6 Things To Know Before You Get Married

Knowing some things ahead of time can lead to a happier relationship.

My wife and I often get asked a common question: “What do you wish you’d known before you got married?” 

Our marriage isn’t perfect by any means. We’ve had our ups and downs. But according to recent statistics, the average length of marriage in the U.S. is just over 8 years. So, it makes sense to ask questions of a couple who’s been married longer than that.

Most couples anticipate having a long, happy marriage. And they should! But if you’ve been married any amount of time, you probably recognize it’s not always smooth sailing. Your marriage is going to get rocked by waves. Sure, there will be times when the sun is shining and the seas are calm. Just know before you get married, there will be storms ahead. But you can navigate the storms and make it through.

In his book, Things I Wish I’d Known Before We Got Married, Dr. Gary Chapman says, “No one gets married hoping to be miserable or to make their spouse miserable, yet the highest percentage of divorce occurs within the first seven years of marriage.”

Chapman’s book provides a marriage blueprint. He lays out 12 potential areas of stress for married couples – they’re great to think about before you get married.

Here are six of the areas he addresses:

1. Being in love is not an adequate foundation for building a successful marriage.

The “honeymoon phase” of marriage typically lasts for up to two years. This phase usually is idealistic and romantic. Don’t get me wrong, this stage is fantastic; it just needs to be treated realistically. This is a time to learn and adjust to each other. Differences will become apparent, but that’s OK. A healthy marriage requires commitment, trust, and communication. You need more than just that loving feeling.

2. Romantic love has two stages.

Chapman describes the first stage of love as a time when couples expend lots of energy doing things for each other, but they don’t consider it work. The second stage of love is more intentional. It requires work to keep emotional love alive.

3. The saying, “like mother, like daughter” and “like father, like son” is not a myth.

Chapman doesn’t suggest that your spouse will become their mother or father. But parents do greatly influence who we become. You will see some traits of your spouse’s parents in them. Be aware of this.

4. How to solve disagreements without arguing.

Conflict is a normal part of marriage. When two people spend lots of time together and grow closer, they won’t agree on everything. That’s OK. Not every conflict has to end in an argument. You can handle disagreements through healthy conversation and compromise.

5. Apologizing is a sign of strength.

Apologizing isn’t always easy. Some even see apologizing as a sign of weakness. It takes a strong person to say, “I was wrong; please forgive me.”

6. Mutual sexual fulfillment is not automatic.

Many newlywed couples don’t anticipate this being an issue. Dr. Chapman shares that while men focus on sex, women focus on relationship. We’re all built differently and have different sexual drives. Those drives change with varying stages of marriage as well. So, what do you do when you feel like sexual fulfillment is lacking? Communicate, communicate, communicate!

Couples who have been married for a long time talk about these issues and more. Marriage takes open, honest communication and flexibility from both people. It won’t always be smooth sailing, but you can navigate the storms together and enjoy those smooth seas. There is beauty in every phase of a relationship.

Other blogs:

5 Tips For Newly Engaged Couples – First Things First

5 Things You Should Have In Common With Your Spouse

Can A Marriage Survive Without Intimacy? – First Things First

If you or someone you know might be addicted to porn, you’ve come to the right place. But first, a quick quiz. 

I’ll give you a choice between two websites, and you guess which website gets more clicks. Ready?

  1. Netflix.com or Porn Website 1?
  2. ESPN.com or Porn Website 2?
  3. Twitter.com or Porn Website 3?
  4. CNN.com or Porn Website 4?
  5. WebMD.com or Porn Website 5?

If you guessed “Porn Website,” you were right every time. In fact, if we combine the top five porn websites, porn ranks fourth for all internet traffic… with 2.8 billion visits per month.1

Remember, that’s just the top five porn websites. If we combined them all, one could argue that the internet is mainly a pornography delivery service.

2.8 billion ranks porn behind only Google, YouTube, and Facebook in monthly visits.

(About 90% of these visits are on mobile devices.)

