see yourselves in five years? Ten years? Twenty? You may not have thought that far ahead, but you might have a few goals and dreams in sight. Talk about what you have on your bucket lists and what ideas are definite no’s. Perhaps there’s something that has always bothered you about the relationships your partner has with his coworkers, or maybe you know that he wants to move to the countryside and you’re a city girl. Be open and honest about your goals in life, your career, your travels and most importantly, your dreams and aspirations. You are committing to one another to be partners for life, and knowing what one another is expecting will keep you from being surprised later on in life.
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Bickering, fighting and arguing are almost impossible to avoid from time to time when you are in a committed relationship. You may have already had your fair share of fights in the past, but before you officially say your “I do,” it’s a good idea to discuss how you will handle arguments in the future. If, for example, your MO is to simply leave the house to avoid further arguments, this strategy won’t work out so well for you when you are living in the same house as your children. Though you may not see 100% eye to eye on how to handle a fight, you can work on this together to find a way to get through arguments as smoothly as possible and live happily as a married couple.
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There’s so many things on your to-do list as your wedding day approaches, but it’s absolutely crucial for you and your partner to sit down and have these types of conversations before you get married. Being open and honest about these possibly controversial topics will help provide clarity for both of you. When you reach mutually agreeable decisions, you’ll only become stronger and better as a couple. Don’t be surprised after the fact – make sure you take the time to have these must-have conversations before the big day.