Getting married is a little like buying a house. You wouldn’t buy a new house based solely on its location or outer appearance, and you wouldn’t choose a spouse that way either. When buying a new house, you ask a million questions. You want to know everything there is to know about it. Unfortunately, marriage often isn’t approached with the same desire to gather information as home buying is. This is a huge mistake! To ensure a solid foundation for a long and happy marriage, there are four topics that you need to discuss.
The biggest mistake before getting married
Many people assume that because they’ve been with someone for a while, and in an intimate way, they know everything they need to. This is simply untrue. This is a trap that lots of couples fall into.
Anyone who has been in a long-term relationship that did not work out can attest to the fact that you do not always know what you think you know. People are excellent at being agreeable, saying and doing what they think you want, and making you happy. It doesn’t mean that they’re being truthful.
I don’t say this from a place of bitterness. I say it from experience. There was once a person that I thought I knew quite well. After we separated, it was like he became a different person. Thinking back on it, it’s a really good thing we never made it to marriage. Despite having been together for close to four years, we barely touched on any of these four essential topics that need to be discussed. At the time, I didn’t even realize that these were things I didn’t know!
This isn’t to say that you don’t necessarily know your husband-to-be. Maybe you know him exceptionally well. That’s great! You’ll be spending your life together after all. However, consider if the topics below have been thoroughly discussed.
The biggest mistake we can make is to not know where our partner stands on important life situations. Maybe you’re afraid to know the answers to the questions. Why stir up trouble where there is none? Trust me, it’s for the best.
Open all of the doors and know your partner fully
Let’s return to buying a house. You find an amazing one. It’s in a great neighborhood, has the two car garage you’re looking for, and is close to work.
It’s a beautiful, brick, ranch with plenty of space. There is a huge backyard and you love the neighbors. It’s great. It’s perfect. Or is it?
Suppose when you walk through that house, there are five doors in the hallway leading into other rooms. Two of them are locked. You ask the realtor and she just shrugs and says she doesn’t have a key.
The house is beautiful. Clean, well maintained, and organized. You have no reason to assume there is anything to worry about in either of those two unopened rooms. Would you buy the house without opening the doors?
This is your home. The place where you will sleep, raise your family, and live for a long time. You need to know what’s on the other side of those doors before signing any papers and making such a huge commitment.
Essentially, this is what we’re doing when we go into a marriage without having the important discussions. No one wants to introduce trouble into a stable environment. On the other hand, do you really want it to creep up on you years down the line?
You could’ve bought that house and maybe those rooms were fine. But maybe they weren’t. Not opening the door and seeing the problem doesn’t mean it isn’t there. It just means that you’re now stuck with it.
Discussing these 4 topics is the key to starting a happy marriage out right
To make sure you’re on the same page with your future spouse, there are certain topics that you need to discuss deeply. The discussions need to happen before marriage. It’s the best way to ensure a long and happy marriage. Open all the doors first and figure out if you can deal with what’s on the other side.
The four topics below were not chosen randomly. These are common issues that couples deal with daily. These are the issues that bring once madly in love, not-a-problem-in-the-world couples to the offices of marriage counselors every day. They are root causes of many divorces. These conversations are not ones to save for when the situation comes along.
4 Discussions Necessary for a Happy Marriage
Children are definitely a huge issue for couples. Do you both want them? What size family do you want? Are the answers non-negotiable? You should also discuss how you will raise the children. It would be best to know that your husband expects you to stay at home if you intend to continue to work. You also need to think about how you each view discipline. Consider all aspects of raising children. You want to ensure you’re on the same page or can find common ground that you’re both happy with.
Religion is another hot issue for couples. It can relate to children in regards to what religion you intend to raise them. If you and your spouse were raised in different religions, how will you handle that with kids? Do you expect to visit weekly services for your religion? How will religion play a role in your home? How important, or unimportant, is it to each of you?
Money is one of the main issues couples fight about. All couples handle money and money problems differently. Will you have a joint account or separate accounts? Who will be responsible for paying bills? How will you budget, or will you not budget at all? Do either of you have significant debt? How will you handle that debt? What are your views on charge cards and loans? Do you expect your spouse to make more over time or are you happy with the amount they currently make as long as they are happy in their job? How about their thoughts about saving for household emergencies or retirement?
This is one that many people overlook, but it’s important. Often, people assume that because they aspire to advance in their career, that their spouse does at well. This isn’t always the case, however. Are you happy with where your spouse is in their career or do you expect them to advance? Do they want to advance? Where do you each see yourselves, and your family, in 5 years? 10 years? Sometimes, people will desire advancement so much that they will work a lot of overtime. If your future spouse currently does this, will it continue? If you have children, will they pull back on work for more family time or continue to be just as ambitious in their career?
None of the answers to any of these questions are bad. Everyone is different and should live in a way that makes them happy. However, once you’re married you no longer can consider your own happiness alone.
It’s very easy to make these decisions when your life is not 100% interdependent on another. Additionally, it’s very difficult to hold someone to expectations in the future if those expectations were never expressed. You need to know the answers your future spouse has to these questions and they need to know yours.
Don’t fear the discussions.
Never be afraid of these discussions. I’ll be honest, they may be rough and could end badly. Incompatible opinions and desires that come about as a result of the conversations may mean the end of the relationship. However, you can be sure that the issue would have come up at some point and the answers would be the same. You don’t want that to happen after you have children and a joint life together. Now is the time to bring these issues to the surface, not later.
It’s not necessary that you agree on every aspect 100%, though. You should expect that opinions and desires will change slightly over time. The important part is coming to an agreement that you are both happy with.
The goal is to avoid having the conversation blindly several years down the road. You want to prepare by knowing how your partner feels about things that will inevitably come up. Having a conversation at that point that ends in an inability to compromise results in one of two things; a marriage that ends or one person living very unhappily. That’s not what anyone wants.
If the relationship is strong and capable of working through the issues that arise out of these discussions, then you’re setting yourself up to begin your marriage on the best possible footing. If not, you’re only forcing a conversation that would happen eventually anyway. Although it is painful, that is what you want. You want to go into your marriage confident. Certain that no matter what, you can and will make your marriage a long and happy one.
Do you have any other topics that should be discussed before getting married to ensure a happy marriage?
-To your Better Life-