When it comes to tying the knot, what you don’t know really can hurt you.
This means that despite how uncomfortable, shy, or uninterested you may be in having tough talks with your partner, it’s important you do so.
Some of these topics are obvious ones, while others slide under the radar, or may be things you haven’t yet considered discussing.
Having these talks with your partner will not only prevent unpleasant surprises in the future, but it’ll also give you a look at what married life would be like, and if the two of you are compatible for the long run.
While there are countless conversations you can and should have with your spouse-to-be, here are eight that shouldn’t get missed.
What constitutes as cheating?
Everyone has a different interpretation when it comes to infidelity. While some people consider it to be solely physical interactions, others see things like secret text messages, watching porn, or flirting to be just as bad.
If you and your partner have not yet talked about what each of you consider cheating to be it’s important you do so. Knowing this will help prevent cheating from happening in your relationship, and it’s also an opportunity to stress the importance of open communication and trust.
How will we handle money and debt?
Money isn’t everything, but before marrying someone it’s good to know how the two of you will handle your finances.
Will you share funds? Will you have a joint or separate bank accounts? Will there be an allowance to spend on yourself? How will you budget? Do you have a retirement plan, or financial expectations for the future?
When it comes to debt, is this something you will take on together, or are your prior debts your own to handle?
No one wants to think about their marriage not working out, but with divorce rates climbing, more and more couples are signing prenuptial agreements before tying the knot. Is this something you and your fiance want to consider?
Money is the number one cause of arguments between spouses, and a major reason for divorce. Getting your finances out and in the open before saying your “I dos” will help you start your marriage fresh and informed.
Do you want children?
If you’re considering marriage then there’s a good chance you and your partner have already talked about whether or not you want kids. What’s important to discuss though, are the details.
For instance, while “someday” may seem like an acceptable answer, shedding some light on when that means can help prevent future confusion. Is there a cut-off point for either of you? Do you plan on having more than one child, or hope to have them a certain number of years apart?
Not many couples think to talk about infertility, but it’s an issue that should be discussed. How do you both feel about in vitro fertilization, or surrogacy? Would you be open to a sperm/egg donor, or adoption?
In addition to talking about if you want kids and how many, it’s also important to learn about each other’s upbringings. Comparing the ways your parents raised you (traditions, schooling, discipline styles, etc.) will give insight into the kind of parent your partner might be.
How much space do you need/are willing to give?
Every healthy relationship requires partners give each other space. How much space is given and needed though, is unique to each individual and couple.
When couples get married spouses either expect to do everything together, or expect to be given some extra slack since they’ve committed and tied the knot. Comparing expectations is important, and it will do wonders for preventing arguments and potential heartache down the road.
To help get you started ask questions like:
- Would you expect me to always visit your parents with you?
- Would you expect me to attend church with you?
- Will we go grocery shopping together?
- Will we do chores together?
- Will we go to bed at the same time?
- Will we go out for drinks without each other?”
How often do you expect sex?
Some argue that having a quota for sex, or expecting it to be actively scheduled is strange or takes the magic out of it, and understandably so. However, talking about what you expect of your sexual relationship doesn’t mean you have to pencil in steamy sessions, but rather it’s about knowing you and your partner both want the same things.
For instance, if one of you isn’t as interested in sex as the other then they could stick it out until you’re married, then later hold back. Since at this point their partner is committed, they’ll be expected to deal with it. See the problem here?
This is why talking about your sexual relationship and expectations is important, so have a conversation about the things you like, how often you expect to have sex, and who will initiate it. Knowing this will keep you both on the same page so neither of you feel neglected.
Another topic to discuss is relationships outside of the marriage. How comfortable are you both with your partner having friends of the opposite sex? Are there any limits you’d like to set for emotional or physical closeness with others?
Knowing how your partner feels ahead of time can prevent arguments and disappointment, and will give you the chance to see if their desires work with your own.
What are your goals and dreams?
If you’re planning on spending your life together then it’s important that your dreams are compatible. Not only for the sake of getting to do what you want, but also so neither of your aspirations get brushed under the rug.
For instance, if he dreams of travelling the world as a musician, and you want to buy a little house in the country to raise a family, then realistically those goals aren’t going to coincide together – at least not at the same time. As a married couples you should both be able to achieve your goals. This means you both have to be willing to shift your timelines to accommodate each other’s dreams.
Talk about your big dreams and bucket list items, and compare to see compatibility. It’s not likely that you will see eye-to-eye on all of your wishes, but compromise is key is any relationship.
Also be sure to talk to your partner about their long term career plans. Where do they see themselves in ten years time? Are they happy with where they’re at, or do they want to try something new? Would they be willing to move to another city or country to accommodate your desires?
It’s important to know where your partner stands and if your aspirations are something they will or will not get behind and support.
What are your religious beliefs and political views?
If your religious beliefs or political views are important to you then it will be tough to mesh with someone who disagrees with those core values. This is why talking about your beliefs and listening to your partner’s is important.
This doesn’t mean the person you’re hoping to marry has to share the same beliefs and views as you do, but rather that they are willing to respect your choices, and you theirs.
More than simply knowing how they feel toward these, it’s also key to know how important these things are to them, and what related traditions they would like to carry on as a family.
Knowing these things may not seem like a big deal, but it’s actually pretty powerful information. Not to mention that some of these traditions may come up when planning things like Christmas Eve, or organizing your Sunday morning routine.
It’s good to have these types of conversations before getting married so that you can discuss any areas you disagree on. For instance, you may be pro life while they could strongly support abortion. You may be an advocate for animal rights while they believe in the fur trade. Can you and your partner live with each other’s belief systems?
What are your pet peeves about me?
As tough as it can be to hear these, create an opportunity for both you and your partner to openly talk about whatever habits get under your skin.
This talk is in some ways the ultimate test on a relationship because it pinpoints the things you do that drive each other crazy. For instance, maybe one of you has a habit of getting extremely moody when hungry, or has developed a negative outlook on life. Or perhaps one of you is unreliable, or always late when meeting up.
Talking about these things will not only give you both a chance to work on improving in these areas, but it also releases any bottled up resentment or animosity you may feel.
When having this conversation be kind with your words. A poorly phrased pet peeve could easily turn into something much bigger if expressed without care.