Why am I telling you all this? To encourage you. That’s right. I want you to know that if you, a partner, or a family member is struggling with pornography, you’re 100% not alone. Pornography addiction is an epidemic.

Everyone is (obviously) so private about their pornography use. If you feel like you need to stop and you can’t, it’s easy to feel like it’s just you. Like there’s something about you that’s defective. You’re not defective.

Along with millions of other people, you cranked up what researchers refer to as the Triple-A Engine Effect (Accessibility, Affordability, and Anonymity.)2 Now, you want to turn that engine off. And you definitely can. There’s help, too.

If you’ve discovered that your partner uses pornography or is addicted to it, you might be wondering what’s wrong with them, or even if it’s you. (Short Answer: This is your partner’s issue. They may be succumbing to a porn addiction along with millions of other ordinary people.) Don’t waste energy thinking about how you’re part of the problem. Think about how you can be part of the solution.

Understand the dynamics and pathology of porn addiction.

Porn use has become incredibly normalized and trivialized.

It’s not just accepted. There’s a sense of entitlement. Mobile devices have opened up a free, bountiful Pornicopia. This has led to widespread addiction.

Public opinion about pornography has cooled down as technology has heated up. One Gallup poll indicated that 58% of respondents believed pornography is “morally wrong.” 40% believed it is “morally acceptable.”3 This is a tectonic shift from only two decades ago.

SIDEBAR: I frankly don’t care if you think pornography is morally wrong or not. I’m not here to moralize. I’d rather philosophize. This is what’s up. Pornography kills something important inside you. At the same time, it’s killing your ability to experience and enjoy genuine sexual intimacy. You’re cheating yourself out of one of the single best things in life. You’re creating a fantasy world. And reality will never be able to keep up. Plus, any addiction or compulsion you can’t control should make you stop and think.

Addiction to pornography might seem less complicated than real human relationships. So, maybe you avoid the risks of emotional vulnerability, relational availability, and personal accountability. But your life will also be devoid of the rewards embedded in those risks.

Sexual gratification via pornography is free, convenient, and anonymous.

It’s like grabbing some drive-thru instead of preparing and enjoying a gourmet sit-down dinner. Porn is low-effort, depersonalized, you-pick-the-menu sex. It doesn’t expect engaging dinner conversation. Porn won’t judge your poor table manners or that you don’t help with the dishes.

But. Porn. Is. Just. Empty. Calories.

There’s an ongoing debate among clinicians and researchers surrounding pornography. Is it really an addiction? Based on some recent research4, some professionals prefer the term compulsion.

This should give you hope. We aren’t talking about chemical dependence.

This is a habit. You can break a habit and/or replace it with a healthier one.What do clinicians and researchers agree on? Pornography can be destructive… to yourself, your partner, and your relationship. I’ll let them explain how.

But I Can Stop Whenever I Want To.

Porn addiction refers to a person becoming emotionally dependent on pornography to the point that it interferes with their daily life, relationships, and ability to function.”5

Here are the signs:

  1. Porn becomes a central part of your life.
  2. Pornography causes relationship issues or makes you feel less satisfied with your partner. Your sex life becomes less satisfying.
  3. You engage in risky behavior to view pornography, like viewing it at work.
  4. You ignore other responsibilities to view pornography.
  5. To get the same release that less extreme porn once offered, you view progressively more extreme pornography .
  6. You’re frustrated or ashamed after viewing porn but continue to do so.
  7. You want to stop using pornography but feel unable to do so.
  8. You cause yourself physical pain or begin to experience erectile dysfunction.
  9. You’re using pornography to cope with sadness, anxiety, insomnia, or other mental health issues.

Remember the 2.8 billion monthly visits to the top five pornographic websites in the U.S? That’s over 1,000 visits per second. In the time it takes you to read this sentence, that’s over 7,000 visits to porn websites.

People clicked on pornography of all kinds… Women being degraded and abused. Sexual exploitation. Rape fantasies. And even child pornography.

