If not now … things could get ugly.
With approximately 2.2 million people getting married each year in the United States, there are sure to be numerous discussions being had and decisions being made in preparation for weddings at any given time.
It’s a given for most engaged couples that they’ll need to talk about things that require asking and answering tons of questions about where the wedding will be held, who should be invited, who the bridal party will be — and that’s just to name a few.
But during (or preferably before) all that wedding planning, the most important talk — the conversation about the state of your future marriage itself — is far too overlooked.
In fact, a recent survey of 2,018 adults found that close to “60% of couples don’t disclose their own salaries to each other before walking down the aisle … The data also showed that only 51% of respondents actually discussed money with their partner before getting married, and a mere 36% revealed their debt to each other.”
And money is just one tip on the pre-marital talk iceberg you two should be chiseling away at.
Of course, that doesn’t have to be you.
Here’s a checklist of 10 questions to ask and things to talk about before you walk down the aisle to get married.
1. In what areas will you use “we-talk”?
Since couples are now getting married much later, you’ve had an independence that will change as soon as you tie the knot. You will want to develop the team mindset right away.
2. When will it be important to call a timeout?
When conflicts arise in your marriage, you will want to know when to walk away before things escalate. Just remember that a timeout only lasts for a short period of time and to make sure you address those challenges before they come up again another way.
3. Do you want to add new players to the team, and if so, how will you empower them?
I’m talking about kids.
It’s imperative to know if you and your future spouse want kids. This decision can doom a marriage before it really starts if the two of you aren’t on the same page. Learning how to parent effectively as a team will be one of the hardest things you will do in a marriage.
4. How will ex-teammates factor in your marriage?
Will there be room for you or your spouse to maintain a friendship with either or any of your ex’s?
Cultivating outside friendships and relationships is crucial for a healthy marriage because no one person can satisfy all the needs of a partner. It’s up to both of you to decide if an ex can be called on for that purpose or not.
5. How will your team operate financially?
Finances are an important topic that often goes overlooked. Be sure to talk about things like where you hope to live, each other’s current salaries and how you’ll handle big purchases and current or future debt.
6. How will you handle sideline players on your team?
The involvement of your parents and/or other family members can be a tremendous advantage to the success of your marriage. It can add additional strain to a marriage if you don’t maintain a healthy relationship with them and/or ask for help when you need it.
7. When and how will you express your likes and dislikes?
Knowing how and when to tell your spouse the challenges and triumphs you are having is the key to making your marriage journey adventurous. Your spouse wants to know that you are present in your relationship, for the good or the bad.
8. How do you feel about sex and intimacy?
Sex is rarely a problem early on in a marriage, so discussions about sex are often discounted. Talking about how you each prefer to give and receive pleasure, even now when it seems natural and easy, will save you a ton of heartbreak as the years go on.
9. What are your long-range plans, goals and dreams?
Sure you haven’t even said, “I do”, yet, but having goals that are discussed, written down and committed to can take you both a long way toward achieving them.
10. How will you value independence?
Even though, the previous nine questions have been more about how the two of you will become one, let’s not forget the role independence plays in a marriage.
It will be ideal to discuss with your partner how you will want and need space. Cultivating an independent lifestyle will not only help maintain a strong sense of self, but it will also strengthen your bond and the desire to share your whole self with one another.