So you have found the person that you want to spend the rest of your life with. You can see the engagement ring, wedding day, honeymoon and how you will spend the rest of your life together. You want to live happily ever after. To do so, you want to resolve any areas of your relationship that could stir up issues in your marriage.
Before your wedding day, make sure to cover a few of the common issues that should be resolved before getting married.
It sounds unromantic to talk about money, but financial disagreements are one of the biggest causes of friction between couples. Before you consider marriage, you and your partner should discuss each of your financial situations and values. Do you have student or consumer debt? Do you regularly save money, and do you have a pension? Do you have a budget, and do you know what your regular expenses are? If the two of you both work but you earn different amounts of money, will one of you contribute more money towards rent and other living expenses? What would you do if one of you were to lose your job? You need to have an honest conversation with your partner about the realities of your attitudes towards money before you can consider marriage.
Your living situation.
Perhaps you’ve been living with your partner for some time, or perhaps you would rather wait until marriage before you move in together. In either case, you need to hash out the details of your living situation. You should have agreements about how you will share your living space, such as what times you like to go to sleep and to get up, or how to split chores and cooking fairly. Is it easy for both of you to get to work or to the places you like to go out from the place you’re planning to live? Also, consider the transportation options available to the both of you?
This is obviously a big decision that it’s very important for you and your partner to agree on. Discuss whether you want to have children in the future and how you would want to raise them. For example, if you are religious and your partner is not, is it important to you to raise any children you might have in your faith? Do you envision homeschooling or a public or private school for your child? If you already have children, then it’s even more important to reach agreement about how they will be raised and how you will share parenting duties with your partner.
There are always unsexy but important legal issues to think about in a partnership. Consider whether you should get a prenuptial agreement before marriage, or how you would manage any shared assets if you were to split up. Whether or not you get married, you might want to arrange advance healthcare directives which specify that your partner will make health decisions for you if you are incapacitated. If either of you has children, will your partner legally adopt them? Will you put both of your names on your house lease or mortgage?
These issues are all difficult and can be uncomfortable to talk about. It seems decidedly unromantic to sit down with your partner and draw up a sensible financial plan together. However, it’s vitally important for the well-being of yourself and your partner that you consider these questions.
Are there other things that you think should be discussed before getting married? Let us know in the comments below.