You’re here at the moment.

I believe your next click will be the right one.

Sources:

1Semrush. (December 2021). Top 100: The most visited websites in the U.S.https://www.semrush.com/blog/most-visited-websites/ 

2Cooper, & Mcloughlin, I. P. (2001). What clinicians need to know about internet sexuality. https://doi.org/10.1080/14681990126947 

3Gallup. (n.d.). Moral issues. https://news.gallup.com/poll/1681/moral-issues.aspx 

 4Weir, K. (2014, April). Is pornography addictive? American Psychological Association. https://www.apa.org/monitor/2014/04/pornography 

5Villines, Z. (2021, February 25). What to know about porn addiction. Medical News Today. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/porn-addiction 

FTF Resources:

What To Do When You Catch Your Husband Watching Porn – First Things First

Why Does My Husband Watch Porn? – First Things First

Should I Be Upset That My Husband Watches Porn? – First Things First

Resources for Dealing with Porn Addiction – First Things First

***If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, contact the National Hotline for Domestic Abuse. At this link, you can access a private chat with someone who can help you 24/7. If you fear that someone is monitoring your computer or device, call the hotline 24/7 at: 1−800−799−7233. For a clear understanding of what defines an abusive relationship, click here.***

Image from Unsplash.com

11 Things NOT To Do When Planning A Wedding

Keep your focus by avoiding these things.

So you’re planning a wedding. Everyone from family and friends to social media is giving you advice so your day can be all that you could ever dream of. Plus, there are a ton of tips and lists out there of all you should do to make your wedding day perfect and memorable. It can be overwhelming.

We’ve got some of those list and blogs, too. But our goal is to help you avoid things that lessen the wedding planning experience and negatively affect the marriage. 

Here are 11 things NOT to do when planning a wedding.

1. Don’t assume you know how much everything costs.

Everyone says, “Set a budget and stick to it.” Do you know why that’s hard? Have you ever planned a wedding before? When I got married 17 years ago, I had no idea what venues, catering, photographers, gifts, etc., cost. Yes, know what you can spend. That’s important. Don’t decide how much you’ll spend without finding out what a reasonable cost is.

2. Don’t neglect your mental health.

When the urgent is always getting prioritized over the important, then the important gets neglected. YOU are important. Wedding planning can be super stressful. Don’t overlook doing fun stuff, relaxing, exercising, and “me” time.

3. Don’t neglect your fiancé.

Pay attention to their mood, stress, and attitude. How are wedding preparations affecting your fiancé? Are they taking care of themselves? Are you showing them you want to be with them?

4. Don’t forget: The wedding celebration is one day. Marriage is hopefully forever.

The quality of the wedding does not reflect the quality of your marriage. I’ve gone to picture-perfect weddings of couples who were divorced within three years.

5. Don’t ignore red flags.

Are you and your fiancé having trouble compromising? Are they unwilling to listen? Don’t brush off warning signs just because you think it’s part of wedding prep. Marriage brings about potentially stressful situations. Address relational issues now. Assuming they will go away “just because” may set you up for disappointment later.

6. Don’t succumb to the comparison game.

Whether you’ve looked at other weddings, social media, the movies, etc., your wedding is your wedding. Your marriage will be unique, and so should your wedding. Don’t aspire to have the wedding someone else dreams of. Live your own dream.

7. Don’t neglect premarital preparation.

Premarital education enhances the likelihood of satisfaction and less conflict in your marriage. Research backs this up. Don’t take the approach, “I don’t need premarital education.” We offer a great online preparing for marriage course here.

8. Don’t start planning your escape.

Once you get married, you’ve got to go all-in. If you’re already preparing for what happens if the marriage doesn’t work out, you’re more likely to utilize that plan at some point.

9. Don’t take yourself too seriously.

You’ll forget stuff, and you’ll misplace things. You will think you told someone something you didn’t. You’ll envision something one way and then realize how crazy it was. Laugh at yourself. No marriage is perfect, and weddings aren’t either. The goal of a wedding is to get married, not to have a perfect ceremony.

