TOPICS TO DISCUSS BEFORE SAYING I DO
After saying yes to the “Will you marry me?” question, our brains (particularly for us women) tend to go right into wedding planning mode. This is a natural reaction, but maybe it’s not the best reaction. Now, don’t misunderstand, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t begin to think about your wedding and all the specifics of that day. But what I am saying, is that your main focus should be elsewhere.
When most couples get engaged, their focus is usually very short sighted. They spend all their time and energy planning for a beautiful wedding, and fail to plan for their marriage. We’ve spent a lot of time talking about wedding planning, so today, let’s talk about marriage planning.
Now, your engagement period should serve 2 main purposes, a short term and a long term. The short-term purpose is to plan for the wedding. It’s considered short term because you are literally planning for one day. The long-term purpose is to prepare for a healthy and happy marriage. This will exceed years beyond just your wedding day and this is where the majority of your focus should be.
There are 5 topics you and your fiancé should really dig into before saying “I do.” Now, hopefully you have had some discussions about these topics before getting engaged, but if you haven’t, I strongly suggest that you make it a priority sooner rather than later. If you are in agreement on these, then I’m sure you will be well on your way to a beautiful married life.
We all communicate differently and so many problems can arise if there is a communication barrier between you and your partner. Things can be taken the wrong way or blown out of proportion simply because the way you are expressing yourselves is unclear.
Dave Ramsey, author, educator, and financial guru, says “to be unclear is to be unkind.” And I think that is so true, especially with your partner. It’s so important that the things you say and how you feel are understood and communicated clearly to avoid unnecessary conflict.
Having trouble with this concept? First thing you can do is ask questions before you react to something. This is something I have to remind myself to do on a daily basis. Sometimes my husband, Will, will do or not do something and it makes no sense to me. What I used to do was get upset that he did this thing before considering if there was a reason behind it. Now, if this happens, I ask him if there was a reason before I automatically jump to conclusions. It has helped in so many ways and we avoided many fights simply by asking questions.
Just keep this in mind. We don’t all rationalize things the same way, nor do we respond to things the same way. So, if you want to have a successful relationship, you must learn to communicate effectively with each other.
Oh man. Money, money, money. In order to have a successful marriage, you must be on the same page when it comes to your money. Did you know that money problems are the number one cause of divorce in America? Yep, even before infidelity. So that fact alone should give you some indication as to how crucial it is to be in sync with your fiancé about your money.
Everything you do in life will involve money in some form or fashion. So, your income, spending habits, savings goals, debts, and charitable obligations should all be up for discussion. Now, I know this is not the easiest thing to talk about. Hell, it can be downright scary to open up about your finances. But if there is anyone you should feel comfortable to talk about this with, it’s your fiancé. You can’t be afraid or have secrets around your money because it will most definitely lead to serious problems.
Gotta love the kids. Let’s be honest, it’s drilled in us from birth that you should wait until marriage before having kids. Removing any religious beliefs, have you wondered why that is? It’s because you should have children with someone worth having children with, and if you don’t talk about this, you may be very surprised with what you find out. Let’s dig into this.
There are a few indications a person can show to reveal the type of parent he or she may be. You can look at how they were raised, the influence their parents have on them, and their character. And all of these things are great indicators. But there is nothing like hearing it from the horse’s mouth. Talk about it. Do you want to have children? How many, if any do you want? How do you plan on raising or disciplining them? How do you feel about adoption, if God forbid, you are unable to have children?
You can not make assumptions about these questions. You MUST have the discussion before you get married. Can you imagine how difficult it would be if you and your fiancé were to get married and not have talked about this, and then found out that you are on opposite sides of the spectrum? I couldn’t. There would be constant arguing and feelings of resentment. No one should have to live that way. So please, avoid all of that and talk about this. It is so worth it and absolutely necessary.
in-laws & family
Now this one is interesting. Unfortunately, we are not all blessed to have amazing in-laws and family. You know once you get married, the in-laws are there to stay. But you have to talk about how involved they will be and what boundaries will be set.
Will your mother-in-law be upset if you and your husband choose to spend Christmas with your parents? Will your mother have a key to your home and come over whenever she wants? How involved will your parents be in raising your kids? Does your husband tell his mom about every fight and disagreement that you have? Do you complain to your dad about your husband’s lack of handyman skills? The questions here could go on and on.
The point is you and your fiancé really need to discuss the topic of your families and their level of involvement in your married lives. You have to agree on what will be shared with your families and what will remain private between the two of you. Otherwise, their opinions will begin to leak into your marriage and cause unnecessary problems.
There are so many religious and spiritual beliefs, but I don’t believe that a difference in faith means you cannot have a successful marriage. It will probably add another layer of difficulty, but it’s definitely not impossible. This is just another topic that needs to be discussed before walking down the aisle.
Now, if you have fallen in love with someone of a different faith than yours, there are a few things to keep in mind. Respect is of utmost importance. You may not have the same beliefs, but you must respect the differences. Also, how will you raise your children? In your faith or your fiancé’s? These are all things you need to consider when your faiths are different.
Also understand that even if you have the same faith, you should still discuss religion. Maybe your spiritual walk is more intense than your fiancé’s. Maybe your faith is not as important to you as it is to your fiancé. Will this be an issue for either of you? Do you expect one another to worship together? All of these, again, are answers you should know before you get married.
aim for the long term
So, if you fell in love and got the ring, but haven't really dug into all of these topics, then having these discussions is an absolute priority, NOW. It would be so tragic for your marriage to not turn out the way you hoped simply because conversations were avoided during your engagement.
If you want your marriage to be more special than your wedding day, don’t hesitate in this. Don’t move forward in your wedding planning until you have talked through these topics. And once you have talked it out, and come to the necessary agreements, you will feel confident that your marriage will last for the long term.
I created a guide just for you of the first things you should do after getting engaged. Fill out the form below to receive it and go through it with your fiance. It will surely put you well on your way to a beautiful marriage!
DO THESE THINGS BEFORE ANYTHING ELSE...
... then you can hit the ground running towards the next part of your journey!