Five hot topics to discuss with your partner before you tie the knot.
Hey y’all! As you might know, I am getting married in less than a month. I can’t wait to make this commitment to my best friend. Even though Michael and I are best friends, there are still things we need to talk about before we make that blissful walk down the aisle.
Before starting your lives together, you and your partner need to discuss your financial situations. It is very important that you are aware of how much money is coming into your household and how much money has to come out. You should disclose all sources of income that you each have. You should also disclose all of your debts, including credit cards, student loans, vehicles, and any other types of debt you may have. The two of you should also discuss your bills and calculate your total expected expenses. It is important that you two set financial goals so that you can achieve the future the two of you want.
Talking about the future brings me to topic number two: Children. Do you want children? How many children do you want? How many children can you afford? What role will you play in your child’s life? Kids are not for everyone. Many millennials are making the choice to not have children and if this is you, you need to tell your partner before you are married. Even if this is a deal breaker, it is better to know now than years into the relationship. If your partner doesn’t want kids but you do, or vice versa, do not expect them to change their mind because the chance is they won’t. You should also discuss how many kids you would like to have and discuss how many you can afford. I would also discuss your timeline for when you want to have kids. For Michael and I, it is important for us to have some of our debts taken care of before we start having children. How many kids you want to have may also be based on how helpful your partner is. It has been a custom for dad’s to not be as involved in their kids upbringing. If this is not what you want, you should talk about what role you expect for your partner to play. Another thing you should talk about is what will happen if you can’t have children of your own. Will you adopt? Will you try infertility treatments? Will you be happy without children? These are all important questions to ask yourself.
Another thing you should talk about is where do you want to live? This conversation might spark some side discussions about career goals, family situations, and life style habits. When deciding where to start your life some things to consider are cost of living, travel time to work, and in the years to come will you have the support you need when you start a family. The saying goes, “it takes a village to raise a family” and it could not be more true. For those of you that might be getting married after you have already established yourself, you may have a house and mortgage you have to consider. Is it big enough for the two of you? Is it close to both of your jobs? Will you be able to sell it without being upside down? Will you rent it out? Deciding where to live is a significant decision you two have to make.
While you are in a career you love right now, that may not where you want to be in the years to come. You should discuss with your partner what your career goals are and where you want to be 5 years from now, 10 years, even 20 years down the road. Understand that compromises may have to be made and be willing to prioritize each goal you set. You also need to discuss the obligations you have with your careers. Do you have to work nights? Do you have to travel often? What are your busy seasons? Be understanding with your partner and be willing to pick up the slack during those busy seasons.
The last hot topic you should cover before you take the next step is your spirituality and religious beliefs. Do you share the same beliefs? You should disclose your belief system with one another and discuss how this will affect your partner and your future. What are your expectations for how you want your family raised? Will you make compromises if your beliefs differ? This topic might be a make or break conversation but like any deal breaker it is best to have these tough conversations before you get married rather than after.
Marriage is not easy and shouldn’t be taken lightly. It takes 100% effort for it to work. Some days you will each give 50%, other days you may can only give 20% and it is up to your partner to give the other 80%. There will be days where you have to make up for what they can’t put in but you are a team and you should be able to count on each other. Pre-marital counseling might also be an option for you. Having a third party, non-bias person can be beneficial for these tough conversations. You can choose to find a professional at a counseling office or your pastor may be able to assist.
For more financial management information for Newlyweds check out this series by Dr. Laura Hendrix, Financial Smart Start for Newlyweds.
For more information about cultivating a healthy relationship check out the Marriage Garden.