10. Don’t neglect date nights.

Is there so much to do that you don’t have time to go on dates with your spouse-to-be? If so, something needs to be scaled back, delegated, or dropped.

11. Don’t try to do it all yourself.

Figure out how family and friends can help, and delegate. Part of the joy of those relationships is helping each other.

Let’s face it, planning a wedding is probably one of the biggest parties we’re ever in charge of. 

I used the word “party” intentionally. Parties are meant to be fun and memorable even if they can be a lot of work, time-consuming, and stressful. Staying focused on the purpose of the wedding instead of perfection can help you find more joy as you get ready for the party.

Source:

E.B. Fawcett, A.J. Hawkins, V.L. Blanchard, & J.S. Carroll, “Do premarital education programs really work? A meta‐analytic study,” Family Relations, 59 (2010): 232-239; S.M. Stanley, P.R. Amato, C.A. Johnson, H.J. Markman, “Premarital education, marital quality, and marital stability: Findings from a large, random household survey,” Journal of Family Psychology, 20 (2006): 117-126.

3 Reasons We’re Getting Married After Living Together

There are many factors to consider about marriage.

I’m a man who didn’t want to get married. I’ve lived with the mother of my children for 15 years. Fifteen years. Now, I realize the importance of marriage and wish I had gotten married years ago.

Reasons I Avoided Marriage

  • I grew up around people that didn’t value marriage.
  • My parents never got married.
  • I saw so many marriages end in divorce.
  • I was scared of commitment. 

Can you identify with any of these reasons? Maybe yours are different, but for me, I think it really came down to fear. Some parts of marriage seemed practical, but other parts didn’t. I saw a lot of cheating going on, which was scary too. I didn’t want any part of that.

Sometimes our real intentions are hidden a few layers deep. At times, we just need someone to lovingly shake the ground we walk on to bring maturity to the surface. I’ve always been a leader, even though I never really followed the rules of life. Sometimes I tried to make it without what some say: “It’s all his plan for being successful.” I’ve seen the ups and downs of life and marriage, so I was a little terrified. 

I’ve racked my brain on how I would explain in my own words about my experience without fear. I didn’t want to bore you about what I’ve been through in a short blog. But in my mind, I know this is going to be a journey for you too. 

Like I said, we’ve lived together for many years. So, what has changed? Why am I ready for marriage now?

Here are a few reasons we’re getting married after living together all this time:

1. For me, getting married is about growth and seeing how life goes when you do what’s right by each other.

The years of pain and hurt come at a cost that only you and the person you’re doing life with know about. My fiancé and I have been through a lot. A lot of pain and a lot of hurt. But at the end of the day, my goal is to grow. I’ve seen what can happen when you do what’s right by each other. And even after everything we’ve been through, there’s something better for our relationship in the future. We just have to put in the work to get there. 

2. I really feel ready now more than ever.

People often ask me, “Why are you not married yet?” The thing is, I knew I wasn’t ready mentally. But for me, life has shown me that it’s always been about timing. When getting your dream job and trying to climb the ladder to success, the right person pushes you to become better. So many great things are happening in our lives that make me want to get to the next step in life.

3. My support system has grown over the years, and I see what it takes to succeed in life and marriage.

Just being around my family and friends that support me no matter what life throws at me inspires me to never give up and to keep going spiritually and mentally. It goes back to what I’ve been trying to get my fellow fathers to understand. It’s a process in life that we have to be willing to take – to right our wrongs and focus on becoming better. So for me again, I say getting married after living together is part of me trusting and showing and believing. 

I feel that it’s important to show my kids that marriage can be a great thing if you both believe in it and lead by example. And I’m looking forward to showing my family that I am committed to being there for the long haul.

Other blogs:

How to Prepare Yourself for Marriage

Prepare for Marriage, Not Just the Wedding

Build an Unbreakable Marriage Right from the Start! 

