You must be sure with your decision before you actually get married. In a relationship, you have negotiable and non-negotiable.
You must create a checklist that you need to ask yourself and your partner before marriage. Kids, Religion, Debt, Residence, Infertility, Space, Handling the Chores, Secrets, Future Plans. Be sure to write them down, take a seat with your future husband or wife, and seriously talk about it.
In some aspects, you can sort of reach a compromise in order to retain the peace in your connection with your spouse and maintain the marriage. But there are also things that you both have to agree upon. If someone does not comply, your marriage will, one way or another, falter.
The first and foremost topic that you should ask yourselves about is children. Not all people want to have kids after they get married.
In a survey published on NYTimes.com with 1858 respondents with a mix of men and women ages 20 to 45, 30% said that they have no desire for children. Some young adults – 36% — said that they want more leisure time. Other eye-opening reasons include worrying about the economy, prioritizing careers, and not having enough money for child care or college.
You both have to be clear on this topic. You cannot have gray areas with this discussion. Either you want to or you do not want to. This can be one of the non-negotiable that we talked about. If your partner does not want to have kids, chances are, five years or ten years down the line, he still will not want to have children.
Another issue that should be raised prior to marriage is religion. Some people are deeply defined by their religious beliefs. This goes for all types of religions.
The discussion will be more complicated if both of you have different faiths. Perhaps one wants to have a wedding this way, while the other wants to have it that way. It even gets more complex when you have kids. If you want to follow a set of traditions based on your philosophies, you must talk about it before marriage.
Another topic that you need to talk about is debt. Have you seen movies wherein you promise to each other that you will stay together in sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer? Well, if you do not settle your debt individually and as a couple, you will definitely be poorer in the future.
What constitutes a debt and will you owe your spouse’s debt? It mostly depends on where you live. Different states have different laws about it. Most states have “common law” property rules, as indicated in Nolo.com. This means that the debt of one is his debt alone. This is so unless the debt was used to take care of a family need like food, shelter, etc.
Generally, if your partner has a debt, he or both of you have to pay for it. It just depends on how much of the debt you want to shoulder. Getting married is all about helping each other. But if the debt is not clear to you before marriage, you might feel blindsided when you find out about it after getting married.
Where you will live after marriage can be a hot issue for some couples. This is especially true when you work in different states or your spouse wants to live near his parents’ house.
For people working in different areas, you have various options. You can opt for a long distance-relationship where you or your spouse can go home during the weekends.
You can also move in with him and find a job near your future home. This can be very difficult for those who already have established careers. If work is more important to you than your partner, then you better rethink your plans to get married to this person.
What if your partner wants to live near his parents’ home? Well, it depends. If it will be a different house from theirs, it is generally acceptable. But if you are going to live with his parents, it can be very tough at times. First of all, it is not your home. You will need to follow the parents’ rules. And they can often infuse their own opinions in leading your lives and disciplining your children.
What if his parents are already old and they need someone to be living with them? You have to talk about it. If it is okay with you, then you can go right ahead and stay together in their home. But if not, you should make compromises and finalize them before marriage.
This can be a very sensitive topic for some couples. People would generally have no idea if they are fertile or not. You will only find out after years of marriage without getting pregnant. Either one or both of you may have a health condition that needs to be treated.
But some are already handling current disorders that make them infertile. Some illnesses may cause low sperm count or irregular production of egg cells.
If this is a concern for you, you have to learn where you will position yourself. You have to prepare for the worst possible scenario, which is not having kids. But you also have to ask your spouse whether he is willing to take medications and exhaust all efforts to treat the infertility.
You will not only bring yourselves to the marriage. You will also carry your personalities, your behaviors, your baggage, and your hobbies. How much space are you going to give each other after marriage?
When it comes to interests, are you still allowed to do these things? Will I need to stop drinking with my friends? Should I keep all my arts and crafts in a box after marriage or are you going to give me a room in the house for it? Can I still go camping and be out of the house for days?
You must agree on these things before you get married. You should talk about the amount of space that you both are voluntarily giving your future spouse.
Handling the Chores
This can be a funny matter to discuss for couples who are going into marriage. But if you have been married for a number of years, you will know that the root of most petty quarrels come from not doing your chores at home.
Really? Yes. Some couples don’t speak with each other for days because they feel that they are carrying all the load at home and not having the help that they need.
It is all about taking turns. Some days, you cook. Other days, you clean the house. You can create a schedule if you want to avoid miscommunication. It is better to talk about it now to have an initial agreement on how to handle it.
How many secrets do I need to reveal to my future spouse? If it is possible, you must admit all your secrets to your spouse. This is just to start fresh in the relationship. You are also showing your totality as a person. If he does not like an aspect of who you are, he can choose to not get married to you. This is preferable to him forcing himself into marriage with a doubt in his mind.
But if you are not ready yet to tell all your secrets to your partner, you should at least reveal those that can hurt the relationship. Think about it for a couple of days and be ready to share it with him. You should also be prepared for the worst just in case he decides not to pursue the marriage.
The security of marriage is based on planning. Once you get married, you are not only plotting the path for yourself but also for your spouse. You must hear his future plans and where you are positioned. Plans change over time, but at least for today, you should know that he has a plan after the wedding.
You must also show your own plans during your marriage. This can be about your career, the number of kids to have, plans for your family members, plans to go abroad, travel plans, and others. This topic is not a deal-breaker, but if you require your partner to have a plan for the marriage, you will definitely have a long discussion about it.
Create your checklist of these must-discuss topics whether your wedding is coming or you are just thinking about getting married. It is better to be prepared than to have these discussions during the marriage.
For the negotiable, you have to give yourself space to reach a point to just agree with your future spouse. For the non-negotiable, if your partner gives a concrete answer and you do not agree with it, it is best to just walk away from the relationship. You are going to leave not just the person, but also a lot of future heartbreaks, pains, and misunderstandings.