Falling in love is the simple part, marriage takes work. It takes some serious commitment and patience from you and your partner. Being married to the person you love can be a gratifying and wonderful experience. Moving through life together with that special someone really can make every day brighter. There are just a few things to consider first.
Several conversations should happen before you tie the knot. They range from financial conversations to family planning to help each other through difficult times. Contemplating big life questions like this before marriage can help you have a richer relationship and lessen the likelihood of negative outcomes.
Questions and Conversations to Have Before Marriage
Regardless of if you’ve been with your partner for a year or ten, there will always be new things to learn about them. These conversations, though, are the ones you need to have before you enter into a legally binding marriage contract:
Do you want kids?
This is possibly one of the biggest conversations you need to have before you propose, let alone have a wedding. Having children is a sensitive topic for most people, and it’s often non-negotiable. That being said, everyone should have a say in whether they have kids. Children are an enormous commitment. Not only are you responsible for the healthy upbringing of a whole other person, but parenting is also a commitment of decades–far past the anecdotal quoted “18 years of parenting.”
When you have children, you have them for life. Factor in the emotional, physical, and psychological effects of parenthood, pregnancy, and alternative methods of conception or adoption, and you have a serious need for common ground. You need to know if you or your partner want to have kids in the future. It’s also a good idea to talk about what could happen if you or your partner change your mind a few years down the road.
How much time do you need for yourself?
Just like you need to have healthy emotional and mental barriers, you need physical boundaries too. Some people are content to have people around all the time. Other people need a significant amount of quiet time for contemplation and decompressing. Knowing your partner’s limits will make it easier to understand how much space they’re going to expect from you.
You need to respect one another’s personal time and space while still growing as a couple. This lets you continue to grow as individuals as well. It’s okay to spend lots of time together if that’s what you choose. This will probably be especially true during the “honeymoon phase.” Afterward, you’ll need to know how to respect their need for independence.
What about sex?
Yes, you still have to have the sex talk. This is another important conversation for respecting you and your partner’s future together. Some people need lots of sex to be happy and others can go months or years without feeling the need for sex.
You might be saving sex for after the wedding vows, or not, either is totally fine. But that “honeymoon phase” doesn’t last forever, so you need to understand what each other’s expectations are surrounding sex. Whenever couples lack understanding of these expectations, they’re more predisposed to extramarital affairs. So have the conversation before the wedding bells chime.
Do you need to talk to someone before marriage?
A frequent misunderstanding among couples is that couples’ therapy is for people already having a relationship or marital issues. A therapist can help you navigate these conversations and more before marriage or major difficulties. too. If you and your partner have unresolved issues, therapists can help you explore conversations to resolve them sooner rather than later. If you’re considering marriage, consider couples’ therapy as a valuable next step toward relationship tools that will serve you for life.