(And get a discount* on your marriage license at the same time!)

Preparing for Marriage is an online course that will guide you and your bae on a journey to build a solid foundation for your marriage! From communication to intimacy, conflict to in-laws, we unpack 8 fun and fast-paced lessons in short videos that will provide you with all the essential tools to create a thriving marriage.

Plus you’ll have access to healthy relationship experts, Reggie & Lauren, by email every step of the way to answer any questions or just give you a little encouragement!


*Must live in a qualifying state where a discount is offered on your marriage license for completing premarital education or counseling.

Romantic relationships are full of big decisions. One decision that’s gonna present itself is A) Do we move in together? and/or B) Do we get married? 59% of adults under the age of 45 have decided to move in together at some point. Then there’s the question: What would change if we got married? Is there a difference between living together and marriage?

Yes.

You want to be on one page about what your relationship is and where it’s going, especially when making big decisions. Understanding the differences between living together and marriage can help you decide what best helps you reach the relationship goals you’re hoping for. Ignoring the differences can lead to lifelong, complicated heartbreak. 

What are some differences between living together and marriage? Why do they matter? 

While some states recognize cohabitation agreements, they don’t provide the same protection as marriage. 

Married partners:

  • Can make medical decisions on their spouse’s behalf 
  • Have legal rights to inherit their spouse’s estate
  • Don’t pay taxes on the financial inheritance they receive from their spouse

Unmarried partners:

  • Need a general power of attorney to make medical decisions for their partner. Otherwise, they may have to defer to immediate family members. 
  • Must be a beneficiary in the will to have inheritance rights (income is taxable)

Health and finances affect almost every couple. You definitely want to clarify what you can and can’t do before you face major decisions. Drama, resentment, and pain can add severe stress if you find out you have less power and control than you thought during traumatic situations. This is especially true if the extended family gets involved. 

Clarity on Relationship Status

There’s a greater chance that couples who live together have different relationship goals. 

One may think they’re testing the relationship to see if they want to marry. The other might say, “Why marry? We’ll just live together.” Another might say, “It’s just convenient for us to live together since we spend so much time together.”

Married couples get a license. This is a formal declaration about the status of the relationship. Marriage locks in legal benefits and lessens potential misunderstandings about the relationship’s direction.

70% percent of married couples say making a formal commitment was a major reason they decided to marry. Though some marriages do end, research shows that married couples report greater relationship satisfaction.

Whether you live together or are married, you make tons of decisions: bills, home purchases, insurance, etc. If one of you thinks the relationship is one thing while the other thinks it’s something else, you have a recipe for disaster. Being on the same page about the relationship’s direction can decrease the chances of a painful break-up. 

Effects of A Break-Up

Divorcing and moving out can both be painful. The path out of marriage is quite different, though. It may seem that you can just walk away if you’re living together. But, what if you’re both on the lease, you’re sharing bills, or you’ve jointly bought furniture? When you’ve essentially joined your finances and lives together, separating it all is difficult. Not to mention that couples often don’t end on good terms. Without a formal agreement, one person can easily end up holding an unfair share of the risks. 

Divorces can be complicated, messy, and, unfortunately, nasty. However, the process works toward fairly dividing everything from finances and property to time with kids. And, it can provide closure: the ability to make decisions final.

How Break-ups Affect Children

You can’t tear kids down the middle and divide them in half. Married couples are the presumed parents when there is a divorce. Custody, visitation, and child support are set as part of the divorce. It can get ugly, but in the end, it can be resolved. 

According to Brookings Research, U.S. children of cohabiting parents are twice as likely to see their parents’ relationship end by age 12. If and when that happens, the child is only presumed to be the birth mother’s child. The father must walk through the process of establishing paternity. This can get even messier given the nature in which many couples end their relationships.

Thinking of living together and marriage as the same can lead to disappointment. Reminds me of the time I ate a sweet potato, thinking it was a regular baked potato. Ignoring the differences can increase the likelihood of a future break-up or divorce and complicated messiness related to finances, possessions, and kids. 

