Being engaged is a season of anticipation! You feel all kinds of excitement, right? You can’t wait! As the Wedding Day gets closer, that and the honeymoon are all you can think about! (Plus, you can’t wait for all those wedding questions to stop!)
There’s lots to talk about before you get married, and let’s be honest, wedding planning dominates the majority of your conversations with friends, family and especially your fiancé!
However, there are a few things that could be easily skipped over in conversations because “You just don’t have time to think about that right now.” Do yourself a favor and talk through these seven things as a part of your marriage planning… I mean, that is what the big day is all about!
- Where do you want to live?
Have you really discussed this? Are you assuming things? Choosing a place to start your life together is exciting. Consider where the two of you work and how close you are to jobs, favorite date spots, friends and family. Maybe one of you will move into your partner’s place. The most important thing is that you talked about it and came to a decision together. (You definitely don’t want to start your marriage with resentment because you didn’t express what you wanted!)
- What are your partner’s goals?
Where do you want to be in five years? Are you looking for a new job? What decisions have to be made now to get you to where you want to be once married? Supporting each other’s dreams is so fulfilling.
I promise that your opinion and support mean more than anyone else in their lives. Take the time to know beforehand, because the busyness of the workweek and random responsibilities that pop up tend to get in the way. Especially when you’re new at living together!
- Do you want to have kids/if so when?
Man, this is so important to talk about. The last thing you want to do is break your partner’s heart because you two never talked about wanting to have kids. For some people, this is a deal-breaker! This is a dream they’ve had since they were a kid and one of the reasons they are so excited to get married. Talk about this ASAP! Be honest. Not everyone wants to have children.
- How does your partner handle conflict/intense emotions?
Knowing your partner intimately means understanding them mentally and emotionally. You will save yourselves some heartache if you take the time to find out how they grew up handling conflict and intense emotions. Talk about how your parents handled conflict, too.For example, how do they respond when plans don’t go their way, they get unexpected bills, they get cut off in traffic, or get in an argument? Ask each other how you can best work with them through whatever they are going through. Be in the know so you don’t become frustrated or surprised by how they handle it. Set up guidelines for heated discussions and disagreements (ie., no yelling/cussing) and hold your spouse when they’re sad if that’s what they need. Every spouse and situation can be different; lead with “How can I best be there for you?”
- What are your expectations of your partner? How will you divide responsibilities?
Let’s be honest, sometimes we expect our loved ones to just know what to do and when to do it. Or we expect house chores to be done the way Mom and Dad modeled. You both may have lived on your own for a while or shared a place with roommates. We have all had to be asked multiple times to switch the laundry over, grab something we forgot the last time we were at the grocery store, pay the bills, etc. What will your division of labor be around the house or apartment?Unfortunately, you didn’t marry a mindreader. For me and my husband, we talk about and divide chores to prevent any frustration with the other for not doing what they are “supposed” to do.
We split things up pretty evenly. We take turns with cooking or cook together and try and do chores if the other person has plans so that when we are home together, we aren’t spending potential quality time playing catch up. Be flexible– you may discover your spouse is better at a certain chore or just loves to do it.
- Talk about the money, honey!
Dr. John Gottman, a relationship guru armed with 40+ years of research and experience working with 3,000 couples, says that money is one of the top five reasons why couples fight. I think we can agree that talking ahead of time about how you want to spend your money and what you want to save for is way better than having an all out blow-up because one of you thought buying a brand new 72-inch TV was the best use of your money and the other thought paying extra on student loans was more important. Learning compromise is important… and it isn’t devastating! Compromising means both of you will get close to what you want/need within an agreed time frame. For instance, if you want the TV, maybe the two of you could agree on setting aside the same amount of money for it as you want to for loans until you’ve saved for the TV! Talk about your spending habits, be transparent and come up with a budget together. This will help save you some major arguments.
- How do you two plan to set aside quality time together?
I know it sounds funny, but you’d be surprised what comes up in your weekly schedule and how easy it can be to just come home, eat dinner, clean up and get ready for bed and not really spend quality time together. Though you are spending time doing those things together, are you being intentional and talking about important things, loving and encouraging each other or are you going through the motions?
Keep dating after you get married! Some advice I have is planning a day each week that is marked off for just you two. Whether that is going out to dinner, a movie, a walk in the park or staying in and cooking together, treat it like a date. You and your spouse will continue to change and grow. Enjoy that process together by intentionally setting aside time to do grow deeper in love.
Marriage is a wonderful journey with your best friend, just don’t be surprised when a few disappointments or compromises pop up that you didn’t expect. If you practice communicating well, setting realistic expectations and spending quality time together, your marriage will go far.