The love is there. You two have been together for a while. The next step is to tie the knot. Marriage is a very important decision and I plan to make it last. I will not be a stat for divorce. So it’s crucial that couples have discussions followed by more discussion about the important things.
The leading cause of divorce is money, sex and religion. So while dating someone these may not be all that important; when it comes to marriage, values need to be aligned. You have to set your expectations and compromise. Is that clear?
The person that said “all you need is love,” has never been in a real long-term committed relationship. It’s a myth. One that movies love to show off. In the real world it takes loads of work to make a relationship stable. People stay in long-term relationships because they love each other. So when they get married love is not the issue. Not having proper discussions about what to expect and values leads to filing for divorce for “irreconcilable differences.” Here are some things to talk about with your partner before getting married. These are also helpful to see how well you are paired with your current partner even if marriage is not in the cards just yet.
[I] Pet peeves become monsters
The habits that bother you know will just kill you later. You have to ask yourself “can I deal with this forever?” I know what you are thinking. My partner will change. That is not the case. You are with an adult. They may change a habit for a little while but it most likely will revert back. That is why I am a big fan of living with someone first before you marry them. Call it a trial run.
[II] Stress kills and ends relationships
Marital life will be stressful. If you know that ahead of time, you will be able to deal with it better. Does your partner need at least 1 hour to relax after work? Do you know when your partner is tired they really just want to be left alone? Do you need your space? Do they need reassurance about how you feel for them all the time or do they just know?
[III] Money is the root of evil. That is a lie. The real saying is The LOVE of money is the root of all evil.
Money is one of the first issues you need to tackle before jumping the broom. Ask who is better at handling the money? Not who makes more. I don’t care if I am making 7 figures and she is only bringing 5 figures to the table. If she is the best at managing money. Then she will be handling the books. Now that said. There are two things to do:
1: You have to know what is in the books. Don’t let them handle it and forget it. The information should be shared freely and explained in as much detail as you want.
2: You both should keep a joint account as well as one separate account. Expenses should be based on percentage not income.
Know you financial expectations and FICO score going in to marriage. You don’t’ want a score being an issue after you tie the knot. That information can help you know how the first few years of life with your partner will be. Will it be planing to buy a house or help clearing your partners credit? Also who will be staying home with the yet to be born child? Childcare is not cheap. What are your plans for retirement. These are the things you need to talk about ahead of time.
[IV] Do it for the kids
You don’t want to have a discussion about kids when you’re already expecting. That is too late. Be honest with your partner. Ask them; Do you want children? How many? Do you want adoption or natural? Who are the God Parents? What religion will the kids be?
[V] Keeping up with the Jones or living like the Jeffersons
What kind of lifestyle and what financial goals do you and your partner want to aspire for? How much money is enough? Is being a retail manager good enough, District manager, CEO? Do you need the latest tech? Does she want that new car? Do you two want to visit new places every few weeks, month or year? Then again she might be just fine in a 2 bedroom apartment and a 2013 Nissan Altima. What your goals are need to be in sync.
[VI] Let’s talk about sex
I’m sure you have heard that after getting married sex is not a priority anymore. I have always found that funny. I am from the school of thought that sex should be a free for all once you are married. Not just during the honeymoon or a few months after. Rather for as long as you two are together. Although it will take commitment to have good sex on a regular. Just because you may not be in the mood or too busy. There also comes a time when some men just can not get it up nor keep it up. There are pills for that now. So that is not an excuse anymore. Now if your partner is just not in the mood. That is not cool nor acceptable because this is your life partner. You should always be in the mood. You two have to be able to talk about what you like, want and you need in bed. Communication is key.
[VII] Until you have kids or get live in help…
Chores are the less talked about part pf marriage. Don’t fall into that sexes role of expecting her to do all the housework. This is not the 60’s. You are not in Mad Men and you are not Don Draper. She will have a job and be tiered after a long day of work just like you. Setting up who will do the cooking and on what days will help you avoid fights. Have laundry days. Divide the chores. When you have kids they can take it over. Until then have a routine.
[VIII] The Big Picture
Happiness does not just happen. It is designed and reworked together with your partner. It will not be perfect but it will and should be something you wake up everyday happy to be a part of. When you have these conversations keep the big picture in mind. You love this person, compromise is a must but not at the cost of bitterness or resentment.