Researcher Scott Stanley encourages couples to make clear decisions on their relationship path instead of simply sliding into relationship situations. It’s important to keep your desired goals in mind — then doing the proper research to make the best decision for you.

Other helpful resources:

Is Living Together Bad for Your Relationship?

5 Things Every Couple Should Know Before They Move In Together

Preparing for Marriage Online | Everything You Need Before “I Do!”

Is Living Together Bad for Your Relationship?

Do your homework on the topic and move forward from there.

You may be trying to decide: Should we move in together? Or perhaps you already live together and have some questions. Is living together bad for your relationship? Is this going to be good or bad for us? 

You’ve probably heard lots of strong opinions. Let me be straight-up with you; there’s no simple answer. 

I hope to give you information that you may not have known before and let you come to your own conclusions. That’s how we make wise decisions about relationships, right? Find out all you can, weigh the arguments on both sides (even if you lean to one side at first), and go from there. That’s what I hope you’ll do. 

Some of what makes this question not-so-simple is that you’re dealing with likelihoods. What are the odds that living together will be good or bad? I don’t know about you, but I’m not a gambler. I don’t like betting against the odds. Life turns out much better when you know what’s most likely to happen. 

Here’s what we can gather about likelihoods: 

  • It seems reasonable (or likely) that living together should improve the odds of doing well later in marriage. Not only is there little research supporting this belief, but the evidence isn’t that strong. 
  • As a matter of fact, living together before marriage has been most strongly associated with poorer marital outcomes. Experts call this the “premarital cohabitation effect.” Those who have lived together before marriage are more likely, not less, to struggle in marriage. And these marriages are more likely to end in divorce.
  • As living together before marriage became more accepted in society, people thought the association with divorce would decrease, making it less likely. This also has not been the case. 
  • In fact, couples who lived together tend to report having very little struggle in the first year of their marriage. (It makes sense: They’ve already negotiated the initial shock of all the changes that come with moving in.) But in the years after, the cohabitation effect comes into much greater play, making divorce much more likely after their first year of marriage.
  • If you want to compare living together with what marriage may look like, you could be setting yourself up for unrealistic expectations. There are fundamental differences in trust levels and relationship satisfaction between married and cohabiting couples. Couples who live together are much less likely to trust in their partner’s faithfulness, truthfulness, and responsibility than married couples. 

I realize this might paint a bleak picture of living together. I don’t mean for it to; this isn’t my opinion nor anyone else’s. It’s simply the likelihood that research shows us. 

Here’s another thought: There’s a theory out there that says moving in together makes it much harder to break up if the relationship goes south. The evidence tends to back this up. When you share bills, furniture, living space, a pet, and a bed, splitting up isn’t so cut-and-dry. (This is ironic because almost a quarter of people living together report they are testing the relationship.) Even if you feel you’re beyond the testing phase of your relationship, research shows the commitment level of couples living together is typically different than married couples. All this needs to be weighed very carefully before making a major decision. 

Some final questions to consider: If you decide not to move in together, what’s the worst that could happen? Would it deter either of you from considering marriage later on? If it would, what does it say about your relationship? 

And if you decide to move in together, what’s the worst that could happen? Would it deter you from breaking up if you needed to? If so, what would that say about your relationship? 

At the end of the day, you have to come to your own conclusions. Again, I encourage you to step back and consider what’s at stake. Do plenty of homework and move forward from there. Be careful to discern between facts and mere opinions or personal perspectives. The health of your relationship and future marriage just may well depend on it. 

You may also like:

5 Things Every Couple Should Know Before They Move in Together

5 Things Every Couple Should Know Before They Move In Together

Find out if living together will help you accomplish what you want.

Living together is pretty common these days. For many, living together is a natural progression in the evolution of their relationship, which may or may not lead to marriage. But it has its own set of complications, and there are things every couple should know before they move in together. I’m not trying to convince or dissuade you. Instead, I want to give you food for thought so you can make healthy decisions for your life. 

