It seems like many couples spend more time preparing for the wedding than for the marriage itself. Remember that your wedding day is only one day and your marriage is hopefully for a lifetime! It is important to continually take the time to strengthen your relationship. You don’t want to get too caught up in the small details to lose focus of the most important thing: each other. Perhaps think about taking at least one day a week off from the stress of wedding planning and do something with just the two of you, completely non-wedding related.
Another option is to consider taking some sort of Pre-Marriage course. Depending on where you get married (a church, for example) or your religion, many officiants require pre-marriage counseling before they will agree to marry you. For others, it is entirely optional. The hope is that if couples are better prepared for what is ahead, they will be more likely to remain happy in their marriage for many years to come. It is important to understand that while every couple has their differences, some differences are so major that it is imperative that you talk about it beforehand. For example, one partner wanting kids and the other not is a major difference.
Important topics to discuss before saying “I Do” include Finances, Home Life, Careers, Religion, Communication and so on. Below are some questions to fuel productive conversation starters:
- Who’s going to handle the finances?
- Will we have separate or joint accounts?
- Will we split the bills or pay them together?
- Will we have a pre-nuptial agreement?
- Who will be responsible for the budgeting?
- What is your spending style? Are you a spender or a saver?
- How are you financially preparing for retirement?
- What are your views on debt (credit cards, loans, etc.)?
- How much can we spend each month?
- How much do we plan on saving each month?
- What are our long-term goals? Saving for a house? College? Retirement?
- If one of us lost our job, what would we do?
- Where will we live after the wedding?
- Will we rent or purchase?
- What chores are expected of each other?
- Where will we live after we retire?
- What will the bride’s last name be after the wedding?
- What will we do when both sets of our parents are in their advanced ages?
- Will both of us work?
- If I get a career opportunity in another city or state or even country, would you be willing to move?
- When are we planning on retiring?
- What religion will we practice, if any?
- Will you be willing to convert to my religion?
- Will it be okay if we each practice our own religion?
- If we practice our own respective religions, will we expect the other to attend services with us?
- Are you willing to talk about issues or do you brood?
- How much communication is too much and leads to overload?
- Would you be willing to seek help from a third party (counseling) if we are unable to resolve our issues on our own?
- How do you handle stress and crises that suddenly occur? Do you explode or do you step back and approach the issue calmly or somewhere in between?
- Does your family have any history of serious medical problems?
- Do you have a history of serious medical problems?
- Have you ever been, or are now, addicted to: drinking, smoking, drugs, gambling?
- Would you be opposed to the both of us getting tested for sexually transmitted diseases?
- What should we do if the other is on life support? Will we draft a Living Will/Trust?
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