Important Topics to Discuss Before Marriage
“Love conquers all!” Unfortunately, this is actually false. Yes, love is a powerful tool in every relationship. However, it is unrealistic to think that once partners love each other, every thing else falls into place… in other words, they will live “Happily ever after.” This only happens in fairy tales.
Have you ever found yourself in a situation where in hindsight, you wish you had asked the right questions beforehand? Well, marriage is no different. It is important for couples to know that most conflicts arise due to differences upbringing, life experiences and communication styles. Thus there are a number of questions to ask, and important topics to discuss before marriage. While this does not guarantee lack of conflict during a marriage, these discussions if held beforehand, can potentially save a couple unnecessary tension, surprise and disappointment, hurt, arguments, or even the dissolution of a marriage.
Finances, Debt & Investment
For many, this is one of the most important topics to discuss before marriage. Some address it in depth, while others gloss over it. There are also others who believe in waiting until after marriage to talk about finances. Money matters can be a sensitive topic to discuss, and for this reason, makes it one of high importance. In this regard, some of the things to consider include, how much money each partner makes and how they make it, how financial responsibilities are shared, whether or not all monies will be handled jointly, how purchasing decisions will be made, how savings will be done, spending habits and so on.
Another vital part of this discussion is that of debt. If any party is entering into the marriage with any form of debt, it is incumbent on that party to inform their partner of the debt. This is because, once legally married, creditors are entitled to any monies the debtor has, including joint account funds. Debt can also seriously diminish a family’s finances. Investment is also essential to talk about. Ownership of any investment or whether the couple with invest separately or together, should be made clear. If such discussions are had early, a couple can come to a reasonable agreement before marriage, to help reduce the tension that may arise afterwards.
While this should not pose any problems in marriage, it often does. Some careers require tremendous investment of time, money and other resources. Others may require a person to travel often or for long periods. in some cases, careers may need to be put on hold or completely changed in order to accommodate married life. This can have a significant effect on a marriage and family. Discussing this topic before marriage may help a couple to plan appropriately, and also make adjustments where possible.
In general it is expected that a couple will have children at some point in their marriage. Whether or not this is what the couple wants should be discussed. Additionally, the number of children wanted is good to know. In situations where natural conception is a challenge, other methods such as IVF, artificial insemination or adoption should be discussed. All these process can be tasking on a marriage and must are thus among the important topics to be discussed before marriage.
Religion and Values
In some homes, partners have different religious affiliations or denominations, but are able to coexist without issues. In other homes, this may not be the case. Religion can be a touchy subject. So a couple must not neglect this topic before going ahead with marriage. Values can range from expectations of how families should function, who fills what role in the home, and how children are raised, to the kind of friends each party is allowed to keep.
There are many other important topics to discuss before marriage. Something supposedly as “trivial” as establishing who usually does the ironing in the home, can prevent potential arguments later down the road. To reiterate, discussing these and other topics before marriage does not guarantee that issues will not arise in relation to those topics. However, we believe that such discussion could go a long way to aid in decision making processes and conflict resolution.