This blog is for you if: 

1. You are not seriously dating.

2. You’re seriously dating and thinking about moving in together.

3. You live together but recognize there are more things you need to discuss. 

No matter your relationship status, talking about significant issues can create the healthiest connections. 

Here are some questions to ask:

  • What’s my long-term plan? Our long-term plan?
  • What’s my level of commitment? My partner’s commitment level?

Here are FIVE essential topics every couple should know about and consider before they move in together.

1. Your reason: Why should we live together? 

Be honest with yourselves and each other. Is it about:

  • Money? 
  • Moving out of your parents’ house or away from that annoying roommate? 
  • The next step toward marriage? 

Continuing blindly down this path can lead to disappointment. Additionally, you should know your partner’s reason for living together. A Pew Research study offers many couples’ reasons, which include:

  • Love 
  • Companionship
  • Convenience
  • Natural next step 
  • Learn more about each other
  • Want to test the relationship

Share your reasons. It’s natural to be hesitant about having this conversation, but there’s no such thing as a risk-free relationship. Talking about it allows you both to be vulnerable and transparent.   

2. Your expectations: What will you (or won’t you) share? 

Now that you’ve shared your reasons, communicate your expectations with your partner. Assuming things can damage your relationship, especially if you think you agree, but you don’t. Your expectations should be realistic. If you have different expectations, you each may have to compromise. Now’s the time to get down to the nitty-gritty. 

Discuss things like: 

  • Who’s cooking and/or cleaning? 
  • Who will shop and/or do the laundry? 
  • Who does the yard? 
  • Are we having meals together every night? 
  • What are your long-term expectations (house, marriage, kids)? 

Talking about this isn’t sexy, but it’ll help your relationship in the long run.

3. Your finances: What’ll it cost you? 

Many couples think living together is cheaper than living apart. This may or may not be true, but they often don’t communicate about finances. 

Talk about: 

  • Who will move in where? 
  • How much will we pay for rent? 
  • Will we get a new place? Will we both be on the lease? 
  • Who pays for what (groceries, car payment, car insurance, rent, cable, electricity, water, internet, phone, etc.)? 
  • What’s our personal debt (credit card, student loan, etc.)? 
  • What will it cost you if you break up? (You may want to talk about a cohabitation agreement. )

(psssst… Want a fun, lighthearted way to start the conversation? Check out this Financial Would You Rather from Annuity.org!)

4. Your habits: How will they impact your relationship? 

When living together, you become well acquainted with the habits and behaviors of your partner in a whole new way. Knowing that they exercise at 4:00 AM is one thing. Experiencing them exercising at 4:00 AM is something totally different. 

Discuss:

  • Are they a night owl or an early bird? Neat or messy? 
  • Are they an exercise, sports, home improvement, or cooking fanatic? 
  • How do they handle stress? Express emotions? 
  • What’s their work life like? Working remotely, hybrid, or in the office? 
  • Do they bring work home every night? 

5. Your other relationships: How will you interact with your village?  

While focusing on each other and excluding friends and family may be tempting, living together won’t mean you’re on an island. You each have friends and family in your lives that matter; they support and challenge you to be better versions of yourselves. Nurturing those relationships can benefit your growth as an individual and as a couple. 

Living together is not something to do without some considerations. 

Remember to think about: 

  • What do I want out of this relationship? 
  • What’s the end goal? 
  • Do I want to get married? 
  • Do I want to have children who are healthy and stable? 

However you answer these questions, you’ll want to find out if living together will help you accomplish what you desire or if it will hinder you. It’s up to you to decide.

You might also like:

Is Living Together Bad for Your Relationship?

Your wedding was not the most important day in your marriage. Today is.

What if I could tell you about the future of your marriage? For the moment, let’s say I can. (Because I can.) Brace yourself, my newlywed friend. I come from over 25 years in the future of your marriage. What do you want to know?

