In our society, marriage is the next logical step for two people who want to build a life together. However, a good, strong marriage should always be built on an equally strong foundation of trust and honesty. A lot of things come up in the course of a marriage that can have been easily avoided by simply having an open, frank conversation with your partner. There are countless issues that you must talk about, but here are the seven most important things about which to have a conversation.
1. What Are Your Obligations to Your Family?
All families are different, so the expectations they have of how much of your time will be spent with them can change. It is important to look at how much time you spend with them now, and how much time will be expected of you when you have other obligations—like children. It is best to work out a schedule for holidays and family get-togethers and make sure that you are both on the same page. This is one thing to decide in advance before you start your life together.
2. How Are You Doing Financially?
Financial goals are different from person to person, so it is best to be upfront about your progress and expectations. Make sure you share the status of any finance or stock portfolios that are in your name. Find a stock analyst who can handle two individuals and help you both on your way to accomplishing your financial dreams. Be honest about any debt you may have. Talk about the amount of debt as well as who will be expected to make payments.
3. How Much Time Do You Expect From Each Other?
It may be easy to think, at the beginning of a marriage, that you will always spend a lot of time together. However, sometimes life gets in the way. It is important to talk about how much time you expect with each other and, if necessary, plan a monthly date weekend to spend as much time as you need with one another. Sometimes a work schedule or other life obligations get in the way. It’s important to lay out just what you expect from a marriage.
4. Will You Practice a Religion? If So, Which One?
Religion is a particularly crucial topic to pursue for a strong and happy marriage, even more so if you plan to have children. The most important question to ask is whether or not a religious community is right for you. Before you even get married, it is important to bring up your faith, or lack thereof, and whether you expect your partner to share it.
5. How Will the Chores Be Divided?
A huge part of marriage is the upkeep and maintenance of your household. One of the best ways to negotiate a schedule of who does what and when is to be open about your expectations. Sometimes a visual chore chart can help. Keep in mind that if you hate the task, but so does your partner, it might not get done. Like cracks in a foundation, this can lead to larger problems.
6. Where Will You Live?
Whether you are looking for a dream home that is ready to move into, or you want to fix a place up with a whole new kitchen and other amenities, it is best to be on the same page as your partner with where you want to live. While you may never live in the home of your dreams, it is best to work toward a dream with your partner, so be clear about your expectations.
7. All the Small Things
While they may not seem like a big enough deal to warrant a whole discussion, like drops of water they can accumulate until the weight is too much to bear. Things like how often you expect to eat out, or how clean you want to keep the bathtub do not seem like a big deal, but over time resentment can grow. It is best to be open about everything you expect, no matter how small you may think it is.