Getting married and saying “I do” is a huge and wonderful milestone for future brides and grooms. It can be easy for couples to get swept along in the romance of wedding planning and forget to make sure they are taking steps for their relationship to become a happy marriage. Just having those feelings of love or “being in love” will not guarantee a healthy or fulfilling marriage.
Here are five pre-marriage conversations to have that could help you move further on the path to a healthy and happy marriage!
- Money! Finances are the number one issue couples fight about. Having a plan to deal with finances before you get married could save you from arguments in the future. Do you handle money in a similar way or is one person the saver and the other the spender? How will you decide the budget and deal with any assets brought into the marriage?
- Children! Many couples just discuss how many children they want to have and forget to talk about other important topics that relate to raising children. What type of parenting style do you want to have? What will you do if you aren’t on the same page? What type of school should they attend? How will you divide the responsibilities of taking care of them? How much will the in-laws be involved, and how will time be divided with the in-laws?
- Your relationship! A wedding is the beginning, not the end, of working towards a healthy relationship. It is so important to continue to meet each other’s needs after the wedding to continue to show care and build trust. How will you continue to help your relationship grow after you get married? How will you keep not only the friendship but also the romantic relationship flourishing? What does a fulfilling sexual relationship look like for both of you?
- Work! Will you both work once you are married, and once you have children? How will the household work be divided also?
- Dreams for the future! Having shared goals and wanting the same things out of life is essential for couples to continue to grow together. Explore what you want to enjoy doing together and apart. Talking about your career, family, individual, and spiritual goals now could help you be on the same page in the future.
If you feel like these might be too difficult to talk with your partner alone, a marriage and family therapist could be a great fit for you.
Marriage and family therapists receive special training and education that allows them to help couples navigate difficult topics in a safe and warm environment. Premarital counseling can be a great fit to put couples on the best path towards a healthy and fulfilling marriage. It is especially important to seek out counseling if you or your fiancé are struggling with infidelity, domestic violence, substance abuse, or if you are experiencing a lot of conflict in your relationship.
Talking about these topics can make people feel vulnerable. Responding in a respectful and open way to your partner can help build trust in your relationship. Avoid criticism and calmly talk about any areas of disagreement. It is ok to have different opinions! Be honest with your partner about your answers and help them do the same by valuing each other’s opinions. Use these questions as the starting point of strengthening your relationship before tying the knot!
Laura Lebovitz, LAMFT
LLebovitz @ GROWcounseling.com
Photo Credit: Katsu Nojiri