This isn’t some Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban or The Time Traveler’s Wife kinda stuff. This is way better. See, I’ve been married for over 27 years, and I’m neck-deep in marriage research. I stuffed all that in my time machine and set the coordinates for your present.

I’ve got five bold reveals about what your future marriage holds. Ready?

5. You’ll begin to take your spouse for granted.

This is a human nature thing. The newness wears off. You’ll settle into routines. The ordinariness of life inevitably sets in. You’ll start to expect your spouse to know and do things. 

I don’t wanna get into time travel paradoxes and whatnot, but you can avoid this future. One researcher advises three ways to NOT take your spouse for granted:

  • Reunite well after being apart. (Big hug and kiss. I missed you! How was your day?
  • Have a few minutes of focused communication each day. (How are you doing? Anything I can do for you? Anything you want to talk about?
  • Practice gratitude and thankfulness for your spouse daily. (And not just for what they do, but for who they are as a person and how they demonstrate love to you.)

4. You’ll discover that you (and your spouse) need individual time alone.

It may be difficult to believe right now, but in the future, you and your spouse are gonna need some time alone to take care of yourselves. This time recharges your batteries and helps your mind, heart, and body stay healthy. You’re gonna need to hang out with quality friends that encourage you and refresh you. Your spouse needs the same. This will have to be a priority that you plan, or it probably won’t happen. This individual alone time will enrich your time together as a couple and deepen your marriage.

3. You’ll have sex less frequently, but it’ll be more satisfying.

There will be seasons in your marriage when you’ll have more sex, and sometimes, less. This is totally normal and lines up with a lot of research. The flip side is that sex itself will be way more fulfilling. Sex with someone who is committed and works to nurture intimacy with your mind, heart, AND body is GREAT SEX. Put your focus there. Ultimately, you and your spouse should have as much sex as you both want and need to have. You’ll understand that sex is one of your ongoing conversations in your marriage.

2. You’ll fight a lot (especially the first few years), but you’ll learn to fight better. 

Living with someone is hard, even someone you love dearly. You and your spouse are two different individuals. Yes, you got married and formed a team, but that didn’t make your individual differences evaporate. Living together, you’ll see each other’s “real” self more clearly. You’ll hit a season when that cute thing they do isn’t so cute anymore. You’ll face decisions and have different perspectives and priorities. And you’ll find out some of your goals don’t quite line up. This is the stuff of marriage. Arguments, fights, and debates will ensue. All. Perfectly. Normal.

You can totally learn how to fight more effectively. Take turns speaking and listening. Don’t escalate with volume, tone, body language, or sarcasm and mean-spirited comments. No bringing up past healed wounds. Make sure you keep the problem, the problem—not the person. Fight for your spouse, not about your spouse. Fight for your marriage, not about it.

Work toward compromise, not winning. Now your future looks so bright!

1. Your wedding was not the most important day in your marriage. Today is.

Time looped full circle from the first line! It’s that important. Learn lessons from the past. Maybe forgive and let go of it. Let it inspire trust and security. The future? Plan for it. Look forward to it. But realize today is all you’ve got. Be in the moment with your spouse. There’s no time travel. There’s just today.

I’ve gotta scoot. There’s a newlywed in Boise who thinks her new husband will never pick his friends over her. Gotta hurry!

Are you ready for life beyond the big day?

Marriage changes things. And TBH, a lot of those adjustments are reeeeally hard. But, if you know what to look for, it’s way easier to prepare yourself and your relationship! This ebook gives you the top 10 things you need to know before you get married, the research behind them, and some great questions for you and your significant other to talk about!

Normally $4.97 — it’s YOURS FREE!

(For a limited time only!)

***If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, contact the National Hotline for Domestic Abuse. At this link, you can access a private chat with someone who can help you 24/7. If you fear someone is monitoring your computer or device, call the hotline 24/7 at 1−800−799−7233. For a clear understanding of what defines an abusive relationship, click here.***